A Pretty Church with a Royal Connection in Brussels
While Brussels Sablon Square is most famous for shopping (especially if you are in the market for Belgian chocolate) it’s well worth visiting the pretty church at the top of the triangle. The Église Notre Dame du Sablon (Church of Our Lady of Sablon) is a late Gothic church with a royal connection. The church is the starting point for the annual Ommegang procession, commemorating the arrival of Charles V in Brussels.
Notre Dame de Sablon was built for the Grand Serment Royal et de Saint-Georges des Arbalétriers de Bruxelles, the crossbow guild of Brussels. Inside the church you can see hints of this connection in the stained glass windows, featuring crossbowmen.
The crossbow guild’s other connection to Notre Dame de Sablon is seen during their shooting competitions. The most difficult event consists of shooting 36 meters straight up into the air, to hit a tiny metal bird target. The distance is taken from the ground to the top of the steeple of the church, where the target used to be placed.