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Brussels in Bloom brightens up city centre with surrealism-themed floral displays until 15 August

Brussels in Bloom floral trail in the Belgian capital
18:40 01/08/2023

The third edition of the free urban trail Brussels in Bloom injects welcome splashes of colour to the cobbled streets surrounding the Grand Place.

More than 5,000 artificial flowers along with other durable materials are employed in the pop-up horticultural installations bursting with sunshine under the capital’s cloud-scudded skies.

Brussels in Bloom

The flower power trail starts in the inner courtyard of the town hall with a giant natural fibre curved pipe filled with overflowing and brightly-hued flowers representing a puff of smoke. Ceci n’est pas une pipe by Sofia Tavares and Marc Noël (Moments Subtils) pays tribute to Belgium’s surrealist master René Magritte. It’s a nod to the emblematic artist as part of the city’s 125th anniversary celebrations of his birth.

In total, 18 works by a dozen floral artists grace squares, streets and famous monuments of the city centre until 15 August. The map of the hour-long signposted tour spread around the area between the Bourse, Central Station and Place de la Vieille Halles des Blés can be found here.

Brussels in Bloom

Magritte served as an inspiration for some of the other exhibits. Strung high above the busy thoroughfare of Rue du Marché aux Herbes are a series of flying bicycles evoking his painting The state of Grace by Max Hurtaud. “I’m French and from a family of cyclists so it also combines my profession with my passion and my family,” explains the florist.

The joyful profusion of blooms and rainbow-coloured ribbons in Les bicyclettes volantes creates a striking image eliciting a sense of freedom and carefree summer days, whatever the weather.

Brussels in Bloom

“The bikes are really surrealist set against the sky,” points out Hurtaud (pictured above right), who was similarly inspired by the artist in his second work A l’abri, sous la nature in Rue des Brasseurs.

He likes the fact that the installation features flowers falling from an umbrella in contrast to the object’s intended purpose of protecting the user from rainfall.

Based in Vilvoorde and now boasting an international career, Hurtaud has been invited to participate in the seasonal event since its launch during the pandemic in 2021.

He views his involvement as an act of gratitude to his adoptive city and country. “I’ve been so welcomed here and my career has exploded thanks to Belgium.”

Brussels in Bloom

The florist is also one of the artists involved in Flowertime, another floral event that fills Brussels’ town hall from 11 to 15 August. Equally honouring Belgian surrealism, some 15 rooms are set to be transformed with fragrant and colourful floral displays.

Meanwhile, for Brussels’ business alderman Fabian Maingain, Brussels in Bloom is designed to be a harmonious and accessible experience as well as a boost for local shops, cafes and restaurants.

“Brussels is coming back to life and regaining its summer colours in order to offer visitors and tourists a unique 60-minute bucolic stroll through the city's shopping streets.”

Photos: ©Sarah Crew

Written by Sarah Crew