A Perfect Day in ... Brussels

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Cathy Pill, fashion designer
I'd start with freshly squeezed orange juice and great coffee with some friends on the terrace at Gaudron, tel: (32-2) 343 9790. Then I would go to the city center and walk through the beautiful stores on the Rue Antoine Dansaert. It's fashion-slave heaven, with boutiques crammed into every available space. I would definitely go to Stijl at No. 74, tel: (32-2) 512 0313. This is the mecca of contemporary Belgian haute couture. I'd also visit Icon, tel: (32-2) 502 7151, to see their new trends. Later, for dinner, I would go to Le Macon, tel: (32-2) 346 4652. It's roomy, not too pricey, and has a great wine cellar and an uncomplicated menu. The end to my perfect day would be found at the Kaaitheatre, tel: (32-2) 201 5959, where I'd see an Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker ballet.

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, author and playwright
I'd begin with a croissant and coffee at one of the many street cafés at Place du Grand Sablon. The Sablon is threaded with antique shops, old bookstores and art galleries. After breakfast, I take my Shiba Inu dogs for a walk in Forêt de Soignes — an immense forest in the center of Brussels that our former King gave to the city. I'd like a light lunch at a brasserie like Taverne du Passage, tel: (32-2) 512 3731, under the domed glass roof of the Galerie de la Reine, then I'd devote my afternoon to writing and catching up on correspondence. To complete my dream day, I'd like to visit a gallery of fine arts, take in a classical-music concert and have a late dinner with friends at Notos, tel: (32-2) 513 2959, a fine-dining restaurant inspired by Greek gastronomy. Or I might like to introduce friends to Ciao, tel: (32-2) 513 0323, an intimate Italian restaurant, close to Sablon, filled mostly with locals. Bocconi in the grand Amigo Hotel, tel: (32-2) 547 4715, is where I like taking my favorite Parisian actresses for dinner. I've found many of the characters in my books at these places. Join me sometime, and who knows, you may spot them, too.

Elric Petit, interior designer
I like to breakfast in the Art Deco interior of the Royal Library, tel: (32-2) 519 5311. From my usual table, I look across the city and fall in love with it all over again. Following breakfast, I like to browse at Own, tel: (32-2) 217 9571, a good designer store filled with new names like N. Hoolywood from Japan, Acne and Whyred from Sweden and Belgium's own Atelier 11. After shopping, I'll reward myself with a good French Bordeaux at a new wine bar in Ixelles, Le Petit Canon, tel: (32-2) 640 3824. For a simple, traditional lunch, I'll head to Le Pigeon Noir, tel: (32-2) 375 2374, a soulful Michelin-starred restaurant located at the corner of the Rue de la Chenaie and Rue Geleytsbeek. I like spending time at L'Archiduc, tel: (32-2) 512 0652, a legendary Art Deco-style bar known for its artists, cocktails and live jazz. La Paix, tel: (32-2) 523 0958, is a gem of a restaurant attached to a delicatessen. I particularly enjoy selecting choice cuts of meat at their butchery. My nightcap would be at Le Bar du Matin, tel: (32-2) 537 7159, where they have really good music.