Brussels gets its “Line”

Park Tour&Taxis


I was 4 months pregnant the first time I went to New York, and I hated it.

Being pregnant of course, but New York as well.

I guess both were linked because you cannot really enjoy the Big Apple when cosmopolitans are banished and shopping does not make sense as you are going to swell up for the next 5 coming months and don’t know whether you will ever get your body back afterwards.
Furthermore, we arrived right after Sandy and the city was deserted.

Still, there is one spot I loved : the High Line.

This linear park recently build on a former railroad offers a fantastic walk above the city’s urban industrial landscape.

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Among all the places I apprehended as “clichés” in my unsatisfied pregnant mind (I really enjoyed them during my next trip to NY one year later), the High Line made me feel the city’s creativity, its ability to reinvent itself through an environmental and community project.

I don’t know whether it influenced the designers of Brussel’s new park on the site of Tour & Taxis, but I couldn’t help but thinking about it when I discovered its first section (currently the only one open to the public).

There aren’t lots of green areas around the Dansaert neighborhood, and I was really looking forward to seeing the results of this long talked about project.
We’ve been searching for it with Emma on a Saturday morning, fortunately by bike because the entrance is (for now) pretty far from the city center. It is located in Laeken, between the Jean Dubrucq avenue and the Jubilé bridge, but the park should eventually spread from Bockstael to Sainctelette.

It is not in the air like the High Line, but it has been built on a long abandoned ground along a subway line and offers a great view on Brussels’s skyline.

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There weren’t lots of people at 10.00… as a resident with his little boy told us : “Les gens du quartier ne sont pas des lève-tôt”  (“There aren’t many early birds in the neigborhood”). He explained that the project has a great impact on the neighborhood which is pretty much involved in its development : people grow vegetable gardens, maintain a sheepfold (which naturally delighted Emma), and regularly meet for organized picnics or small sportive events. In the morning the park would be mostly frequented by parents with little children.

It is design, family friendly and a bit wild, in other words, I loved it.

It should reach the canal and be around 20 ha by 2018, but this small piece of quiet conviviality is certainly already worth a visit.

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IMG_4197b cover2   t&T4b

For more/updated information, you can visit the website of the Agence de Développement Territorial.

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