Why was Baudelaire Belgophobic ?

Have you heard about Charles Baudelaire? If you are French, a French-native speaker or a fan of literature and poetry, you surely know who he is. If not, here’s a quick hint: Charles Baudelaire is a very famous French poet, writer and art critic who wrote many stunning pieces of literature in the 19th century.

He spent most of his life in France, but he decided to move to Brussels in April 1864 for few years, as he was not happy in Paris. He only spent two years in the Belgian capital, and wrote a pamphlet on his views on Brussels, which he called “Poor Belgium”.

In this document, he expressed all the bad feelings he had with regards to Belgium, through insults and invectives to describe the country and the Brusselian life. “Should I thank God to be French and not to be Belgian?”, he wrote. According to Charles Baudelaire, the Belgian girls are definitely ugly and the Belgian people are stupid.

The pamphlet he wrote has however been saved by the Belgian State and an exhibition on it is currently held at the Brussels City Museum. A good opportunity to have an insight into the 1860’s. If you are interested in having a look at the Baudelaire’s Belgian clichés, check the exhibition, open until 11 March 2018.