Then there’s the fact that a Tintin movie, to be produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Steven Spielberg, is around the corner.

Surely Brussels is gearing up for an influx of Tintinophiles.

Well, not really.

As I take another wrong turn up a blind alley it becomes clear that, while there are some amazing treasures to discover, tracking down Tintin in Brussels takes the sort of detective skills the Belgian boy wonder is famous for.

For instance, finding the Comic Strip Museum at 20 Rue des Sables — essential, I am told, for fans of the go-getter in golf pants — is not as easy as people giving me directions make it sound.

Down here? No. Where? Two streets across? Back to square one.

Once there, though, it’s obvious why, for those who fancy the three-quarter pants off Tintin, the Comic Museum is Graceland.

Adorning the foyer of the striking art nouveau building is a 3.6m version of the iconic red and white rocket that carries the ginger journo into outer space in prescient two-parter Destination Moon and Explorers On The Moon.

There’s a stone bust of Tintin next to a mounted photo of creator Georges Remi (aka Herge) and figures of the comic adventurer and sidekicks Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus.

Particularly fascinating are some of Herge’s drawings that show how the artist painstakingly copied the world around him to ensure that his books were extraordinarily detailed.

This means that, dotted around Brussels, you can find locations that act as a backdrop in many of Tintin’s escapades.

If, of course, you know where to look.

An hour later I’m standing in a flea market in the Place du Jeu de Balles that may be the inspiration for a crucial moment in The Secret Of The Unicorn, when Tintin buys a model ship that has a treasure map hidden in the mast.

“Is this the Tintin market?,” I ask a burly man who sells antiques.

“Yes, but we don’t have any model ships,” he replies with a roll of the eyes.

Helpfully enough, though, he does point me in the direction of another Tintin location — 6 Avenue Delleur, Watermael-Boitsfort, otherwise known as Professor Tarragon’s home in The Seven Crystal Balls and Temple Of The Sun.

As happy as Captain Haddock with a whisky bottle, I check my watch and see there is time to squeeze in the mother of all Tintin murals.

Hidden at Stockel underground station in the east end of the city is a huge, 135m wall-painting featuring all 140 characters from the books.

There are also Tintin murals at Ribaucourt and Porte de Hal stations, but for sheer spectacle nothing beats this procession painted by Herge shortly before his death in 1983.

As I dash to Midi station to catch the Eurostar home there’s one last indication of how much Tintin means to the city.

An enormous black and white mural shows the intrepid reporter clinging onto the front of a steam train, a panel from Tintin In America.

It’s a reminder that, while finding him can sometimes be a pain in the arse, Brussels is most certainly the place Tintin calls home.

On the trail 

» Mural of Tintin

On the side of a building at Rue I’Etuve the boy wonder, Snowy and Captain Haddock are pictured charging down a fire escape.

» Herge’s house

Georges Remi’s family home is in the south-east of the city in the Etterbeek district.

Look out for the plaque at 33 Rue Philippe Baucq.

» Herge’s grave

You can visit the artist’s last resting place at the Dieweg cemetery in Avenue de Dieweg.

» Tintin shop

If you want an overpriced figurine, visit La Boutique Tintin at 13 Rue de la Colline.