The amazing architecture of Grand Place

I love Grand Place - so much awesomeness in such a small place!

Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium is definitely a "must-see" place for everyone, as far as I am concerned.  It's the historic town square of Brussels, and is so incredibly beautiful that you will be forgiven if your jaw drops the first time you see it.  It's quite a sight to behold.

Truthfully, I feel the same way every time I see it.  It's just incredible. It's not a large town square, but the incredibly detailed and beautiful facades of these guildhalls surround you on every side, towering over you yet not feeling intimidating.  It's just awesome.  You have to go there.

The only problem is that EVERYONE goes there.  It's crowded at all times of day and into the night.  So I did the only thing I could think to do: get up early and shoot it.  I purposefully chose a hotel just a short walk away, and set my alarm for early enough to be there before sunrise.  

I got an empty town square, except for a few random folks here and there.  But it was basically deserted.  You see, that's the reason I get up early in places like this.  All the tourists are still asleep, so I can peacefully shoot away to my heart's content, and enjoy the stillness in a place that is not otherwise still.  Well worth a little lost sleep!

A bar in Grand Place

Me, my camera, and an empty Grand Place!

On my recent trip to Brussels, one of my main goals was to get up early and get a bunch of shots in and around Grand Place (their historic town square) before it got all crowded.  And believe me, that place gets crowded.  Like, really crowded.

So I did just that, and I am really glad that I sacrificed some sleep that day.  It was well worth it.  I had the town square literally to myself.  It was amazing.  It's hard to describe how big of a deal that is, unless you have been there and seen it.

There were no crowds.  There were no hordes of tourists.  There was not really any noise.  It was quiet, dark, and beautiful.  I loved it.

So in addition to a bunch of wide angle goodness, I also grabbed some shots like this one.  I love all the little bars and restaurants there...so much character.

The grand expanse of Grand Place

Brussels might be my favorite town in Europe - what's yours?

There is just SO much to love about Brussels, Belgium.  It's an incredible city full of beautiful architecture, delectable chocolate, and more beer choices than you can shake an empty glass at.  It really is fabulous, and I am thrilled that I got to visit there recently.

One of the many great things about the city is Grand Place, which is their incredible town square.  As I said here before, I have no doubt it is the most beautiful town square in the world.  You can't convince me otherwise - don't even try.  :-)

I grabbed this super wide angle view of it one evening.  I had been shooting, then got rained on and waited out the rain while sipping a beer in a nearby bar.  Once the rain stopped, it was full on into blue hour and I ventured the 100 feet or so to this spot to grab this shot.

There's really no way (unless you can get above Grand Place I guess) to get a full shot of the square, as it is pretty tight in there and that main building seriously rises into the sky.  But I can say that thus far, this shot is the one I have that does the best job of showing you the square.  I hope I get to go back and try again some other time!

Blue hour in Grand Place

My last few weeks have been a bit crazy.  I was in Glasgow (and have shared quite a few shots from there already) and then went to London (haven't even processed any of those yet).  I was then home for a week, then back across the pond, this time to Amsterdam (I have shared a few) and Brussels (starting with this photo).   Oh yeah, then I spent a day in Nashville.  Almost forgot about that.  :-)

So it is safe to assume that I have a lot of photos to get to, when I can find the time.  Ah, time.  Where do you go?  

Anyways, before I start to wax poetic here on the blog, I better get back in focus and talk about this shot.  This is Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium which is without a doubt the most beautiful town square in the entire world. I'm not kidding.  Clearly I haven't seen them all, but I have seen this one several times and it freakin' dominates.  It's a jaw-dropper the first time you walk into the square. 

When I found out that Brussels was one of my destinations, I was pretty excited because despite it being somewhat small and having a compact historic city center, I find it to be one of my favorite towns in Europe.  It's just beautiful.  It's helped a little by the fact that they are famous for chocolate and beer, which are two of my favorite things, and both are incredible there.  Ok, maybe that helps a lot.  

But just standing there and looking at this site is something everyone should do.  And if you can get up early enough to beat the crowds (and believe me, they are HUGE) then you can get a shot like this one.  I think this was about 6:30am and though I saw a couple of people and a street cleaner while there, it was nearly all mine.  It was awesome. 

The heart of Brussels

A plaza or town square is like the heart of a city, and no place is that more true than in Brussels, Belgium.  Their town square is called Grand Place, and Grand is right!  It's an incredible display of wealth, architecture, and pure photographic awesomeness.  I could literally spend hours just hanging out there, as many folks seem to do (in other words, good luck getting a shot of it devoid of people).

I caught this HDR image there while visiting Brussels earlier this year.  Grand Place was the first spot I wanted to visit, and fortunately my hotel was a 5 minute walk away.  I high-tailed it there as soon as I checked-in!  Despite my desire to fire off lots of HDR brackets, it's almost as much fun standing around and people-watching there.  Almost.  :-)

Dining in Grand Place

As I have said here before, Grand Place in Brussels is the most beautiful town square I have ever seen, and possibly the most beautiful one in the world.  It's incredible.  The architecture is amazing and there is just such an elegant but relaxed feel to it.  It just feels good to be there.  Does that make any sense at all?  :)

I could easily spend a day just hanging out there and taking a lot of photos.  As it turns out, that is sort of what I did, though I didn't stay in Grand Place the whole time.  I would snap some shots, wander some side streets, come back and snap a few more, then turn down another side street for a while, and then find myself back in Grand Place again a while later.  It's that kind of place - it just draws you back every time.

This scene just caught my eye on one of those wanderings.  I like the hand-written chalk signs, and the stonework, and the architecture, and the colors, and.....well, you get the idea.

The ghosts of Grand Place

I just can't help myself - I keeping posting shots from my recent trip through Europe.  I enjoyed it so much and took so many photos (over 3500!), that I'm afraid you will continue to see a bunch here.  But, I will probably mix it up a little just to keep you interested!  :)

This is another shot from the most beautiful and majestic town square in the entire world - Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.  As I have said before, it really is just an incredible spot.  This shot gives you a nice look at the amazing architecture.  Honestly, it's a difficult place to shoot because it is large and square, so that doesn't really translate to good shots that give you a feel for the size and grandeur.  It's best to just isolate a piece of it.

In this case, I was just firing brackets one afternoon towards the Town Hall building (the one rising out of frame on the left), having found some steps to climb up to get a little better view.  That gentleman there in the red shirt just stopped in front of me, while of course all the rest of the crowd continued to move.  I liked the look with all the ghosting, with the one guy just taking it all in...