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Category: Antwerp

Beautiful chaos.

Graanmarkt 13 is a boutique which houses stylish high-end fashion, curious design objects and collectibles. Items that inspire and feel like coming home, carefully selected by Graanmarkt 13, run by old mutual friends of mine, Tim and Ilse.

Graamarkt 13 also houses a restaurant run by Seppe Nobels who learned his trade in the kitchens of top chefs such as Gianni Brunelli (Osteria le Logge, Siena) and Wout Bru (Chez Bru, Eygalières). He takes the honest, regional cuisine to a higher level and was voted ‘best junior chef in Belgium’ in 2005.

In collaboration with Bart Belmans, Seppe turned all available space of Graanmarkt 13’s garden and rooftops into a genuine city garden. Turning it into a small-scale nursery-garden growing herbs, wild plants and forgotten vegetables.

Vegetables grow happily in the garden of Graanmarkt 13 while herbs stretch towards the light on the roof terrace. Their own bees provide heavenly honey and the optimal pollination of their kitchen garden. What they can’t grow themselves, they get from close by: fish from the North Sea, meat from carefully selected farmers in the local area. Their farmers raise their animals outdoors with a commitment for high quality and healthy foods.

In fact the city-garden barely qualifies for the term since its agricultural area encompasses as much as 40 m2. At first sight, this does not seem much, but it is sufficient to harvest part of the season’s herbs and vegetables for Seppe’s dishes.
In it you’ll even find several themes: a Mediterranean garden, a sea-garden, a vegetable- and fruit-garden, and onion-garden and a shadow-garden. Go for a three course lunch while shopping!

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Hide and seek.

During one of my recurring work trips I happened to end up in Antwerp, Belgium for an overnight stay. Instead of rushing back to Amsterdam my boyfriend and I decided to stay for a romantic evening in Antwerp. And so I happend to end up spending a night in one of the most charming bed & breakfast’s of Antwerp Boulevard Leopold .

A beautiful house dating from the 19th century in the middle of the Jewish quarter of Antwerp. Owned by Bert Verschueren and Vincent Defontainers, Boulevard Leopold is located between the Albert Park and the City Park; the owners say their aim in the interiors was to create a sense of “forgotten glory.”

With three regular rooms for rent and two larger apartments available on longer terms, the B&B, built in 1890, features a mix of intact antique and contemporary design Hardware from that period throughout the entire B&B.

One fine line comes up while staying there “the eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” Henri Bergson (French Philosopher, 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature, 1859-1941)

Some special things you should look out for when staying there:

A tabletop adorned with cloche-covered hydrangeas and black candles in crystal.

A black-stained cabinet of curiosities covered with a mix of old books, antique crucifixes, and animal specimen.

A bathroom with tiles from 1900 in one of the two apartments available for long-term lease.

And last but not least the jungle-like dining room where the B&B serves residents breakfast; for those not staying at Boulevard Leopold, breakfast is still available for €10. When staying there I would really recommend room number 01!

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