Understrand Brussels to better defend it!

Since 1977, ARAU has been a pioneer of urban tourism in Brussels and has offered unconventional guided tours that raise awareness of urban democracy and the role of residents in the development of their city. Over the decades, ARAU has also developed an expert knowledge of the city’s architectural and planning history, which it has passed on through its programme of guided tours that continue to play an essential role in the defence of the heritage buildings of Brussels. To learn more about the city’s best features, while at the same time developing a critical view of past and planned developments, join us! Our programme of guided tours is divided into four main themes: “Must-sees”, “Architecture”, “The districts of Brussels” and “The city in transformation”.

On request, ARAU can tailor all of its guided tours to the particular requirements of your group, throughout the year.



The buildings around the Grand’Place of Brussels, described as a “marvel” by the French writer Victor Hugo, have just undergone a comprehensive renovation that has restored all their splendour. Art Nouveau, a style conceived in the minds of a handful of genius designers, reminds us that Brussels was at the forefront of the artistic avant-garde at the end of the nineteenth century. The European district is home to some of the most important EU institutions: the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, placing it at the beating heart of the EU. These three unmissable guided tours examine each of these themes in depth.

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Brussels has an extraordinarily rich and diverse architectural heritage. The gilded Baroque style of the buildings around the Grand’Place reminds us of the city’s glorious past. The Royal District is one of the most beautiful Neo-Classical ensembles ever built. Brussels is the “Capital of Art Nouveau” due to its many buildings in this distinctive style designed by Victor Horta, Paul Hankar and their disciples. In the inter-war years (1918-1939) Brussels did not miss out on the new Art Deco style, and is home to several iconic buildings in this style that are well worth a detour. Our “Architectures” guided tours reveal extraordinary buildings in every district of the city and place them in their historical contexts.

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Brussels in districts

The development of the city and region of Brussels cannot be dissociated from that of the 19 communes and their hundred-or-so districts. From villages that have expanded from their centres, to planned new suburbs, these districts developed in a wide variety of heritage contexts, which ARAU will help you appreciate, along with their urban planning and architectural specificities. And, as thriving urban democracies all begin at a local level, these guided tours will include time for discussion about current proposals with the local residents who will be affected by them. An opportunity to understand our heritage environment and also the urban-planning processes, so as to be better equipped to take action in our own districts and for the city!

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Summer trails

ARAU now offers a new programme of short guided tours to make the most of long summer evenings in Brussels. Our guides have prepared ten new guided tours of areas off the beaten track in French and in English. These concentrated guided tours offer opportunities to discover less-well-known places and unusual themes: to be enjoyed without restraint the whole summer long!

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Guided tours for individuals or groups