Tournai Things to Do

  • Pont Des Trous
    Pont Des Trous
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    Cloth Hall
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    Notre Dame Cathedral
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Most Recent Things to Do in Tournai

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    the "Pont des Trous"

    by wandeljp Written Mar 5, 2014
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    The "Pont des Trous"

    Landmark of Tournai, the bridge of holes is last witness of the second enclosure of Tournai.

    In the 13th century the city attracts full of people because of its (relative) peace. In 1277 began the work that Philip Augustus ordered. They will be completed in 1304. The city now spans both banks of the Scheldt River, which crosses the city from end to end. Two doors closing access by the river only bridge of holes (1239) still exist today. Will have 18 total opening doors to a wall of 5 km.

    We recognize the path following the current boulevards. Louis XIV will investigator dismantling the walls, it will leave the bridge intact holes.

    A final modification will be the "lift" of pillars to allow crossing of larger boats.

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    Monument emblématique de Tournai, le pont des trous est un derniers témoins de la deuxième enceinte de Tournai .
    Au 13ème siècle la ville attire pleins de gens de part sa (relative) tranquilité. En 1277 débute les travaux que Philippe Auguste à commandé . Ils seront terminés en 1304. La ville s'étend désormais sur les deux rives de l'Escaut, fleuve qui traverse la ville de part en part . Des deux portes fermant l'accès par le fleuve seul le pont des trous (1239) subsiste de nos jours. Se seront 18 portes au total ouvrant une muraille de 5 km . On en reconnais le parcours en suivant les boulevards actuels. Louis XIV sera l'investigateur du démentelement des remparts, il laissera le pont des trous intacte.
    Une dernière modification sera la "remontée" des pilliers afin de laisser passage à de plus grands bateaux.

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    Fontaine du Rond point de l'Europe

    by wandeljp Written Mar 3, 2014
    In middle of the 4 crossroads
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    Fontaine du Rond point de l'Europe

    Located on one of the principals access to the city, after the Drève de Maire, the fountain and sculpture offers visitors a pleasant impression.
    The ensemble is the creation of three different actors: the shelves are the architect Delvigne, fountains engineering Dumont and the magnificent sculpture of Marie-Josée Aerts Tournai.
    Originally the work was intended to commemorate the 150 years of independent Belgium, but the state will wait 4 years before deciding then another 4 years to achieve. So in 1988 we discovered the fountain.
    The theme: flower women can see the cathedral by open spaces. The original (smaller scale) is the Museum of Fine Arts.

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    Situé sur un des principals accès de la ville, au bout de la Drève de Maire, la fontaine et la sculture offre au visiteur une agréable impression.
    L'ensemble est la création de 3 acteurs différents: les plateaux sont de l'architecte Delvigne, les fontaines de l'ingénieur Dumont et la magnifique sculture de Marie-Josée Aerts de Tournai.
    A l'origine l'oeuvre était prévu pour commémorer les 150 ans de la Belgique indépendante, mais l'état attendra 4 ans avant de se décider puis 4 autres années pour la réalisation. C'est donc en 1988 qu'on découvrira la fontaine.
    Le thème : Les femmes-fleurs permet de voir la cathédrale par les espaces ouverts. L'original (echèlle plus petite) se trouve au musée des beaux arts.

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    Christine de Lalaing

    by wandeljp Written Mar 2, 2014

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    from Aimable Dutrieux (1863)
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    Christine de Lalaing

    We can say that Lalang, Princess Christine Espinoy is for the people of Tournai that Joan of Arc is the French at least in importance and in another context as more than hundred and thirty years apart.

    Indeed, the 16th century saw the arrival in Tournai followers of Luther and Calvin. Thanks to good agreement, over the years the Protestant movement grows. So much so that in 1566 churches and religious buildings were looted and their depraved content or completely destroyed. The reaction is bloody: 152 in 3 years "guilty" will be performed in public.

    When peace was signed, Philippe de Melun garand freedoms granted to Tournai protects the city from attacks by Alexander Farnese sent Philip II of Spain (Catholic) in his abscence, his wife, Christine of Lalang took the lead defenders. The challenge for the Spaniards is access to Flanders and the Dutch provinces .

    After 6 weeks the besieged city surrendered "with weapons and honors." We then end 1581.
    A new exodus of Protestants follow. The statue of the heroine throne in the middle of the great square.

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    On peut dire que Christine de Lalaing, princesse d'Espinoy est pour les habitants de Tournai ce que Jeanne d'Arc est aux Français du moins en importance et dans un autre contexte puisque plus de cent trent années les séparent.

    En effet le 16éme siècle à Tournai voit l'arrivée des adeptes de Calvin et Luther. Grace au bon consentement, au cours des années le mouvement protestant se développe. A tel point qu'en 1566 les églises et édifices religieux catholiques sont pillés et leurs contenu dépravé voire complètement détruit. La réaction est sanguinaire : en 3 ans 152 "coupables" seront exécutés en place publique.
    Quand la paix fut signée , Philippe de Melun garant des libertés octroyées à Tournai protège la ville des attaques de Alexandre Farnèse envoyé de Philippe II d'Espagne (et catholique) En son abscence, son épouse , Christine de Lalaing prend la tête des défenseurs . L'enjeu pour les Espagnols est d'accéder aux Flandres et aux provinces Hollandaises
    Après 6 semaines la ville assiègée se rend "avec armes et honneurs". Nous sommes alors en fin 1581.
    Un nouvel exode des protestants suivra. La statue de l'héroine trone au milieu de la grande Place.

