Only 2 hours from Paris, this city bordered by canals is often forgotten, in favor of Bruges or Antwerp. What a mistake ! Romantic, historic, gastronomic and festive, it does not lack assets to attract visitors. Make an appointment with Ghent, a beautiful Flemish who will leave you under the spell ...
The historic heart of this ancient cloth-making city is a real gem. You have to cross the Lys by crossing the small French bridges to admire the gabled houses that line its quays. The medieval quarter of Patershol has been rehabilitated in recent years, it now reveals organic canteens and design shops around its winding alleys.
This trendy district adjoins the Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen) from the XNUMXth century which sits right in the city center. Its towers and ramparts give it great looks, it is easy to imagine that it should discourage its adversaries. Especially since it houses a frightful collection of torture objects and a prison!
However, this is not the real pride of the people of Ghent. The jealously guarded masterpiece is on the side of the "3 towers" as they say here. Beside the Belfry of the 54th century, whose XNUMX bells gave the alert in the event of an invasion, and St. Nicholas Church, the sublime Saint Bavo Cathedral houses the painting of The Mystic Lamb. A polyptych painted in 1432 by the Van Eyck brothers which symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ. With its twenty-two altars, its Rococo pulpit and its Paul Rubens, the Cathedral is undoubtedly the jewel of the city.
To discover the history of Ghent, two museums are worth a visit: the STAM (Ghent City Museum), superbly restored, and Huis Van Alijn, a pleasant set of small houses that evokes the Ghent of yesteryear.
Ghent also shows an astonishing vitality in contemporary art. His museum SMAK, located in the park of the Citadel, organizes brilliant exhibitions.
Another area where Ghent creativity is illustrated: gastronomy, with very good restaurants that highlight local products, such as herbs and fish from the North Sea, and regional recipes such as, for example, the famous waterzoi.
The city also prides itself on being "vegetarian friendly": every Thursday, most restaurants put a vegetarian dish on the menu!
Of its 250 inhabitants, 000 are students! Ghent is not a sleeping beauty! All week long, the bars vibrate to the rhythm of the Estudantine atmosphere.
The city is also the scene of several demonstrations. The most famous - Gentse Feesten - takes place in July and brings together 6 different events that take place in the open air, including the 10 days off music festival, the Miramiro, and the Gent Jazz.
Jazz, always, at Jazz in the Park, a free event in August and September, at Koning Albert 1er and in a totally different style I love Techno in November. Come on, everyone in Ghent!
Ghent Tourist Office
How to get there
Paris-Brussels by Thalys. There is only one direct daily Paris-Ghent connection by Thalys.
Otherwise, you have to take a train that connects Brussels Midi to Ghent, choose the one in the direction of Ostend, faster than the omnibuses.
Where to sleep ?
Find your hotel in Ghent