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The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Saturday was a chilly, but sunny day.  Armed with two shopping bags full of fresh veggies and fruits from the Flagey market, I head over to Café Belga.  My little girl and I decide to drink a cup of hot chocolate. I’m a bit disappointed that some lady just snatched the last croque monsieur.  Still, it’s always nice to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere of Brussels most successful bar. This place is always full. From early morning to early morning, with just a few hours in between.  There you can find regulars who, like me, have been coming there for the past decade. Also, like me, this spot has become almost a second living room. I inevitably always meet people there. It can be friends of mine or from my wife. And of course, I also meet with many of the thousand expats I have had t...

5 Interesting Facts about Chernobyl

Thirty-four years later, the Chernobyl disaster continues to be a topic of great discussion. It has come to the forefront once more, thanks to the HBO series released in 2019 and the burgeoning tourism industry in the area. Here are five interesting facts about Chernobyl

Is it safe to visit Chernobyl?

When you think about visiting a place like Chernobyl, the primary and immediate question on your mind is: Can I safely visit an area where nobody is allowed to live? The short answer is, yes, provided you take the necessary precautions. Here are some very important things to consider before you visit Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone.

Top 11 things that can go wrong in Venice

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it's also one of the few that can bring about many holiday irritations. Here are some of those pesky little details that can spoil your Venice experience and how Expat Club takes that worry away!

Meet the Castle: Château de Chenonceau

Did you know that Château de Chenonceau was a gift from King Henry II of France to his mistress Diane de Poitiers? She didn’t get to keep it, though. Chateau de Chenonceau is the third castle of the Loire Valley we visit during our weekend trip. One of the most remarkable aspects of this chateau’s history is its almost uninterrupted succession down the line of fascinating women. Here’s a brief overview of the chateau’s history and why we love it so much.

Meet the Castle: Château de Cheverny

Did you know that Château de Cheverny was the inspiration for the fictional Marlinspike Hall  (Château de Moulinsart in French) in the Adventures of Tintin books? Chateau de Cheverny is the second castle of the Loire Valley we visit during our weekend trip. Here are a few reasons why we love this castle. Practically untouched Accounts vary about the chateau’s construction which dates anywhere between the 15th and 16th century. The original owner of the estate, Henry Le Mareschau, sold the estate to Jean Hurault, whose grandson, Jacques Hurault became the first Marquis de Vibraye. Cheverny thus became the official seat of the Marquis de Vibraye. The property has remained in the same family for over six centuries; this is probably why the chateau has practically maintained its classica...

5 Interesting Facts about Champagne

Any occasion can instantly become a party when a bottle of delicious champagne wine opens! This sparkling wine bears the name of the region where it’s grown: Champagne, located in Northern France. Its geography and climate made it the perfect place to cultivate the grapes from which the wine is produced. Growers and wine producers have perfected its production method for centuries, making the final product achieve the level of prestige everyone come to associate with the word Champagne! Our Champagne day trip is one of our popular destinations here at Expat Club. Here are five interesting facts about this region that will make you want to hop on the next tour! 1. Champagne wine exists thanks to Italians Wine-making was introduced in the Champagne region by Romans. These invaders made...

4 Interesting facts about Mont Saint-Michel

This UNESCO World Heritage location has captured the imagination for centuries, thanks to its architecture and place on an islet with one of the highest tides in Europe. Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most famous landmarks in France, visited by over 3 million visitors each year. The impressive views of Mont Saint-Michel have inspired popular culture, from books and classical music to Hollywood movies and video games. Here are 4 interesting facts about Mont Saint-Michel. 1. A celestial vision The building plans for Mont Saint-Michel were put in motion in the year 708 with a dream. Legend says the Archangel Michael came to Bishop Aubert of Avranches on three separate occasions, instructing him to build a church on the rocky island. Actual completion of the monastery would only happen severa...

Hautvillers: Picture-perfect in Champagne

The village of Hautvillers is one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns we visit during our Champagne Day Trip and one with great significance: it’s the place where the French Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon is said to have invented champagne wine. Well, that’s not exactly what happened. So why do we like Hautvillers so much? Here are some of the places we love and why you should, too!

8 tips to find a house in Brussels

Number one worry for most inbound expats, even before packing their suitcases, concerns finding a proper house or apartment in Brussels. Where to live? What are the rental prices and conditions? How does it work with utilities? And more basic, where should I start with my search for a new home? Everyone struggles with these and several other related questions, but luckily there are many resources online to make the move into your new home town much easier. What often misses though, are the practical lessons of other expats when they first arrived, and which they had to learn the hard way. In this article you will find EIGHT important lessons to bear in mind when you start your house search. And if you have already settled down, maybe you want to share this article with people who are curre...