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.
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.
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
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