About a month ago I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my youngest daughter Elizabeth. We went to Antwerp as there was an event Water-rAnt which I wanted to go to. My daughter went with me with the promise of an icecream… (a little blackmail now and then can’t hurt now can it 🙂 ).
But first things first… Water-rAnt. This event brought more than 80 authentic ships and vessels to the harbour. Most activities took place in the neighourhood of het Eilandje. About this neighbourhood I already did a post a couple of months ago so make sure you take a look at it as it contains lots of beautiful photos!
As we arrived at het Eilandje on this sunny autumn afternoon at the end of September, my daughter first wanted to go up on the roof of the MAS for the fantastic views you’ve got from up there. Up on the roof, we could see where all the action of Water-rAnt took place, so after some photos on this panoramic roof, we went down again and walked around the streets of het Eilandje. There was a lively, bustling atmosphere. Water-rAnt really is about naval heritage and we saw some fantastic vessels, sailing boats, clippers and even rowing boats. Visitors could take sailing trips, listen to stories of sailors and ship builders or even listen to sailor’s songs brought by a men’s choir. The navy and the naval scouts were also present and of course there were lots of food stalls, selling mainly seafood. But I couldn’t tempt my daughter (she’s so not into fish!) so we only walked around soaking up the atmosphere and the autumn sun.
Then it was time for the promised icecream and we took the tram to the city centre where we went to ‘Paleis on the Meir‘. This 18th century building can be found on the Antwerp Meir, which is the main shopping street of the town. It once belonged to the Belgian royal family, Willem I of the Netherlands and even Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the beginning of the 21st century, the building was renovated and it is now home to several businesses :
Flamant : The coachhouse of the Palace houses Flamant, a Belgian interior company which is worldwide renowed. They sell beautiful furniture and stuff to give your interior a stylish boost. The style Flamant is an encounter of the classical and the modern and it represents a lifestyle. They always search for harmony between different styles : classic, country, Gustavian, modern vintage, contemporary urban design,… They have a diversified collection of products. I include a link to their online shop. Make sure to take a look at their stunning collection and prepare to fall in love…
The Chocolate Line : Belgium is known for its beer, waffles,… but most of all… its chocolates ! So when in Antwerp, make sure you visit ‘The chocolate line’ at the Paleis on the Meir (they also have a shop in Bruges). It truly is a little piece of chocolate heaven! Dominique Persoone is the chocolatier behind this brand. You can of course buy a chocolate bar, but you have to try the chocolates… The ingredients used in the chocolates are so varied: pepper, gin, violet flower, lime, sake, saffron and even soy sauce and sesame seeds ! With some of these ingredients you propably think ‘how the hell could that taste good in a chocolate’… well believe me… these chocolates are absolutely divine… You can also visit the chocolate kitchen and see some chocolatiers at work. And in the beautiful store with murals and grand chandeliers, there are also several large chocolate displays on show… a buste of Napoleon for example or now as an autumn theme Scrat from the film Ice Age with lots and lots of hazelnuts in his tummy 🙂
Impérial : This is a stylish brasserie where you can enjoy a tasty breakfast, a delicious lunch, a luxurious diner but you can also visit it for afternoon tea or just a coffee. No matter what your choice, you will be spoiled with fabulous goodies. The interior is very grand with beautiful furniture, murals, chandeliers and fireplaces. So definitely to be recommended! My daughter had her so longed for icecream (with lots of chocolate sauce) and I opted for tea with scones. As the weather was still delightful, we sat on the outdoor terrace to enjoy our treat.
After our sweet teeth were satisfied, it was time to go home. I had a lovely afternoon with my youngest daughter and so did she (the fact that she got a new pair of shoes might have something to do with that as well I must admit…) !