Bruges lies 62 miles northwest of Brussels. By the end of the 13th century, it had become extravagantly rich thanks to the wool trade. Today it remains an unspoiled medieval city of gabled brick houses, magnificent churches and café-lined squares. It is ideal for strolling or cycling; tour boats also cruise the city’s network of picturesque canals. The two local obsessions are handmade lace and luxury chocolates. One of the triumphs of the local cuisine is french fries — thick and twice-fried to crisp perfection. Unlike at home, the accompaniment is mayonnaise, not ketchup. Although I would not recommend any of the tourist-trade restaurants abutting the city’s central Markt, you will find excellent frites at one of the frites vans (frietkot) on the Markt’s perimeter. There are also numerous superb art galleries include the Groeningemuseum, notable for Flemish primitive paintings.