Galerie de la Reine, Brussels – Galeries Royales St Hubert


The Theatre Royal is perhaps the main feature of the Galerie de la Reine in Brussels, with its Magritte-painted domed ceiling, still drawing in theatre-goers over 100 years since it first opened.

The Galerie de la Reine is really just the continuation of the Galerie du Roi, extending beyond the central section towards the north. It has the same high glass ceiling, and similar features to its Royal neighbour, with vintage lamps, more classic figures high up looking down on the arcade below, and this time a clock that once kept the time, although again the hands are now missing.

This arcade also has a good range of shops, from the Belgian specialities like chocolates (again) and waffles to the more functional stores selling soaps or spectacles. There are high-end jewellers and perfumeries, interior design shops and cafes, though my favourite store (see below) combines art and creativity with function.

The entrance to the north has a slightly less flamboyant look and fewer people enter from this direction, but it keeps the “Omnia Omnibus’ wording high up on top of the gable end.

My favourite shop today

Roseline d’Oreye – The lady who opened this silk products shop just a few months before my visit used to be an illustrator in the publishing industry, but has gone into designing her own silk scarves and cloths. I purchased an arcade-themed handkerchief, with an adaptation of the Magritte ceiling design from the Theatre Royal, so very appropriate for this Arcades Project.

Don’t miss the white-painted ironwork spiral staircase here, too. It is still to be found in many of the arcade shops but this one is particularly visible and striking.

My pick of the arcade’s past

Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” opened in the Theatre Royal in 1863, but to mixed reviews. A “somewhat lengthy and incoherent romance,” said one Dublin reviewer, with the stage “overcrowded with personages…hindering the action and fatiguing the audience.”

This arcade in films or books

The 2015 film The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne as the transgender character from 100 years ago, had scenes filmed in the Galerie de la Reine.

What’s your favourite shop in the arcade today?

What memories do you have of visits in years gone by?

Have you got any good stories to add on the past of this arcade?

Have you seen Galerie de la Reine in any other film or book?

Is there a website for this arcade?

The Galeries Royales St Hubert in Brussels do have their own website. Click the link to view.

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