The river Meuse winds from the South to the North through the city of Liège in Wallonia, the southern region of Belgium. Known as "the Ardent City", Liège is extremely popular with visitors, for its historic past and its dynamic modern cultural life. For eight centuries, up until the French Revolution, Liège was a small independent state attached to the Holy Roman Empire. Come and soak up the fascinating history of this place, and of course soak up some of that great party atmosphere at one of Liège's numerous guindailles, or student parties.
On the Place St Lambert in the commercial centre the city you'll find the 16th century Palace of the Prince-Bishops in all its glory. The successive building and restoration projects have made this palace one of the most beautiful in Europe.
For a little history of Liège, no museum is as informative as the Grand Curtius Museum. This striking red and white Mosan Renaissance building houses several fascinating museum collections, including decorative arts, weaponry and local Mosan art. If modern art is more your thing, head for the MAMAC: Liège Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art which has one of the best collections in Europe.
Once you have had your fill of art, take the time to wander round the centre of Liège, the Carré quarter is the soul of the city. Here you'll find dozens of lively cafes, bars and restaurants. Discover the traditional cuisine at one of the many excellent restaurants in Liège. Try meatballs with rabbit sauce, Liège-style salade, fricassée, veal kidneys, waffles… You'll also find the famous pèkèt, a spirit flavoured with juniper which is used in Liegois cuisine as well as being enjoyed as a tipple. After your meal, the delicious smoothness of the coffee will send you floating up to the clouds.
When you've returned to Earth, get down to the serious business of partying in Liège, famous for its festivals and nightlife. The Place du Marché or market square is full of lounge bars with lively terraces.
The Festival of 15th August in Outre-Meuse is the highlight of the year in Liège. The streets are lit up and the crowds gather to watch puppet shows, folk dances, a procession of the Black Madonna, an open air Mass, a giant parade, concerts and partying until the small hours. In September the Wallonia Festival is also a fun event for all. For a rather more refined affair, a performance at the Royal Opera of Wallonia is a magical treat for the senses.
Liège offers an authentic cocktail of culture, sophistication and good humour.
De gare à gare