BlogIcon Arrow
Living as an expat in Brussels: Clara’s experience, a Frenchie in the EU Capital

Living as an expat in Brussels: Clara’s experience, a Frenchie in the EU Capital

This article has been fully written by Clara, an expat just like you. 

Belgium is full of surprises, and this is what I am planning on telling you today. This article will allow you to arrive in Brussels serenely, so that you already have some knowledge about the little Belgian habits. We advise you to follow us on Instagram and to read the previous articles in order to know Brussels like your pocket, no matter when you arrive.

Clara's note: Let me introduce myself, my name is Clara, I am French and I've been living in Brussels since January 2022. I am here to tell you everything I would have liked to have been told before I moved here. In addition to the general explanations, I will leave you my subjective opinions about a couple Belgian topics.

The little gourmet pleasures

You have surely heard about the following: waffles, French fries, and chocolate. 

Here are the best places to taste them: Maison Dandoy (waffles, speculoos (aka homemade Biscoff), chocolates), la Belgique Gourmande (chocolate, waffles, candies), Neuhaus & Léonidas (chocolate and pralines). You will easily come across small vans offering Liège waffles for 2 euros, hot and ready to be eaten! 

For the fries, it is quite similar. Many “friteries” are known in Brussels like Friteland, Maison Antoine (place Jourdan), or Frit Flagey. To top this up, we recommend Tartar sauce, Pita sauce or homemade Mayonnaise! Belgian sauces are a real institution and definitely worth a try. If you want to get spicy, go for the Samouraï one.

Want to eat Belgian food? We advise you the Flemish carbonade (beef with a beer sauce) not to be confused with the boeuf bourguignon (which is a French wine sauce!), the stoemp (crushed vegetables with various meats) and the famous mussels (especially at the first Léon of Brussels)! You will find a typical Brussels brasserie (with local dishes like ballekes, carbonade...), called the Schievelavabo.

Clara's note: I had to try a lot of friteries to be able to make an opinion. And I must admit that the fries and the cheese/shrimp croquettes from Maison Antoine got me (with tartar and pita sauce)!

After work, I was always tempted by a Liège waffle from a little van at the end of my street: a warm, melting, and appetizing waffle, which is the most comforting snack.

My favorite typical Belgian dish is the Flemish carbonade, with fries, and a beer, nothing more traditional! 

Pascalino truck

The expressions 

Even though the French and the people of Brussels are connected by the same language, some expressions differ from one language to another. Don’t be surprised if a Belgian says "please" instead of "you're welcome". A funny expression is also " We tell each other what!" instead of " We'll keep in touch!". I'm sure (or at least I hope) that you've already been the person in charge of a party, the one who doesn't drink and therefore drives. In France, there is Sam, the non-drinking driver, in Luxembourg there is Raoul and in Belgium... Bob! As an expatriate in Belgium, you will also notice the famous expression "know" instead of "can", which means exactly the same thing, for example: do you know how to give me the salt?

Clara's note: It is sometimes not easy to adapt to another life, in another city or in another country. Even if the language barrier was almost non-existent for me, some expressions confused me. The trickiest thing for me was the numbers (nonante and septante for ninety and seventy), and the difference between power and knowledge in terms of vocabulary. But I promise you, you get used to it quickly!

Things to know

It can be a little confusing to arrive in a new country or city. L Residence really wants to make expat life in Brussels a unique and smooth experience. That's why we're helping you with this little memo of things to know before you set down your bags for a short or long period of time.


One task you will have to achieve weekly is to throw away the garbage. You have probably already read our article on garbage in Brussels, which we advise you to keep. You can also go to to enter your address and find out exactly when and which garbage bags to take out. 

Parking in Brussels 

You will find our article on parking in Brussels. Most of the streets are paying but you can also park underground with a subscription. To find the different streets with green or blue zones, to know where to park, you can go on this website

 There is still a lot to know about Brussels and you will discover it soon! Follow our social networks and stay tuned to the different articles that may come out soon, it may help you to better understand your future life in Brussels!