Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Brussels, Belgium

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert


The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries (French: Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Dutch: Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen) are an ensemble of glazed shopping arcades in central Brussels, Belgium. Designed and built by architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer between 1846 and 1847, they precede other famous 19th-century European shopping arcades such as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (Italy) and The Passage in St Petersburg (Russia). Like them, they have twin regular facades with distant origins in Vasari's long narrow street-like courtyard of the Uffizi in Florence, with glazed arched shopfronts separated by pilasters and two upper floors, all in an Italianate Cinquecento style, under an arched glass-paned roof with a delicate cast-iron framework.

The galleries were designed by the young architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer, who determined to sweep away a warren of ill-lit alleyways between Rue du Marché aux Herbes/Grasmarkt and Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères/Warmoesberg and replace a sordid space where the bourgeoisie scarcely ventured into with a covered shopping arcade more than 200 m (660 ft) in length. His idea, conceived in 1836, was finally authorised in February 1845. The partnership Société des Galeries Saint-Hubert, in which the banker Jean-André Demot took an interest, was established by the summer, but nine years were required to disentangle all the property rights, assembled by rights of eminent domain, during a process that caused one property owner to die of a stroke and a barber, it was said, slit his throat as the adjacent house came down.

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