Tired of the mainstream parks in Brussels? Wanna go for something more alternative and discreet? Ixelles offers several parks for those who just want to spend some quiet time in nature without having to share the green space with everyone else and their dog.
If you’re one of those people who don’t enjoy walking into a park and feeling like it has more people than trees in it, here are some options you can explore. These places are intended for the residents of a particular neighborhood. But you are welcome to barge right in, as long as you promise to behave and not to disturb the locals.
Parc de l’Abbé Froidure
Small but chic. The park has a long narrow pathway in the center flanked by royal blue railings dressed in blooming vines. It’s like walking through an outdoor hallway. Both sides of the park are divided into several square partitions lined with cut hedges and trees. The central area provides square lawns with matching royal blue benches. Not too shabby for a neighborhood park.
The public garden is located in the Brugmann neighborhood and lies between the Ixelles and Forest communes. It rests on property that once belonged to Baron Raoul Richard, Minister of Economic Affairs in 1939 and the first promoter of hydroelectric power in Belgium. In 1986, the Brussels-Capital Region bought the property and transformed it into a park. It was inaugurated in 1991 and dedicated to Edouard Froidure, a well-loved abbot who founded Les Petits Riens, an organization serving underprivileged children and families. The park displays a commemorative plaque in honor of abbot who was also a resistance fighter and political prisoner during World War II.
Parc Albert II
This neighborhood park is quite shady. And nope, not in the dodgy sense. It’s well shaded by trees and the surrounding residential buildings. In the heart of the park lies a small stream which fills the area with relaxing sounds of flowing water. Perfect for doing meditation. On one side, there’s a little hill where you can sit while listening to The Beatles’ “The Fool on the Hill,” if it’s on your playlist. The park also features a playground on one end and a vegetable garden on the other.
Parc Albert II is in Place Adolphe Sax within the Rodin neighborhood. It was built in 1994 on the former site of the old military hospital of Brussels. It was named in honor of the sixth king of the Belgians who reigned from 1993 to 2013.
Remember the enchanted wardrobe that leads to the magical world of Narnia? This park is just like that. Except instead of a wardrobe, it has ordinary doors for an entrance. You might think these doors lead to private property. But once you enter… Whoa! Public park! Even more interesting, it has a mini library where you can pick any book you like and enjoy a nice, quiet read on one of the benches.
The park was laid out in the 1980s and named after Charles Faider, Minister of Justice from 1852 to 1855 and former president of the Royal Academy of Belgium.
Jardin du Roi
This park can be compared to Belgium as a country, small and easily overshadowed by its bigger and more glamorous neighbors in Central Europe. Jardin du Roi is surrounded by more famous parks like the garden of Abbaye de la Cambre, the park around Ixelles ponds, and Bois de la Cambre. But, just like Belgium, this green space does not at all pale in comparison with the others.
Jardin du Roi was designed in 1873 upon the orders of Leopold II, King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. But it was only in 1969 that the park was named after the King whose statue looks over the central rectangular lawn with an expression that says, “Don’t you dare litter on my garden!” The lateral lawns feature spherical gazebos made of beech hedges. One leads to a sandbox and the other provides a rest area.
The park extends from the direction of the Avenue Louise roundabout to the ponds of Ixelles. This perspective is accentuated by four sculptures positioned on the same axis from the roundabout to the ponds. The line of sculptures begins with the imposing Phoenix 44 on Avenue Louise, followed by the Death of Ompdrailles in honor of French writer Leon Cladel, the statue of Leopold II, and finally, a bust dedicated to geologist Alphonse François Renard.
Tenbosch, which means “in the woods” in Dutch, has become more popular in recent years. Its exquisite landscape consists of sectioned lawns divided and connected by winding paths, a playground, a sandbox, a football field, and a turtle pond.
The park, which is located in the Vleurgat neighborhood, started out as a private botanical garden owned and created by dendrologist Jean-Louis Semet. The Brussels-Capital Region acquired the property in 1982 and the public park was opened in 1986.
Parc du Viaduc
Like Parc Faider, this one is easy to miss. It doesn’t hide behind wooden doors, but it has a small gate that leads to a narrow passageway. Walk further and… surprise! The park is so called because of the viaduct at the end of the street. It was developed in 2003 in the garden of a property that used to belong to the Beauquesne-Legrand family.