Visiting the Horta Museum takes you straight back to the golden age of Art Nouveau. Victor Horta (1861–1947), the son of a shoemaker, studied architecture in Paris and then returned to Brussels. From 1892 he was the most important architect of Art Nouveau buildings in the capital. The Horta Museum, which was both his private house and studio, was built between 1898 and 1901 and extended and changed over the following decade. Horta separated the house in 1919 and sold both parts, moving to avenue Louise.  From the outside, the rich swirling wrought-iron balconies of the house and the rather more functional-looking facade and huge glass window on the top floor only hint at the purity of the interior, which is a revelation. The museum has been pretty well left as it was during Horta's day, a small Art Nouveau masterpiece in which, in true Horta fashion, every detail was planned to fit into the overall design. Its magnificent staircase goes up the five floors and ends in a stained-glass skylight, which adds its own warm and rich colors to the interior. There are mosaics, enameled bricks, stained glass, and metal arches throughout, and the original furniture and details are what help make it all fit together in glorious harmony. It gives you a very real feel of the era, something that the Fin-de-Siècle Museum (which you'll still want to visit if you're an Art Nouveau fan) fails to achieve.