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Le Botanique

Le Botanique (14)

Do not let its name deceive you, as you will not find a botanical garden here. There used to be one, however, in the late eighteenth century when Charles-Henri Petersen designed some gardens here within the grounds of the old Palace of Lorraine. These gardens were of great use to students of botany of the period, and it was round about then that that the French government issued a decree stipulating that all education centres must have their own botanical garden. 

After a controversial tender competition, it was eventually the French architect Gineste who designed the great iron and glass building that you can still find in the centre of the garden today. This Neoclassical-style building was used as a nursery until 1826, when the gardens were closed and a new botanical garden was opened in Meise.

This former greenhouse, for its part, is currently used as the headquarters of the Cultural Centre of the French Community, and hosts a large number of cultural events such as works of theatre, dance, concerts and exhibitions. In addition, the International Festival of French Song is held here every July. 

You will also observe that some of the 52 statues from the nineteenth century, which formerly decorated the gardens, are still preserved here. Specifically, next to the greenhouse building you will find sculptures by Constantin Meunier that symbolise the four seasons. 

Moreover, if you look at the vegetation that covers much of the current gardens, you will realise that it is practically predominated by lilies, the symbol of the Brussels region. Indeed, almost 40 varieties of this species make a visit to this park in spring one of the most beautiful sights in the city. 

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