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Last updated : Nov 2009
Wallonia
Wallonia - TravelPuppy.com
Liège

Liège opens up the other half of Belgian culture as it is a major city of Wallonia, the French-speaking portion of Belgium. A popular tourist destination, situated on the banks of the Meuse, with many reminders of a colourful and affluent past, Liège was independent for much of its history, ruled over by prince-bishops for 800 years.

The view from the Citadel covers the old town, the most impressive part of the city. Liège boasts fine museums with the highlights being The Museum of Wallonian Life, showcasing the unique culture of Wallonia, the Museum of Wallonian Art the Museum of Modern Art, displaying the works of Corot, Monet, Picasso, Gauguin and Chagall, to name but a few, and the Curtius Museum, housing a large collection of coins, Liège furniture and porcelain.

Liège’s most notable buildings are the Church of St James, an old abbey church of mixed architecture, including an example of the Meuse Romanesque style, with fine Renaissance stained glass and the 18th-century Town Hall.

Tournai

The second-oldest city in Belgium dates back to the days of the Romans. World War II damaged much of the old town, but the Cathedral of Our Lady (12th century), boasts an impressive Belfry, which is the oldest in the country. The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest in Belgium, with works by Rubens and Bruegel, while the Natural History Museum is also worth a visit. Minibel, 28km (17 miles) outside the city at the Château of Beloeil, offers a display of scaled-down reproductions of many of Belgium’s most interesting treasures and curiosities.

The Ardennes

This mountainous area is famous for its cuisine, lakes, forests, streams and grottoes. The River Meuse makes its way through many important tourist centres.

The town of Dinant, in the Meuse valley, boasts a medieval castle, while its most famous landmark is the Gothic church of Notre-Dame. Annevoie has a castle and some beautiful water gardens, while Yvoir Godinne and Profondeville are well known for watersports.

The old university town of Namur, with cobbled streets in its centre, has a cathedral, castle and museums. Houyet offers kayaking and other assorted outdoor activities. The River Semois passes through Arlon and Florenville, nearby are the ruins of Orval Abbey, Bouillon and its castle, Botassart, Rochehaut and Bohan.

The Amblève Valley is one of the wildest in the Ardennes and the grottoes in the Fond de Quarreux are one of the great attractions of the region. Among these is the Merveilleuse grotto at Dinant and the cavern at Remouchamps. There are prehistoric caverns at Spy, Rochefort, Hotton and Han-sur-Lesse.