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    Visit Saint James

    by wandeljp Updated Feb 26, 2014

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    Saint James
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    Visit Saint James

    The existence of Saint James (in French = St Jacques) is already recounted in 1167, it was at the time a Romanesque chapel. At the time of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is very popular. And Tournai is on the way to the departure of Flanders.
    The tower is of the 12th century, the next century this was added a nave. The style is typically Scheldt (Tournai stone columns, capitals decorations ...) The model is known throughout the basin.
    The choir dates from 1368. In the 19th century to place a restoration campaign and get a Gothic furniture.
    This is, in my opinion, one of the loveliest (many) churches in Tournai. Do not miss it!

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    L'existence de Saint Jacques est déjà relatée en 1167, c'est à l'époque une chapelle romane. A l'époque le pélerinage à Santiago de Compostelle est très populaire. Et Tournai est sur le chemin au départ des Flandres .
    La tour est du 12ème s, le siècle suivant on y adjoint une nef. Le style est typiquement Scaldien ( colonnes en pierre de Tournai, décorations des chapiteaux, ...) Le modele est connu dans tout le bassin.
    Le choeur date de 1368. Au 19ème siècle à lieu une campagne de restauration et reçois un mobilier néogothique.
    C'est, à mon goût, une des plus belles (nombreuses) églises de Tournai. A ne pas manquer !

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    Climb the belfry

    by wandeljp Written Feb 25, 2014

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    The Belfry
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    Climb the belfry

    Prominent at the corner of Grand Place, the belfry dominates the view down as it does on the horizon above. Be Prepared! You will have to first pay € 2.10 right then mount the courage to climb the 257 steps to reach the top.
    Then you are at the top of the symbol of communal liberties.

    This is the king of France: Phillip August that the first provides right to the city in 1188, thus ensuring an ally against the Count of Flanders. That is, if the history of the building is long and eventful. The latest is the last restoration (1992 - 2003)

    Like all 29 belfries in the country, that of Tournai is classified and listed as World Heritage by UNESCO since 1999

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    Bien en vue au coin de la Grand Place , le beffroi domine la vision en bas comme il le fait sur l'horison en haut. Soyez préparé! Il vous faudra d'abord payer 2,10 € de droit de monter puis le courage de gravir les 257 marches pour arriver au sommet.
    Vous êtes alors au sommet du symbole des libertés communales .

    C'est le roi de France Philipppe August qui le premier accorde des droit à la ville en 1188, s'assurant ainsi un allié face au comte de Flandres. C'est dire si l'histoire de l'édifice est longue et riche d'événements. Le dernier en date est la dernière restauration (1992 - 2003)

    Comme tous les 29 beffrois du pays, celui de Tournai est classé et figure sur la liste du Patrimoine Mondial de l'Unesco depuis 1999

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    Drève de Maire

    by wandeljp Updated Feb 24, 2014
    Dr��ve de Maire

    Drève de Maire

    If you are driving to Tournai, one of the finest entry is that of La drève de Maire: The N 50 (Bruges - Kortrijk-Tournai) is my most beautiful taste.

    Quadruple a row of towering plane trees in focus with several centenary cathedral.

    Tips: Parking is still free under the trees of the Drève. It is boring because only 15 'walk from the historic center.

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    Si vous vous rendez en voiture à Tournai, une des plus belles entrée est celle de la drève de Maire: La N 50 (Bruges - Kortrijk -Tournai) est à mon gout la plus belle.

    Une quadrupple rangée d'imposants platanes avec en point de mire la cathedrale multi centenaire.

    Bon plan : le parking est encore gratuit sous les arbres de la Drève. Il est interressant car à peine à 15' à pied du centre historique.

    ---oooOOOooo---

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    GRAND 'PLACE [TOWN SQUARE]

    by balhannah Updated Feb 6, 2012

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    Tournai Town Square
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    Time for a break, and where best to go, but the Town Square.
    Here we found many empty Cafes and Restaurants, and all of them had plenty of outdoor seating, so we chose a table, ordered, and were served quickly.

    This is a wonderful area for people watching, and for viewing the architecture of the surrounding building's. Most of the facades were different, the buildings were mostly built in patterned red brick and were decorated with scrolls and other embelishments.

    The city adopted a Louis 14th style of architecture, a compromise between the French style and the local traditions.

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    ST. QUENTIN'S CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Jan 21, 2012

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    St. Quentin's Church
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    Also located in the town square, is the different styled church of St Quentin’s.
    It's located one end of the Grand-Place, and is believed to be related to the vast Gallo-Roman cemetery that extended over the site of the Grand-Place and a neighbouring district.
    Its nave dates from the end of the 12th century, and there are two round chapels, one of which houses the tomb of Jacques Castaigne (1327),
    The central tower dates from the 13th century.
    The interior was quite plain.

