What to see in Mons, in the city of Beffroi

    What to see in Mons, in the city of BeffroiVisit itinerary of Mons and its surroundings, in southwestern Belgium. From the city center to the mining town of Hornu.

    The city of Mons in Belgium, which is about 65 kilometers from Brussels, is located on a hill in the large coal basin called "Pays Noir". For centuries it was the capital of the county of Hainaut until 1436 when it was annexed to the Duchy of Burgundy. A border city, just 15 minutes by car from the border with France, the scene of battles, sieges and bombings throughout its long history. Despite this, Mons retains most of the monuments and buildings of the historic center, a precious legacy of the past.

    We suggest you start the itinerary to discover Mons from Grand Place. Here you will find elegant cafĂ©s among prestigious period buildings among which the magnificent Hotel de Ville, the city's Town Hall, stands out. Built in the mid-15th century, built in Gothic style, it is the work of the architect Mathieu de Layens. Pay attention on the left side of the entrance portal to the figure of a little iron monkey, the Singe du Grand Gard: she must be patted on the head while making a wish.

    Then move towards the block to the north-west of the square, where there is an original building which hosts exhibitions of contemporary art of the late twentieth century. The Bam (Beaux-Arts Mons) is in fact located in a very bright new building, a glass cube on three levels with 2000 square meters of exhibition space. Right opposite is the Jardin du Mayeur and nearby the MusĂ©e du Doudou, which collects a lot of material regarding the historic city event.

    Many alleys radiate from the square where you can walk observing buildings, gardens, palaces and private residences, some built in stone and others in brick. Among the many, we would like to point out the beautiful one House Losseau, Art Nouveau jewel from the early 20th century. Go up the hill, where the fortress of Mons once stood, of which unfortunately nothing remains, to admire the civic tower, symbol of the city.

    80 meters high and embellished on the top with small black and gold domes, the civic tower - for all Belfry – it has become part of the UNESCO world heritage site in the circuit of the civic towers of Belgium and France; This structure is also linked to the recognition of the intangible heritage of humanity for the skilful work of the master bell ringers. Around the bell tower there is a park where you can relax for a few moments before continuing your walk.

    Once you have finished visiting the site on the hill, we advise you to go down the western slope to reach a beautiful fifteenth-century church, built at the behest of 30 women from the European aristocracy: the Collegiate Sainte-Waudru. The church houses a golden chariot, the Car d'Or, decorated with cherubs and used to transport the reliquary of the patron saint of Mons, Santa Valdetrude during the procession of the Doudou festival.

    This popular festival of medieval origin is the main event of the city and lasts an entire week. It begins on the first Sunday after Pentecost and includes a full program of events. The two key events are the procession and the Luminosity, a show where a battle is staged between Saint George and a dragon, which symbolizes the eternal struggle between good and evil. This tradition features a wicker puppet in the shape of a dragon almost 10 meters long, as the crowd passes by and tries to pluck a hair from its tail as a good luck charm.

    In the surroundings of Mons, a destination not to be missed cuesmes where Van Gogh's house is located, where the artist lived between 1879 and 1880. About 8 kilometers from Mons you will find the citadel of Hornu, a mining complex built and designed as a "work town" in the first half of the nineteenth century: the site included workshops, residential buildings, schools, library and hospital. Once restored according to safety standards, it was used as a museum; hosts the MAC-Musee des Arts Contemporaines.

    Reaching Mons in Belgium is quite simple; the best way is to land at Brussels South airport from which various means of transport depart with which you can reach your destination, taking advantage of the train. It will take you approximately forty minutes. Mons station is located 700 meters west of the Grand Place.

    You cannot arrive in Mons without an umbrella, as one constant of its climate is its absolute unpredictability: there can be summer days of good weather with temperatures reaching 30°C, only to then deteriorate with rain and thunderstorms. In winter it almost never snows in Mons, but rainfall is less intense but more frequent.

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