brown and gold details on house windows
Belgium

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

(Updated May 2022) Are you a fan of architecture, in particular Art Nouveau? Then you have to go to Brussels. Use this guide as your very own Art Nouveau tour. With so many examples spread throughout the city, I have broken it down into three main areas creating your very own architectural walking tour. Use the Art Nouveau Brussels map giving you the exact addresses for you to stroll and admire these impressive hidden gems. 

Art Nouveau Brussels

Brussels is well-known for its Art Nouveau architecture, and some say, it’s where it all began. It was where architects Victor Horta and Paul Hankar, who was credited with designing the first two Art Nouveau buildings in the world, lived and worked. Ever since then, more than 1,000 buildings, from private homes to public spaces, were built in the Art Nouveau style in Brussels between 1890 and 1910, but only about half of them remain today.

What is Art Nouveau?

Classic Art Nouveau style is usually made of materials associated with the turn of the century, such as iron, glass, and exposed brick. Art Nouveau architects and artists incorporated fluid lines and geometric shapes into their designs. They were often inspired by nature. At the time, it was incredibly expensive and therefore usually reserved for only the very rich. By 1910, Art Nouveau was out of style. It was first replaced by Art Deco and then later by Modernism.

Art Nouveau Tour #1

HOTEL SOLVAY (224 Louise Ave)
brown wood doors and windows
Designed in 1900 by architect Victor Horta. He designed every detail from furniture to lighting to tableware. It's now a designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public for tours.
HOTEL TASSEL (6 Rue Paul Emilie Janson)
gray stone building with metal and wood details
Designed in 1893 by architect Victor Horta and has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
OCTAVE VAN RYSSELBERGHE HOUSE (83 Rue de Livourne)
white concrete house
Designed by architect Octave van Rysselberghe in 1912 for his personal residence.
CIAMERLANIE HOUSE (48 Rue Defacqz)
brown and gold details on house windows
Designed by architect Paul Hankar in 1897 for Albert Ciamberlani.
HANKER HOUSE (71 Rue Faider)
red brick house with black details
Designed by architect Paul Hanker in 1893 for his own personal residence.
UNNAMED HOUSES (83 Rue Faider and 92 Rue Africaine)
tall window on building

Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1900 by Albert Roosenboom.

tall windows with stone work

Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1905 by Benjamin de Lestre-De.

HORTA HOUSE (25 Rue Americaine)
tall curved windows with wood details
Now referred to as the Horta Museum was designed by Victor Horta in 1901. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is open to the public for tours.
Map for Tour #1: Louise to Ixelles to St. Gilles
A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Art Nouveau Tour #2

CAUCHIE HOUSE (5 Rue des Francs)
gold details on house
Designed by Paul Cauchie in 1905 for his personal residence, known as the Cauchie House. What makes this house unique is the golden art mural on its façade with the inscription 'Par nous, pour nous' or 'By us, for us.'
SAINT-CYR HOUSE (11 Ambiorix Square)
green iron gate with round windows
Designed by architect Gustave Strauven who was mentored by Victor Horta. Its standout feature is the colourful wrought iron embellishments.
VILLA GERMAINE HOUSE (24 Palmerston Avenue)
Villa Germaine, designed by Gustave Strauven in Brussels, Belgium.
Villa Germaine was designed by Gustave Strauven in 1897.
HOTEL VAN EETVELDE (4 Palmerston Avenue)
tall row house
Designed by architect Victor Horta is now designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
GUTENBERG AND MARIE LOUISE SQUARES
rounded black door and window
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around Gutenberg Square is definitely worth exploring.
tall windows and rounded door
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around Marie-Louise Square are definitely worth exploring.
Map for Tour #2: Cinquantenaire Park to the Squares Neighbourhood
A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Art Nouveau Tour #3

AVENUE LOUIS BERTRAND (43 Louis Bertrand Avenue)
rounded doors and windows
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes on this lovely tree lined street, perfect area to stroll and admire the homes.
AUTRIQUE HOUSE (266 Chaussée de Haecht)
stone building with tall windows
Map: Avenue Louis Bertrand (Schaerbeek) Neighbourhood
A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

As a holidaymaker…

If you don’t want to do your own walking tour as I’ve done, check out the Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco (BANAD) festival where for three consecutive weekends in March select buildings ranging from smaller townhomes to large mansions to public buildings are open to the public for tours led by professional guides. If you love architecture as much as I do this is the top thing to do in Brussels. Looking for some day trips from Brussels, check out this article for a little inspiration – 5 Must-See Cities Beyond Brussels.

rounded windows with gold accents
tall windows on house
detailed brick work
gold details on house

32 Comments

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    An art nouveau tour in Brussels sounds like an interesting experience. I love the architecture. But the outside design on the Ciamerlanie and Cauchie houses is stunning. I was fascinated by the iron work designs. A walking look at artistic design.

