Visit to the Cirio restoration site in the presence of architect Florence Doneux (Architectures Parallèles) (fully booked)

A. de Ville de Goyet ©

In 1883, architect Charles Gys oversaw the construction of 10 rental-apartment buildings with commercial premises on their ground floors. They were erected for the company Les Constructeurs Réunis as a counterpart to those built in Rue Henri Maus/Henri Mausstraat, on the other side of the Stock Exchange building (Bourse/Beurs). The plastered façade of number 18 is embellished with blue-limestone ornamentation and adorned with 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. Cathedral glass canopies provide shelter for visitors. 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. This unique interior was lovingly restored to its former glory in 2018. (Listed 03/03/2011)

Guided tour of the restoration project: How is a restoration project organised in Brussels? What are the roles and tasks of female architects, restorers and artisans working on heritage? These are the questions our two experts will be answering during a visit to Le Cirio, Brussels' iconic Art Nouveau café. 

In cooperation with non-profit organisation L'architecture qui dégenre, architect Florence Doneux (Architectures Parallèles).

Practical information

Sat. 10:00 to 12:00

Rue de la Bourse/Beursstraat 18 – Brussels

Guided tours and by reservation only

Accessible with assistance

Accessible with assistance