At 2:15 am from Paris with the Thalys, Liège did not steal its nickname "Cité ardente". Located in Wallonia, this city of 200 inhabitants, perfect for a city break, condenses in its center some architectural treasures and remarkable museums. The charm of its old quarters and its hillsides adds to the pleasure of discovering this great Belgian city. But Liège is also one of the warmest and most welcoming cities in Europe. A festive atmosphere to taste on a weekend evening in one of the bars of the "Carré".
A very lively historic center
A little geography, first of all: crossed by the Meuse, located between the plains of Brabant and the mountains of the Ardennes, Liège is the economic capital of Wallonia. Maastricht (Netherlands) or Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany) are nearby, which makes Liège a good base for exploring this particularly composite part of Europe.
In terms of history, Liège is also rather spoiled: you just have to walk through the old streets where 400 listed buildings are next to each other, to discover a past more than a thousand years old. Marked by its episcopal heritage, Liège is rich in churches : collegiate church of Saint-Barthélemy (11th-12th centuries Paul (13th-15th centuries Cross (12th-19th centuries), St. Martin's Basilica (15th-16th century), Saint-Jacques church (16th century John the Evangelist (18th century)…
The oldest represent all that remains of the medieval period, as the troops of Burgundian Charles the Bold destroyed the town in 1468 due to its fierce spirit of independence. The center of Liège retains evidence of its reconstruction during the Renaissance, in particular the Palace of the Prince-Bishops (16th-19th centuries). One of the courtyards of this seat of institutions is open to the public.
The streets and passages give to see many narrow brick houses typical of Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as monuments from various periods: Liège Town Hall La Violette (18th century), Royal Opera of Wallonia (19th century thermal baths from the 20th century transformed into a cultural center)…
Among the liveliest districts of Liège is the Carré, a pedestrian area where you can enjoy a drink in one of its bars, especially in the evening. Do not miss the market place, the oldest in the city, adorned with two fountains ... Not far, at 24 rue Léopold, is the birthplace of Georges Simenon, novelist father of Commissioner Maigret.
Good to know: the streets and sidewalks in the center of Liège are cobbled. You therefore need to bring good shoes!
Liège has a rich historical heritage, but it does not fall asleep either. Fans of contemporary architecture will be amazed when they arrive by Thalys at the Guillemins station. Entirely redesigned by Santiago Calatrava, it is surmounted by an imposing glass and steel vault which has a sacred allure. Note that in this station there is a large space dedicated to temporary exhibitions (“From Salvador to Dalí”, until August 31, 2016).
Opposite rises the Paradise Tower (118 m; offices of the Federal Public Service Finance) of Jaspers & Eyers and Greisch, at the foot of which flows the Meuse, a river spanned by the elegant La Belle Liégeoise footbridge (Greisch).
It gives access to the park where the new museum is located La Boverie in a 1900 building refurbished and extended by Rudy Ricciotti and the firm p.HD, then at the Mediacity, a shopping, audiovisual and entertainment center designed by Ron Arad.
Also read our article on La Boverie
A beautiful collection of museums
You can spend an entire weekend visiting the museums of Liège. Among these, we appreciate La Boverie, which brings together rich collections of paintings. Contemporary sculpture has its domain in open-air museum of Sart Tilman, which has a large hundred rooms (Colonster castle).
Installed in old houses, the Grand Curtius is a labyrinth in which we like to get lost. It contains precious collections of archeology, decorative arts, weapons, glass, religious art and Mosan art.
Finally, two places allow you to deepen your knowledge of the city and its region:Liège Archeoforum and Walloon Life Museum. For its part, theAquarium-Museum is home to 46 ponds welcoming nearly 2 fish from all over the world.
Country slopes and Outremeuse
Another major attraction of Liège, the slopes rise almost vertically from the historic heart.
La Bueren mountain is an impressive staircase of 374 steps which allows you to climb to a belvedere located on the site of the Citadel of which only remains remain. It is also a starting point for walks in a green environment and small village-style streets.
If you are interested in military architecture, note that strong built at the end of the 19th century around Liège are worth visiting. Thanks to them, Belgian troops were able to resist the German advance in 1914, long enough to allow the French to improve their defense.
It is for this reason that the Viennese cafe was renamed Liège coffee in Paris - everything reminiscent of German lands was then erased. Suddenly, in the form of a hot drink or a cold dessert, it has become a city specialty!
Other good things to eat or drink here, among others: waffles, ball (mini-meatballs of beef and pork in Liège syrup), cheese, beers et peket, Walloon name for juniper ...
Finally, to discover the popular Liège, cross the Pont des Arches to get to Outremeuse, a popular and rebellious district, where Georges Simenon lived. Icon of the place, the Tchantchès puppet symbolizes the taste of the people of Liège, always well established, for freedom.
Consult our Belgium online guide
Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia-Brussels
Liège Beer Lovers' City
How to get there ?
- Train. Guillemins station: connections with Brussels, Paris by Thalys. Other connections: Namur, Charleroi, Mons, Tournai, Lille.
- Road. Many routes coming from France (North, Ardennes, Lorraine), Brussels, Maastricht (Netherlands), Germany (Aix-la-Chapelle), Luxembourg…
Or sleep ?
- AJ Georges Simenon: rue Georges Simenon, 2. A beautiful AJ adjoining the Récollets cloister. Rooms for 2 to 6 people. Nights from 18 €.
- Amosa Hotel: rue Saint-Denis, 4-6. Impeccably located, right in the center. A modern hotel with impeccable hospitality. Doubles 85-120 €.
Where to eat ?
- The Fries : rue de la Cité. For small budgets, good fries, canned balls, burgers. Count less than 10 €.
- Taverne Tchantchès and Nanesse: rue Grande-Bêche, 35. In a picturesque 16C house, typical and generous Liège cuisine. Count 25-30 €.
Where to have a drink?
Plenty of bars in the Square, a hectic perimeter where the decibels respond from one sidewalk to another in a warm atmosphere. It would even be the area where the most beer flows per square meter.
- Maison du Peket: rue du Stalon, 1-3. In a warm atmosphere, this Carré bar offers various variations of peket (juniper). You have the choice between about thirty different fruity flavors. It is good to remember that this alcohol should be drunk in moderation ...
- Brasserie C: impasse des Ursulines. Looks like a village inn. But we are two minutes from the center of Liège! Installed in former monastic buildings at the foot of the mountain of Bueren, this brewery serves its own beers in the dining room or on one of its two terraces, beverages that are accompanied by platters of cheese or cold meats, or even canned balls. . Visit of the brewery in the basement by reservation.