Practical Information

Once Upon a Time in Brussels

Our team

Once Upon a Time in Brussels was founded in 2012 by Virginie Muller. She runs the business and is your guide in Brussels. Our activities are developing little by little but we are not yet busy enough to need a real team. We are happy to have help available to call upon for back-up if we need it. You can find out about our partners here.

Contact us

Our telephone number : 0032 (0)2 850 60 90.

However, because we are often out on a tour, contact us if possible please by email: info@onceinbrussels.be our via the contact form

Our address

Rue des Tanneurs, 62 - 1000 Brussels.

We are right at the end of the courtyard! It is here that our electric-bike rides begin and end.

Our reception room

You will be welcome in our warm, indoor area where restroom is available and where you can buy water and leave your things (anything from shopping bags to suitcases) in total safety during your ride.

Our guided electric-bicycle tours

We are specialists in high-quality guided tours on electrically assisted bikes! We propose various routes, off the beaten track, created by a historian and tailored to the seasons. We also have some surprise tours available for you from time to time. To find out about our programme and options, click here!

Our customised activities and programmes

Our guided electric bike tours can be adapted as you wish. To find out about our programme and options, click here! However, again it's easiest just to contact us.

If cycling isn't your thing, we also offer tours where you can discover Brussels on foot.

In collaboration with Pages d'Histoire and Kalliope, we also organise gatherings between colleagues, families and friends. From treasure hunts to conferences, we can put together for you a complete programme of events over a number of days. To find out more, click here!

Languages

We offer our activities in French or in English. The language of the day's tour is determined according to the first client to make a reservation (French or English).

For groups asking plenty of time in advance, we can arrange activities in other languages. Contact us to find out more.

Opening hours

Apart from a few weeks when we are on holiday, mentioned on the home page of the site, we are open all year, apart from on Wednesdays.

Our terms and conditions of sale

For more information, consult our terms and conditions of sale.

Booking and payment

Do I need to book?

We only organize guided tours on request. If you want to take part in a ride it is essential to book, even if it's at the last moment.

How many people can I reserve a guided tour for?

We accept reservations from one person upwards. Groups of 12 maximum are made up according to demand.

So that the visit is not crowded we only accept reservations for a maximum of 12 people in each group. For more than that there are other packages. Contact us to find out more.

How do I book a guided tour?

We prefer reservations to be made in advance, anything from several days to several months, by filling in the reservation form on our site, by email (info@onceinbrussels.be) or by telephone (0032 (0)2 850 60 90). An order form will be emailed to you to confirm your reservation. The reservation will only be considered definitive when we have received payment or proof of payment. If you book at the last minute you should pay your guide in cash on the day of the visit before it begins. Once the reservation has been made payment is due, even if the clients do not take part in the visit on the day.

When should I book a guided tour?

As soon as possible. Being the first to book a tour means you can chose the time of your visit (in the morning or the afternoon) and the language (English or French). However, we also accept last minute reservations. Please remember that we are often out on a tour and that it is more efficient to send us an email (info@onceinbrussels.be) than to try to telephone us.

How to book?

1. Ask for a booking on our site, by email (info@onceinbrussels.be) or by phone (0032 (0)2 850 60 90).

2. We will confirm if the date is available and request some information so we can email you an order form.

3. You can confirm the reservation by paying the sum indicated on the order form or by replying to our email (if the deadline is too close).

4. We will send you an receipted invoice. The reservation is confirmed.

Payment

We require payment in full at the time of reservation. If the reservation is made several months in advance we may agree to take a payment on account.

Payment of the visit must be made by bank transfer (any bank charges to be paid by you).

Our bank details: BIC: GKCCBEBB and IBAN: BE28 0688 9506 6820.

Bank: Belfius, rue Henri Conscience 182, 1140 Brussels.

If you prefer we can arrange for payment through Paypal (again, you must pay any charges).

Gift voucher

Are you looking for an original gift for Christmas, a birthday or a special event? We issue gift vouchers, valid for one or several persons, during a year. After the validation of the payment, we can send us your voucher by email, you will not should more than print it!, or by post. To order your gift voucher, you should contact us.

Guided tours on electric bikes - How it works?

Timetable of guided tours

Apart from a few weeks holidays, as detailed on the home page of this site, we are open all year round.

Our public tours take place in the morning from 9am to 1pm or in the afternoon from 1.30pm to 5.30pm. The time of the day's tour depends on the first client to book.

Private visits are organised around your own timetable.

Conditions for participants

- Participants must be able to ride a bicycle.

- They must be at least 1.55 meters tall (5'1").

- They do not need to be over 18.

