To mark the 20th anniversary of Eurostar, we look at the area around Gare du Midi, the Brussels station where the cross-channel train arrives
The Gare du Midi neighbourhood is seen by many as a seedy area where you dont want to hang around if you can help it (and with a Eurostar ticket you can easily hop on a train to the smartly renovated Central Station). Yet this district has a certain melancholy charm a bit like a story by Georges Simenon, creator of the detective Maigret with its sullen station bars, retired Moroccan men playing dominoes and night trains rumbling overhead. The city is now improving the boulevard that runs from the station to the city centre, which is bringing new energy to the area. Its not ever going to be like the chic Louise quarter, but its at least more authentic than the sterile European district or the tacky tourist zone.