a piece of art
A Precious Heritage Listed 17th Century House
L’Écailler du Palais Royal has been founded in 1967 by a famous Belgian restaurateur, named Marcel Kreusch, who drew his inspiration from a restaurant in London serving only fish, shellfish and crustaceans.
This magnificent dwelling has been built in the 17th century and is located in the heart of Brussels historic zone,
in the picturesque antique dealers district. Its story reflects the history of Brussels city, and more precisely of this particular place named « le Sablon ».
The house's historical, architectural and artistical interest has been recognized and on 27th October 2005,
the building has been heritage listed by the Belgian authorities. Large demolitions and renovations in the neighborhood made Bodenbroek street and this house even more precious.
The Sablon Story.
The Sablon, a popular area with aristocrats since the XV Century.
In 1304 a crossbowmen's guild built a chapel on this land, the future Notre-Dame du Sablon Church. The reputation of this humble oratory grew suddenly when, according to tradition, a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary was brought in from Antwerp in 1348. In the XV century, the crossbowmen made it the church what we can still admire nowadays. From the XV century and especially in the XVI-XVII, the area was very popular with aristocrats. They elevate there large houses whose dimensions are exceptional for the Brussels plot, where they host lavish parties.
The Sablon Square : a typical XVII century district
This area of Brussels historical center is marked by the combinationof narrow and shallow plots, typical of the seventeenth century and larger plots. It consists of traditional houses testifying to the type typically encountered in the center of Brussels.
This neighborhood has been preserved as it was spared by the 1695 bombing orchestrated by French troops, contrary to
the Grand Place. Therefore, the Sablon Square and surrounding streets do not undergo significant changes before the nineteenth century.
A Preserved Area, typical of the XVII
A famous cartographer named Popp made a precise plot map of Brussels in 1866, where we can clearly see the plot located
Bodenbroek 18. The plot did not change since XVII, except that a small part, which served as a stable was sold on August 4th, 1842 to a master mason neighbour. At that time the house belonged to a family of wealthy brewers, the family KRICKX, and it remains in the same family for more than a century, until 1939.
XIX Century: the area is redesigned
During the 19th century, this old district was reshaped by the construction of Regence Street, between the Place Royale and the Palais de Justice. This Haussman style artery runs the length of the church and highlights its perspectives. The clear space on both sides of the church was refurbished at the same time and the houses adjoined to the church were destroyed
between 1878 and 1880
In the early XX century, the aristocracy gives way has to a more modest population. The house becomes a small pub.
The social composition of the neighbourhood changed over time. In the nineteenth century, it was gradually forsaken by the aristocracy in favour of new upscale areas, such as the Leopold district. In the twentieth century, the Grand Sablon Square was occupied by a more modest population with small workshops and warehouses. In 1931, there was a small pub on the ground floor of the house. On 4th March 1939, the last heir of the KRICKX family who inherited the house from his late Mother Charlotte KRICKX sold it to the tenant of the house, the pub owner.
The Years 1960's : the "Sablonisation" The opening of l'Ecailler du Palais Royal
At the end of the 1960's, a new residential and commercial mutation could be witnessed : several antique dealers set up
in the district, following the demolitions in Monts des Arts district. Le Sablon became such a trendy district, that a new word was coined after it: "sablonisation", the local word for gentrification. It is the time when a famous Belgian restaurateur named Marcel KREUSCH decided to set up an elegant restaurant there. L'Ecailler du Palais royal opened in 1967.It quickly became one of Belgium's best tables that has welcomed royal family members, celebrities, international political figures,
world renowned chefs,.. in a refined setting.
XXI century : A prestigious and elegant restaurant in an upscale district
Today the house is still home to "l'Ecailler du Palais Royal", a prime dining destination in Belgium since 50 years.
The restaurant is appreciated by national and international elites for its fine authentic cuisine and for its tranquil British club ambience,which has made it a well-known lobbying place. It is ideally located close to many prestigious institutions (European Union, Prime minister office, Parliament, Senate, ...), embassies, Justice Palace, ...
The Sablon Square is known as the antiques dealers area, but also as an elegant place with lot's of luxury shops and residences, that reflects a certain Belgian art de vivre.
A house of great historical archaeological and artistic interest
The house includes many elements typical to the traditional patrician dwellings of the XVII, such as the street-front facade, the supporting structures, the wooden roof structur e, the windows, the vaulted cellars, ...
Its spatial organization composed of large rooms distributed on both sides of a corridor corresponds to the typology of the XVII.
Its size is unchanged since its construction. The sequence main house-courtyard-back home (called an "achterhuis") reflects the traditional architecture in these regions in the medieval era to the XVII century.