- They don't need to have a driving license.

- Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Children

Children are welcome to participate in our tours. However, please note that, during our strolls, we run by bicycle in town in the traffic. Furthermore, an electric bike is heavy and less easy to handle that a classic bike.

Children aged between 1 and 6 (23kg or about 4 stone maximum) can travel behind you in a child seat on your bike (provided free of charge).

If they are over 1.55 metres (5'1") tall, children can ride one of our bikes (if accompanied by an adult who is also on the tour).

From the age of 6 to adolescence, we don't have an option to allow your children to accompany you. We don't feel that the activity is ideally suited to them and with a group of adults it is difficult for us to meet the needs of the youngsters at the same time. Do send in your requests to make us change our mind!

Where do you find us for your guided tour?

Meet at the Atelier des Tanneurs, 62 - 1000 rue des Tanneurs, Brussels. We'll be waiting for you at the bottom of the courtyard. If the gate to the courtyard is closed, don't worry, we'll come to open it for you! You don't need to arrive before the meeting time.

The sequence of events

The guided electric bike tour will proceed as follows:

- We welcome all the participants and take any last minute payments.

- Your guide will explain how your electric bike works and give you some safety instructions.

- Everyone will be given an electric bike along with a fluorescent jacket, a cycle helmet and a rain cape if necessary.

- We suggest that you test your saddle height in the courtyard and respond to any questions that you might have.

- After this preparation period, which lasts 20 to 30 minutes, we start the tour.

- During the trip, your guide will stop regularly to give you information and to show you interesting places. You will quite often have the opportunity to take advantage of public benches. You'll also have time to ask questions and take photos.

- After 3 ½ to 4 hours of riding, we come back to the rue des Tanneurs. Your guide will be available to give you extra information or, if you like, to advise you on where to find a nice little restaurant.

Equipment provided by the organiser

For each person, we have the following available:

- An electric bicycle equipped with a basket.

- A fluorescent jacket.

- A cycle helmet.

- A waterproof cape in case of wet weather.

Why does it take 4 hours?

We offer a four hour tour to make the most of the electric bike and the ease with which it allows you to get about. You'll see in the comments about the organisation of the tour that it takes a while to organise everyone with their bike. We feel it's a shame to take the bikes out for a shorter tour that could be easily be done on foot. Our speciality is to enable you to discover various different areas of Brussels and it would be difficult to do this in a shorter time. A 4 hour ride allows us to make a circular tour and to visit differing areas, so as to make the most of the city.

Can I choose my route?

Our routes are planned according to the seasons. It is therefore not possible to choose one's route. This depends on the time of year when you visit. During a private tour, we can tailor the route according to your wishes. Some examples of the options available can be found on the pages describing the routes.

Your personalised guided tour

Our guided tours on electric bikes can be tailored to your personal tastes. To learn more about our program and the options available, click here! But again, the easiest way is to contact us.

If cycling isn't your thing, we also offer walking tours, where you can discover Brussels on foot.

In collaboration with Pages d'Histoire and Kalliope we also offer gatherings for colleagues, families or with friends. From scavenger hunts to conferences, we can also put together a complete program lasting several days. To find out more, click here!

Smaller groups for your convenience

We accept a maximum of 12 people per tour. The number of participants depends on the bookings. We take bookings from 1 person upwards. For private tours we are able to take on larger groups.

Safety during our guided tours

We are committed to conducting our activities as safely possible. We plan our tour carefully so that your ride will be enjoyable. The routes are carefully thought-out and include as many cycle lines and quiet roads as possible. Our guided tours on electric bikes are not dangerous on condition that you follow the instructions of your guide, respect the highway code and pay attention to traffic. Even though wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement whilst riding a bike in Belgium, we insist that our clients wear a helmet and a fluorescent jacket, both of which we provide.

Insurance

We are fully insured to manage and accompany groups during the activities that we offer. Nevertheless, we cannot be held responsible if a client breaks the applicable laws or in cases of carelessness whilst cycling, negligence, failure to follow instructions or inappropriate behaviour.

Bad weather

We do not cancel our guided tours if it is raining or if rain is forecast. We provide you with capes to protect you as fully as possible from the rain. From experience we can confirm that it's really quite rare that it rains incessantly for a whole morning or afternoon.

We might possibly cancel a tour if we judge that weather conditions are too dangerous (storms, snow, black ice, etc.). Should this arise, we will offer you a guided walking tour, a different date for a guided bike tour or a refund.

Can I participate in the tour on my own bike?

No. Our offers include both the guided tour and the hire of an electric bike.

Riding an electric bicycle

What is an electric bike?

