| 8 min read
Life in Brussels can be so chaotic that once in a while it’s nice to escape the daily hustle and bustle and recharge your batteries in a quiet place. Our weekend trip section suggests lots of nice destinations like Durbuy, Bouillon, Chimay… but did you know that you can also enjoy a green scenery while staying super close to Brussels? We discovered a cozy 19th-century farmhouse surrounded by meadows and greenery, situated only 30 minutes from the city centre of Brussels. It’s called La Petite Forêt and it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some well deserved me-time. Below are some suggestions on how to make the best of your weekend.
Appreciate the unique style of La Petite Forêt
Two minutes after exiting the highway, you’ll find yourself on empty roads meandering through the countryside. Can you feel the fresh air already? This means La Petite Forêt isn’t far away anymore. At the end of a muddy road, you’ll stumble upon an adorable cottage with a large garden and a swing in front.
La Petite Forêt is the big project of Elke and Fré who’ve renovated the place in an antique style (I love how contradictory that sounds). They often go treasure-hunting on antique markets to decorate the house with their findings. The living room for example features an 18th century daybed located in front of the fireplace. The twin bedroom contains two antique iron beds. The wooden kitchen stands out thanks to its Eastern European barn wood, black and white tiles and vintage copper casseroles.
It’s basically one big (antique and upcycled) art project, in which you get the opportunity to live for a few days. Take your time to look around and seek out your favorite spots.
Celebrate the weekend with bubbles
Once you’ve unpacked your bags and settled in the house, it’s time to disconnect completely, forget the stress from daily life and relax. At La Petite Forêt, it’s all about celebrating the little things in life. Let’s say cheers to that with some nice champagne.
Prepare a nice meal
There are different grocery-stores in the area to gather ingredients for a perfect meal. Take your time to compare and seek out the best products. If you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, you could buy an assortment of quality cheese and cold cuts, and pair those with a nice wine. Otherwise it could also be fun to prepare a nice meal together while engaging in some profound discussions.
Some recommended shops in the neighborhood are:
- Albert Heijn in Ternat for general grocery shopping
- Delhaize in Merchtem, which has a large cheese selection and quality meat from Dierendonck
- Bakkerij De Pedevallei (Statiestraat 62 , 1740 Ternat) for fresh bread
The kitchen is fully equipped with a Lacanche range cooker with three ovens (one gas oven) and a coup-de-feu simmer plate, Japanese Damascus steel kitchen knives, copper cookware, a stand mixer and lots of beautiful plates and platters for a perfect presentation.
Curl up in front of the fireplace
Make a fire and get comfy in the 18th century daybed facing the fireplace. Now curl up with a book or watch your favorite series on Netflix.
Take a hot bath
As the bathroom is one of the most beautiful rooms of La Petite Forêt, it would be a pity not to enjoy it to the fullest. Dim the lights and fill the Victorian-style bath tub with hot water and lots of bath foam. The bath tub is so deep you can submerge your entire body and it’s even large enough to fit two people.
Go for a walk in the forest
You can hike in the meadows surrounding the cottage, or head to Kravaalbos for a hike around the former stone quarries. Download the 8 kilometer itinerary from Toerisme Oost-Vlaanderen and import it in an app like Maps.Me. This itinerary will take around the forest and through the neighboring village of Meldert. In Spring, the Kravaalbos forest is covered with a magical bluebell carpet.
Quench your thirst with a local beer in a traditional brown bar
The hike begins and ends at Café Stinne, which is a traditional Flemish brown bar. In Winter you can sit by the traditional fireplace whereas on sunny days, you'll want to enjoy the lovely outdoor terrace. They have a nice selection of Belgian beers, among which a few local ones that you won’t find anywhere else. Combine this with a generous cheese platter.
Visit the world's best bar
Located in Lennik, In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst has been nominated four times as the ‘best bar of Belgium’ as well as the‘best bar of the world’ in 2018, 2019 and 2020 by ratebeer.com The reason is probably its authentic character and the enormous list of gueuze and other top-class beers. It’s only open on Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM.
Go ice-skating in Liedekerke
It’s a quick 15-minutes drive to the ice-skating rink of Liedekerke, which is a great activity for a family outing. From September to May, everybody is welcome to practice their moves on the ice-skating rink with Olympic dimensions (60 m x 30 m). It is possible to rent skates on location.
Have a spaghetti at Pee Klak
Located in Strombeek-Bever, Pee Klak is a family-run bar with an authentic feel that’s famous for its spaghetti. There are four different sauces to choose from, which are prepared in advance every day. Pee Klak is actually a very simple, no-pretense place, and even though it frequently happens that people stand in line for their serving of spaghetti, you never have to wait for long.
- La Petite Forêt is situated at Louwijn 13, 1730 Asse
- You'll need a car to get there and get around.
- It's a 30-minutes drive from the center of Brussels.
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