Stretching out more than 1.1km, Rue Haute is the longest street within Brussels’ inner ring. It’s also one of the city’s oldest – its history dates back to the Roman era. Rue Haute is in the heart of the Marolles, a district whose name is believed to have derived from the 17th-century nuns who settled in the area to be close to the city’s poor. As they were famous for being Mariam colentes (those who honour the Virgin Mary), the nuns became known as ‘Maricolles’, which was later contracted to ‘Marolles’. Despite being a poor neighbourhood, it has always been a very lively one; at one point full of bars, dance halls and cinemas. Today, most of the cinemas and old bars are gone, but in their place are numerous antique, vintage and second-hand shops, as well as a bunch of new restaurants and bars. Another vestige of the past is the Bains de Bruxelles (28 Rue du Chevreuil), probably the most impressive public swimming pool in Belgium. Built in 1949, this modernist building allows swimmers views of the city.

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