An electric bike is a standard bike equipped with a motor and a rechargeable battery. The pedalling action triggers the motor: the battery then sends energy to the motor, which in turn increases the power of the person pedalling. Therefore this extra assistance does not change the way in which the bike works. Nonetheless, it is far from a sporting activity: riding an electric bike requires very little effort.

Your first time on an electric bike

If you know how to ride a bike, you know how to ride an electric bike too! It isn't complicated. Before the tour begins, your guide will take the time to explain how to make the best use of your electric bike. You will also have the opportunity to try out the bike first, away from the traffic, so that you will feel comfortable before you set off on the tour.

Riding a bike in Brussels

It isn't dangerous to ride an electric bike in Brussels as long as you respect a few basic rules and remain vigilant, just as you would in any other town or city. The routes are planned in order to maximise the use of cycle paths and quiet roads. Your guide will remind you about some safety guidelines before starting the tour. The cyclist will be held responsible for respecting the highway code and respecting some basic safety rules:

- In Brussels, some one-way streets can be ridden in the other direction by cyclists. Read the signs and remain vigilant; don't take priority unless you are sure that a car driver has seen you.

- In the city, cyclists are not allowed to ride side-by-side or to disrupt the flow of traffic, so stay in single file.

- Don't overtake on the right, especially large vehicles (buses, coaches, lorries and vans)

- Whilst keeping to the right, keep a safe distance between yourself and any parked vehicles.

- Clearly indicate your intentions to turn to other road users by lifting your arm to the left or the right, especially at roundabouts.

- Don't hesitate and don't make any manoeuvres without warning other road users or without looking in all directions. Check, signal, manoeuvre.

- Don't weave in and out between cars.

- Wear suitable shoes that fit firmly and won't slip on the pedals.

- In Brussels, pay attention to the tram lines and cross them at as close to right-angles as possible. Don't forget that trams ALWAYS have priority, no matter which direction they come from, even over pedestrians and cyclists.

What should you wear?

Plan to wear something in which you feel comfortable riding a bike. Sportswear really isn't essential. Wear suitable shoes that fit firmly and won't slip on the pedals. Even in high season, bring a jumper; it can feel cold on a bike when you're not really pedalling hard. In winter, dress-up warm, as if you were going for a long walk in the woods. Don't forget a hat and a pair of gloves.

Fitness

Our bikes help at all times, enabling you to ride around the city without worrying about whether you are fit, whatever hills you might come across. You don't, therefore, have to be in perfect physical condition. If you can walk at a moderate pace whilst out for a walk, you will be able to keep up with our tour.

Safety on an electric bike

It isn't dangerous to ride an electric bike in Brussels as long as you respect a few basic rules and remain vigilant, just as you would in any other town or city. Your guide will remind you about some safety guidelines before starting the tour. The routes are carefully planned to take as many cycle routes and quiet roads as possible. We have fluorescent jackets and helmets available for your use in order to enhance your personal safety.

Changes and cancellations

To modify your reservation

Contact Once Upon a Time in Brussels as soon as possible. Once payment has been made and wherever possible we will make an effort to make the changes that you request. Once Upon a Time in Brussels is not, however, able to make more than one change without charging an administration fee of €25 per modification. Changes to the reservation date will be made according to availability. No modifications, except in exceptional circumstances where appropriate justification can be provided (death of a loved one, birth of one's child, hospitalisation, flight delays, long-distance transport strikes) are permitted within seven days of the date booked.

Lateness

In the morning the meeting time is 9am and in the afternoon it is 1.30pm. In the event of a late arrival, we request that you let us know by phone or text, using the mobile number given in the email confirming the reservation. In case of arrival more than 15 minutes after the set arrival time, the guide has the right to start the tour with the other clients and thus cancel the latecomers reservations without any entitlement to reimbursement.

Cancellation of your reservation

If you need to cancel a tour that you have reserved, we request that you write to us, by post or by email, stating the reference number of your booking confirmation.

Cancellation of any services ordered by the client:

- 30 days before the date of the reservation, Once Upon a Time in Brussels will retain a 25€ administration fee.

- From the 7th to the 29th day before the date of the reservation, Once Upon a Time in Brussels will retain 50% of the total price, with a minimum fee of 25€.

- Less that 7 days before the date of the reservation, Once Upon a Time in Brussels will retain 100% of the total price.

- In the case of exceptional circumstances where appropriate justification can be provided (death of a loved one, birth of one's child, hospitalisation, flight delays, long-distance transport strikes), Once Upon a Time in Brussels will retain only a 25€ administration fee, no matter what the cancellation date.