  • Umiko

    I admire art-nouveau architectures but too bad only half of them remain in Brussels. I loved Hotel Tassel designed by Victor Horta. It’s beautiful. And no wonder I like the Saint-Cyr House and Villa Germaine House designed by Gustave Strauven, because he was mentored by Victor Horta. The green color he put in his designed made him different from others.

  • Alison

    I’ve been a fan of Art Nouveau pretty much al my life and didn’t know about Brussels! I hope I get there one day to follow your tours.

  • Gus Feliciano

    Amazing architecture! I have been through Brussels on my way to Bruges and only got to spend a few hours there but it looked like a great city. This definitely makes me want to go back and explore a more!

  • Emma

    I loved Brussels, so many beautiful buildings and walks through the city. This is such a helpful guide if I return because some of these are not always instantly noticeable so I’m sure I walked past many a lovely piece of art or embellishment

  • Riana Ang-Canning

    Wow, you are definitely making me want to give Brussels another visit. What cool art and architecture! I’ve never quite known what art nouveau is so thank you for the lesson. The Saint-Cyr House is definitely my fave! So ornate – especially compared to the more plain homes next door to it.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I agree, that house is one of my favourites. And it just so happens to look out onto a pretty park too. It was a lovely area for a stroll.

  • Sage Scott

    What amazing architecture! I love being able to take this tour with you via your gorgeous photos and have an actual map to explore these places myself the next time I’m in Brussels.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Sage for taking the tour! 😊 I do hope maybe one day you might see it in person. My amateur photos definitely do not do it justice!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Lisa for stopping by and commenting. Glad to hear you love this style of architecture as much as I do. It was wonderful to see so many examples of it throughout the city. There are a couple more neighbourhoods that have this as well, but we only went to these three, and actually our rented apartment for the week was in the Squares, so it was lovely to be amongst them all week.

  • Danik

    I used to live and work in Bruxelles and during my lunch (as I was only there for a few months) I would take a wander around the city when I can and I remember some of these buildings. It does give the city some character and brightens up the place.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Danik. How fortunate are you to have resided in Brussels for a short period of time. I thought the wonderful blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco makes for wonderful neighbourhoods. I love how impressive their streets are. What a perfect way to spend a lunch hour!

    • Brooklyn Murtaugh

      To be honest I know very little about Art Nouveau, do reading this was educational for me! I am, however, obsessed with exposed brick, so these photos are stunning to me!

      I love how you gave us some different tours!

      • The.Holidaymaker

        Thanks Brooklyn for stopping by and commenting. The city is pretty amazing place to see some of this great architecture.

  • Eric Gamble

    This is too cool, It is like Gaudi opened up his school of cool and slightly bizarre architecture in Brussels Belgium and then let his students run wild on the streets. I love some of the murals but those balconies and edifaces on the houses in the Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares Neighborhood are my absolute favorite! I think I like the St. Cyr best.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks Eric for your comment. Actually it was Gaudi who was inspired by the Art Nouveau founders, Victor Horta and Paul Hankar. He just happen to take it to his own unique level.
      That area was my favourite too, and our rented apartment was right on the edge of Marie Louis Square. We were fortunate to be surrounded by so much amazing architecture for an entire week!

  • Kelly

    Wow! Whenever I travel I always seek out the architecture. Can you imagine the time it would take to build these buildings?! I’ve pinned this and will definitely do all of these walking tours if I visit Bristol.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Kelly for your comment. Yes it would seem with all those details that it would take a long time to build, but quite the contrary. The Art Nouveau period was only from 1890 to 1910. In that short period of time the architects designed and had them built. There were close to 1,000 buildings built in Brussels.

  • Rhonda Albom

    This architectural style is fascinating and the walk outlines with typical buildings in photos are very useful. I’ve never really looked for this architectural style because I’ve never known I was in a location with a significant number of these structures.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Rhonda for dropping by and commenting. I am glad to hear that the tours might be helpful to you to learn a bit more about this architectural style.

  • Obligatory Traveler

    I’m a huge architecture fan. This looks like an experience I would love, especially since I don’t know as much about Art Nouveau as other architecture styles. Hopefully I’ll get to Brussels one day. #WeekendWanderlust

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for your comments. Good to hear you are a fan, definitely add it to your list. Brussels is such a great city to visit. There is so much to offer as a holiday, beyond the chocolate, waffles, frites and beer! The city is full of interesting architecture. Hope you get there one day.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I would have loved to see the inside, as the exteriors were so unique and beautifully designed.

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