So this is it, I’m finally reading Villette by Charlotte Brontë. It’s happening because of the timely Villette Read-Along organized by Wallace over at Unputdownables.

I’ve been curious about this one for a while now, ever since moving to Brussels actually, because this city inspired the fictional one which gave the name to the novel . Emily and Charlotte lived here for a while and that’s why there’s a Brussels Bronte Group, of which I’m a proud member. It seems that several of the references to places in Villette are clearly connected to real places in Brussels, so I’m really looking forward to this!

The Pensionnat Héger in Quartier Isabelle, where the sisters lived, has long been destroyed, but the Group placed a plaque in the only piece of original street still visible above ground (there’s another part in the catacombs of a local museum). This was done without asking the Brussels municipality, so shhhh, it’s just between you and me, ok?

Whenever friends come to visit I always pass by while giving my usually city tour, but usually my enthusiasm is way above theirs… “Brontë who?! Whatevs!”

A piece of rue d’Isabelle in the Belvue Museum:

A small piece of Quartier Isabelle still remains. See the plaque between the doors? Tinny blue spec?

The plaque. You can read here all about the Secret Mission to put it there! Notice the reference to Villette:

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