| 4 min read
Why camp in Brussels?
When I learnt about the campsite Ciel Ouvert, I felt so excited that I was about to pack my gear and check it out immediately. In all my enthusiasm, I wasn’t expecting the reluctant reaction of my partner who came up with arguments like ‘why camping if we have an apartment and a comfy bed in Brussels?’ Uhm… because camping is fun? I’m not sure if I had really convinced him, but he agreed to give it a try. So we packed our tent, sleeping bags, flashlight, etcetera… and set off for a camping trip in Brussels. (Yay!)
A hidden campsite
Carrying our big backpacks around, we took the metro to Porte de Namur and walked through the hustle and bustle of the African district of Matonge. It was hard to imagine there was an open space for camping somewhere around here. As we stumbled upon the Church of the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament, a handmade signpost welcomed us and pointed us towards the back of the church.
So far I wasn’t seeing any green. Behind the church, there was just a parking lot and a series of steps leading up to… a lovely courtyard! The garden of the Jesuit community (which is based in the church) boasts a vegetable garden with pea tendrils and young salad along with butterfly and rose bushes, as well as plenty of other colorful flowers.
Camping Ciel Ouvert
As we continued the path, we discovered a lovely, hidden garden of Eden with a relatively large grass field that laid out in front of us. There were no more than 10 or 15 tents on the walled campsite, but that made it feel especially cozy. We found a good spot and pitched our tent.
Camping Ciel Ouvert offers all the basic facilities:
- an outdoor sink to do the dishes
- about five indoor showers for men and women separately
- plenty of clean indoor toilets
- a separate indoor room with washbowls
- outdoor chairs and tables
- an improvised barbecue
- a receptionist who’s happy to provide you with some local tips on where to eat and visit
Things to do in the neighborhood
Having installed our stuff, we went off for a walk in the surroundings. Place Jourdan is nearby to grab a bite or go for a drink. Apart from the famous friterie Maison Antoine, several restaurants cater a large variety of food (such as the Mexican place Donki which we’ve tried recently).
Other nice places in the neighborhood are Park Leopold and Parc du Cinquantenaire, both of which are lovely picnic spots in Brussels. And that was exactly our plan for the evening. Unfortunately, the weather suddenly changed its mind and ruined our little picnic plan with some heavy showers. Instead we headed to the (slightly overpriced) Brasserie La Terrasse for a beer. The advantage of our little camping adventure is that we didn’t have to keep track of time in order not to miss the last metro.
As the evening came to an end around midnight, we walked back to our campsite. Most campers had already gone to bed. Following the house rules to keep quiet after 10:30 PM, we silently tucked into our tent for an enjoyable night’s rest.
In the end, we both had a great time at camping Ciel Ouvert and even my partner was pleasantly suprised by the welcoming vibe of the place. We definitely recommend it as a fun Summer activity in Brussels!
- Camping Ciel Ouvert (Open Sky) is situated on Chaussée de Wavre 205, 1050 Ixelles
- It is only open in Summer, from July 1 to August 31
- More information on the Ciel Ouvert website
- The price is 5 EUR per person and additionally 5 EUR per small tent or 10 EUR per large tent. A 50% discount applies for children under 12. It is also possible to use a parking space for 10 EUR per day.
When you're on a camping trip in Brussels, this could very well be your theme song! It is also simply a nice song from Boulevard des Airs, a great French pop/rock group.
Et quand tu danses, c’est du dripping
T’es un cadeau pour la rétine
T’es sur une toile de Mondrian que je saccage de milles couleurs
Je t’ais sans vergognes et sans plans juste comme ça, pour le bonheur
Je nous imagine même en camping
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