If you go
THE BEST WAY TO BRUSSELS
From LAX, United offers direct service (stop, no change of plane) to Brussels, and United, Lufthansa, British, US Airways, American and Delta offer connecting flights (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $456, excluding taxes and fees.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 32 (country code for Belgium), and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Metropole, 31 Place de Broukère, 2-217-2300, http://www.metropolehotel.com. A Belle Époque landmark that figures in the Tintin adventure "The Seven Crystal Balls." Doubles start about $137.
Hotel Orts, 38-40 Rue Auguste Orts, 2-450-2200, http://www.hotel-orts. This is cool little three-star in central Brussels has a friendly cafe-bar on the first floor. Doubles from $196.
Hotel Amigo, Rue de l'Amigo, 2-547-4747, http://www.hotelamigo.com. This is the big splurge. It's a stylish Rocco Forte property near the Grande-Place with Hergé prints in guest rooms; doubles from $860.
WHERE TO EAT
Comics Village, 8 Grand Sablon, 2- 513- 1323, http://www.comicscafe. A new brasserie, gallery and shop dedicated to comic strips. Hamburgers from $16.
Horta Brasserie-Restaurant, 20 Rue des Sables, 2-217-7271. An Art Nouveau cafe on the ground floor of the Belgian Comic Book Center. Daily special $13 (includes main plus starter or dessert). Main dishes from $17.
La Fleur en Papier Doré, 55 Rue des Alexiens, 2-511-1659, http://www.lafleurenpapierdore.be, is a cafe-bar in central Brussels popular with artists and designers. Main dishes from $15.
Le Petit Vingtième, 27 Rue du Labrador, Louvain-la-Neuve, 10-488-426. A charming, colorful cafe in the Hergé Museum. Main dishes $18-$22.
TO LEARN MORE
The Tourist Office for Flanders-Brussels, http://www.visitflanders.us, can help with trip planning, and the Brussels municipal tourist office, http://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm/6806, in the medieval Town Hall on the Grande-Place has plentiful information about Hergé's Brussels.