As the capital of the French-speaking part of Belgium – Wallonia – Namur remains an off-the-beaten-track destination for visitors to Belgium. While people normally would crave romantic cities like Bruges and Ghent, Namur remains an interesting destination with many unique attractions. Its special geographical location around the Meuse and Sambre Rivers, and the remaining 17th and 18th century architecture makes Namur a great place to visit. Here’s why:
The panoramic view from the Citadel is incredible
Known as one of the most famous attractions in Namur, the Citadel used to be a fortress standing in the middle of the Sambre and Meuse River. It was built during the early 19th century and was not destroyed during war times. Hiking to the top of the Citadel, you will be able to see the spectacular panoramic view of the city and river banks below.
Don’t forget to greet the turtle master - a giant sculpture of a turtle standing on the Citadel. This work of art, ‘Searching for Utopia’, was designed by the Belgian artist Jan Fabre. This was a part of the exhibition ‘Facing Time - Rops/Fabre’.
There’s an artistic theatre – The Royal Theatre of Namur
Rebuilt in 1863, the Royal Theatre of Namur is a beautiful piece of art standing in the middle of the city centre. With its gorgeous Italian architecture style, the theatre has a magnificent facade and three levels. There’s a nice hall in blue, grey, and gold with a glittering central light. One of the most important pieces of artwork inside the theatre is the painting on its ceiling, designed by the French artist, Garouste. You can find this painting on the second floor, where there’s sometime a bar open for the audience to have a drink.
You can enjoy the Belgian Christmas Market experience too
All across Europe, people organise Christmas markets. In Namur, the Le Repère des Rennes is a large chalet with a warm atmosphere, concerts, live DJs, and karaoke. Enjoy walking around the two main market areas around the theatre and the City Hall. Have a cup of hot chocolate, glühwein, or some festive shots. You can join the skaters on the ice-skating rink on Place de l’Ange too. As the atmosphere in Namur’s Christmas market tends to calm after midnight, the locals head to a cozy bar or a night club.
Enjoy the culture
If you are lucky, when visiting Namur, you will get the chance to see the unique ‘stilt walkers of Namur’. They are known as one of the oldest stilt walker groups in the world. Several stilt fights take place during the year in Namur, especially in September and December. One of the fights is between ‘Avresses’ - walkers from the New City with the red and white coloured stilts and the ‘Melans - walkers from the Old City with yellow and black stilts. During these fight, the walkers aim to get their competitors down to the ground with their stilts. The losing team has no walker standing on his stilt.
A nice Town Hall, palaces, and churches too!
Though Namur is a small city that is easy to discover on foot, there are also many other places to visit such as the Town Hall, the Former Episcopal Palace, and the St. Lupus Church.
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