If you've read some of my pages you might know already that one of my favorite things to do is search for something special to me in a new city. This has always added some really nice surprises while reconnoitering an unfamiliar area.
In Mons it turned out that I had to find a new tip for my cane--which I lost on a week-end trip visiting friends in Paris. In the USA I would normally find a 'tip' replacement in a pharmacy.
Logically, I started my search at the first pharmacy along rue de Nimy, which was the way I entered the Centrum of Mons.
No one spoke English at any of several pharmacies I stopped at, but with a bit of unofficial sign language someone finally understood my need and wrote down the name of the local medical supply shop where I could purchase a new tip.
It took a few more stops to find the exact road the shop was located on and I was able to repair my cane. The people were very nice, and as helpful as possible. We even shared a few laughs due to misunderstanding each other. The picture is one clue given me along the way.
Behind the the Gothic Town Hall, through a short tunnel you'll find the lovely 'Jardin du Mayeur' (the Mayor's garden.) This inner court yard is a tranquil oasis for the Mayor, citizens and tourists alike and there is no charge to enter. Several of the towns museums can be found here as well, such as, the Museum of Ceramics, the War Museum, and the Numismatic Museum. One need not take the official tour to visit this garden, nor the museums, so venture forth and have a look.
The fountain of the 'ropieur,' a boy who teased people by spitting water on them is a great place to take a photo and the near by lily pond added to the charm of the mayor's garden.
Parc Paridiso is a little out of Mons. My friends father asked me and my friend if we wanted to 'feed the birds in the park' We were expecting to be dropped of in a city park with some breadcrumb instead we were dropped of at 'Disneyland' for birds its a huge habitat with knight reenactments and a bevy of bird related activities. If you like birds this is the place for you. If you don't you will still find some humor in it.
One more picture of the IRAM, which was taken inside the hall and that shows the old church structure, as well as the modern stairs that were added afterwards for the use of the school.
The guides we had on that day were actually two students of the school. They were thrilled to do this, because it enabled them to learn the history of the building, which they had no clue of a week before ! And they did a great job ;-)
This is what the students of the IRAM see while climbing the stairs to get to their classrooms. Beautiful !!
It was so amazing to discover a stained-glass inside a school :-) Too bad that most of the students don't even pay attention to the treasures of their school...
During the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days), we discoverd that the building of the IRAM -Institut Reine Astrid de Mons- are actually located inside a church ! How strange to follow a class in the middle of the choir !!
This church and the convent first belonged to the Pères Rédemptoristes who left the place in 1960. Later on, it was transformed to become a school, but the interesting part of this is that the architects kept the structure of the church, and destroyed nothing of the original walls and windows. If the building had to be used as a church again, they would only need to remove the modern facilities, stairs and blackbords :-)
I really enjoyed the visit !
At Paradisio, you can admire, among other things, the world's most beautiful birds! Every day there are one or more bird shows to take your breath away.
Along with the bird, there are thousands of colourful flowers, trees that are several hundred years old, mysterious ruins, ...
Parc Paradisio is situated between Mons and Ath.
The Scientific Adventure Park is an unusual and extraordinary place to discover science. It is situated in Frameries,(6km from Mons) on the historical site of a former coal mine. The Pass is an original destination for anyone interested in an alternative approach to learn about sciences and techniques. Visitors can try out, play with and manipulate the exhibits!
Close to Mons, in the small village of Cuesmes, you can find the house in which the famous Dutch painter lived from August 1879 until October 1880.
In the museum you can find reproductions of his work, an audio-visual exposition and some of his correspondance.
You can find The Mayor's Garden inside the courtyard of the Town Hall. It's a nice, quiet litle park in which it is very pleasant to sit and relax. In the park, we have a fountain of the 'ropieur', a boy who teased passers-by by spitting water on them.
Le Grand Large is a nice marina, close to the city center of Mons and ideal to practise some water sports.
On the site of the Grand Large you can also find an amusement park for the kids (Imagipark) , a restaurant, a bowling, a karaoke bar, ...
Not really far from Mons center, le Bois d' Havré. On spring (late april-may), trees are green and on the ground, you would see a "violet" carpet, made of violet flowers... Mmmm.. Enchanting!
I'm going to fetch pics as soon as possible
Of course, a city the size of Mons has a town square, traditionally called 'Grand-Place'. Buildings in a panoply of styles testify that Mons was an important center all through the centuries. The Gothic Town Hall dominates the square. The construction started in 1458. The architect was Mathieu de Layens, who also created the most beautiful Gothic building in the world, namely the Town Hall of the city of Leuven. The town hall of Most is by far not so prestigious as the one in Leuven, because again due to financial problems the original plan was never completed. The second floor of the building was never constructed. Only later, in 1718, the town hall was crowned with a small open bell-tower. The inner courtyard is an oasis of tranquillity. Through a tunnel one can reach the garden of the mayor 'Le Jardin du Mayeur' were several museums are situated. Around the town hall houses in different styles and from different times embellish the Grand-Place. On both sides of the town hall are Baroque facades from the 18th century. Some of the oldest houses date from the 16th century (the southern side, close to Rue de la Chausée). Since Mons was heavily destroyed in 1691 during the siege of the city by Louis XIV of France at the time of the Spanish Succession Wars, a lot of houses were rebuilt afterwards in the typical French styles of the 18th century (Louis XIV, XV and XVI styles).
The Hainut region which is where Mons is located is the birthplace of my favorite artist Rene Magritte. His artwork is on some of the money and he is most famous for his men in bowler hats falling from the sky paintings but this is my favorite 'Empire of lights'
The laundromat had the best french onion soup ever to come out of a vending machine, I had two cups of it while my clothes dried.