All summer long, our "we discovered for you" series whisks you off to explore all four corners of Brussels. Our testers bring you along on guided tours that feature favourites and anecdotes. Street art, history and heritage, eco-tours or cultural bike rides... this summer is going to be full of surprises!
From hidden treasures to new experiences, see Brussels through our eyes. We’ll show you that thetre’s no BrUSsels without us!
For our second installment, we head to the Chatelain neighbourhood with Mylène for Mixua's Eco Tour of Brussels.
" Our guide, Emilia, presents her philosophy and her journey from economy to ecology. With a smile, she tells us of her positive, committed vision!"
It's 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning and meeting point is in the Châtelain neighbourhood, famous for its little boutiques, gourmet restaurants, concept-stores and trendy shops. Our small group meets for a cup of steaming tea at the brand-new Brüt by Färm in Ixelles. Among them, I chat with a student who came from Leuven for the occasion and a young Spanish girl, who has just settled in Brussels, who is taking advantage of the visit to deepen her ecological knowledge and discover the city in a different way.
Before setting off to explore the neighbourhood, the Mixua Eco Tour begins with a half-hour workshop. Our guide, Emilia, presents her philosophy and her journey from economy to ecology. With a smile, she tells us of her positive, committed vision. Her aim is zero waste, something that she has been practicing on a daily basis now for several years! It’s an opportunity to focus on a few essential concepts that will accompany us throughout the morning: zero waste, fair trade, organic products...and their labels!
“Great emphasis is put on the human element and the floor is given to the entrepreneurs and creators who speak about their projects and products with real passion. We learn anecdotes and inspiring stories”
After all that theory, it's time to put it into practice! Bulk food stores, green cosmetics shops, eco-responsible objects and clothes... Emilia gives us a comprehensive view of what's out there, gives us her top tips to avoid greenwashing and reminds us of the concept and the history behind the businesses she has shown us. The 6 addresses we visit were hand-picked and chosen for the quality of their long-term commitment. "I never hesitate to pick up the phone and ask brands about their ecological approach," she says, with a grin.
She leads our little group with great flexibility, puts great emphasis on the human element and, above all, gives the floor to the actors (shop managers, entrepreneurs, designers...) who speak about their projects and products with real passion. One inspiring anecdote comes from a textile designer who makes bespoke clothing from fabric off cuts from major brands. "We recover two tons a year, which would otherwise go in the bin!" he tells us. From recycling umbrellas and the discovery of Tencel - an ecological fibre par excellence - to bulk skin care, we discover a series of innovative and often novel concepts. Discovery is at the heart of our eco-guide's approach, as she regularly scours the city, searching for new ideas and initiatives.
"Even though I already knew this area of Brussels, I discovered some new places within it. Needless to say, it made me want to come back!"
The pace of the visit is very pleasant and so is its atmosphere. It doesn't resemble a typical guided tour. On the contrary, Emilia, spontaneous and cheerful, makes it easy for everyone to participate in the conversation and share their experiences or a product with the group.
Even though I already knew this area of Brussels, I discovered some new places within it. Needless to say, it made me want to come back! The guide also provides practical tools, such as a map of the capital that shows good addresses. This encourages you to continue your discovery of all things "made in Belgium" in other parts of the city.
Mixua's Eco Tour helps us to realise that ecological alternatives exist but does so without imposing its vision of the world. There are no obligations, just a healthy dose of inspiration!