Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Royal Palace Brussels


 My apartment in Brussels lies at the back of the Belgian Royal Palace, and I walk past it every morning and evening on my way to work. It's quite an elegant building and sits next to the restful Royal Park.


The palace isn't normally open to the public, except for one month of the year. I came back from my surgery just in time to make the last week of public opening, so one lunchtime I went to visit the Royal Palace. The tour was free-entry and turned out to be relatively short, but impressive. A cordoned-off path took you up the main stairs, through a series of rooms on the first floor and back down the stairs to the exit.

One highlight of the trip was the Throne Room, which has beautiful parquet flooring and impressive chandeliers which cast a lovely golden glow over the entire room. You could easily imagine attending a ball in such a room.

The other highlight was the Mirror Room. In recent years, 3 pieces of modern art have been installed at the Royal Palace and the Mirror Room holds the "Heaven of Delight" by Jan Fabre. Panels in the ceiling of the room as well as the chandelier have been covered in the carapaces of more than 1.4 million Thai jewel beetles. The effect is nothing short of stunning. The carapaces are a fantastic shimmering green, and any photo that I have found simply does not do the work justice. You have to stand underneath it to experience it properly.

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