In 1883, architect Charles Gys oversaw the construction of 10 rental-apartment buildings with commercial premises on their ground floors. This set of buildings was erected for the company Les Constructeurs Réunis to match those in Rue Henri Maus/Henri Mausstraat, on the other side of the stock-exchange building (Bourse/Beurs). The plastered façade of number 18, Rue de la Bourse/Beursstraat, embellished with blue-limestone ornamentation, is adorned with the window and door decorations crafted by Henri Coosemans in 1909. Designed in the neo-Renaissance style, they are a glorious blend of wood and marble. Slender wooden columns topped with bronze Ionic capitals support the arches, while grotesques stand guard over the central entrance. Le Cirio was originally a shop and café specialising in Italian food. Its proprietor, Francesco Cirio, who owned a factory in Turin, opened 18 retail outlets throughout Europe in locations including Moscow, Zurich and Paris. Of these, the Brussels branch is the only one still in existence. Notwithstanding a few alterations, it still looks much the same as it did over 100 years ago. The original parquet, mirrors, embossed neo-Renaissance and Japanese-style (Kinkarakawakami) wallpaper, velvet-covered benches and stained woodwork – some of which has been made to imitate mahogany – are still in place, giving the premises a unique cosy atmosphere that is a magnet for tourists as well as the café’s many regulars. (Listed 03/03/2011)
Guided tours: Sat. and Sun. at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 (in French); 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00 (in Dutch). In cooperation with Arkadia.
Accessible with assistance