St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
- Type: Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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It's less ornate than other Gothic churches, but most agree the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral's no-frills design is a refreshing quality. St. Michael and St. Gudula has been known throughout history -- particularly by French writer Victor Hugo -- as "the purest flowering of the Gothic style." The Belgian royals thought so too, as it has served as the site for all royal weddings and christenings. Constructed in the 13th century, with its clean stone exterior and intricate stained-glass windows, this cathedral makes for an impressive sight.
Traveler comments are mixed: One TripAdvisor user calls this cathedral "so-so" while another prefers it over Paris' Notre-Dame. A Virtual Tourist user says: "the Nave has incredible stained glass windows. … There are spectacular buttresses along the upper parts of the cathedral, and all along the lower parts, especially near the western entrance, there are impressively detailed sculptures chronicling, obviously, Biblical stories and personnages."
The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (also known as the Cathedrale St-Michel et Ste-Gudule) sits several blocks northeast of the Brussels train station and is open to the public daily from around 7 or 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., depending on the day. You can attend services and explore the main parts of the cathedral for free, but if you wish to take a peek into the crypt, you'll have to shell out a couple of euro. For more information, visit the church's website.