The Sablon is one of the most prestigious and attractive
areas in Brussels. In recent years it has become the center
of the antiques shops and art galleries.
The name of this area refers to the time when it was still
situated outside of the city walls of the 12th century.
It was originally a sandy road along which people had access
to the city gates. Because of frequent use this road had
become hollow and on both sides a yellowish earth layer
could be seen. This type of sandy clay was called "zavel"
in Dutch and "sablon" in French.
In the 14th century a small chapel in the sablon area was
transformed into an important pilgrimage site where a miraculous
statue of Our Lady was venerated. Very soon the area became
more populated and was enclosed within the 14th century
city walls. Around 1450 the little chapel had been transformed
into a beautiful gothic church, the Sablon church or church
of Our Lady of the Victories.
In the following centuries more and more noble men settled
in the area because it was close to the duke's palace.