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    FOLKLORE MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Jan 21, 2012

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    Folklore museum
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    Located quite close to the Market Square, I found the Folklore Museum. The Museum was located in building's from the 17th century, and in here were display's of daily life from birth to death in the Tournai area.
    I entered, paid the small admission fee, then went wandering, seeing all the 23 exhibition halls. It was an interesting collection, including,china, different tool's, clothing, a workshop of the 'Balotil' (craftsman who used to work at home and make knitted goods), a cobbler's kitchen, games, a farm interior, workshop of the wet cooper, of the weaver, of the farrier, old tin's and different clothing, and probably much more.
    I did enjoy seeing what people dress in for their festival's.

    ADMISSION IN 2011....Adults 2.00 euro's

    OPEN.... Tuesday 1 November 2011 to Saturday 31 March 2012 (except on: Tuesday)
    Monday : 10:00-12:00 & 2-5PM
    Wednesday-Saturday : 10:00-12:00 & 2 - 5PM

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    NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

    by balhannah Updated Jan 21, 2012

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    The Cathedral is another UNESCO heritage listed building in Tournai. Called a 'architectural masterpiece of the medieval west," it is easy to see why when I saw it for the first time!

    Another massive Church, it has five massive towers! The nave and the transept, going back to the 12th century, are in the Romance style with Norman and Rhenish influences, while the choir, completed in 1254, is Gothic.

    The Treasury can be seen for 2 euros.

    Notre Dame Cathedral is recognised as one of the most beautiful religious monuments anywhere in the western world.

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    THE CLOTH HALL

    by balhannah Written Jan 21, 2012

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    Cloth Hall

    Located in the Grand 'Place [market square] is the beautifully decorated Cloth Hall.
    The Cloth Hall is one of the more elegant and recognisable buildings as it has gold on the outside, and you will see the flag's flying above the entrance.

    Built over two years between 1610 and 1612, the centre square was the place where the merchants used to bring their products and sell them to those waiting in the surrounding galleries.

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    THE BELFRY

    by balhannah Updated Jan 21, 2012

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    The Belfry

    I really liked the sight of this attractive Belfry, but I didn't climb the 257 step's up a spiral staircase to the top. At the top, is where the room's were used as a Prison, and the view's are good!

    I didn't realize a Belfry in cities of Belgium and the North of France are an emblem of municipal freedoms.

    This Belfry, the oldest in Belgium and northern Europe, was built in 1188 and has been restored so that you can enter the Belfry rooms.
    Used as a lookout tower to see an approaching enemy, and as a Fire lookout Tower, just like we have similar today.
    The belfry watched over the safety of the citizens and symbolizing this, is a dragon, deemed always to be awake, symbolizing both protection and vigilance.

    The bell-ringing right was a privilege granted to a city by its lord who happened to be the King of France, Philippe Auguste.

    It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    ADMISSION TO CLIMB THE TOWER IS ....Adults ...2 euro

    OPEN.....9.30am-12.30pm & 2-5.30pm Wed-Mon

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    ART DECO & MODERNISM

    by balhannah Written Jan 21, 2012

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    The Door!

    Tournai has a mix of Art Deco and other style's of architecture.
    I walked around and saw plenty of "different" decoration's and expression's of art work.
    One I particularly liked, was near the Grand Place, where I saw a building with a bronze door adorned with antique- masks.
    Now, this was very different, maybe even scary for very young children!

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    PONT DES TROUS

    by balhannah Updated Jan 21, 2012

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    Pont Des Trous

    Whilst driving along a riverside road, I suddenly saw a beautiful Bridge. It was the 13th century Pont des Trous, a Bridge from Medieval military times.

    It has two Towers, one known as The Bourdiel (1281) on left bank, and on the right bank is The Thieulerie, (1302-1304).
    What is known as the "Curtain wall," is the part that is across the River, and that had the narrow Arrow slit's.
    The Bridge was damaged in 1340, when King Edward III of England damaged its pillars during an attack, then in 1940, the English blew it up.
    In 1947, the towers and pillars were raised to allow Ship's to pass underneath.
    A really lovely Bridge.

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    Archaeology Museum

    by Djinn76 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Le Mont-de-Piete

    Tournai is so old that each time we have to dig into its ground to build something new, chances are pretty high that we find some remaining from the past. It sounds natural to have a museum of archeology to show all these findings.
    I've recently visited this museum and if it is true that the collections are very rich, they could be much better exploited. The building itself is worth the visit (the previous Mont-de-Piété built in 1622). I was expecting some explanations about the history of Tournai during the covered period (pre-historic till Frankish) or at least some more details about the different searches and where we found the different objects. Unfortunately most of the objects are just presented from a (very) scientific point of view! For example in the Frankish room, I haven't found any mention about the fact Tournai has been the capital of the kingdom, there was only a very light explanation about Childeric's tomb found in St Piat. It could however be going in the right direction, there was a model of the church that has recently been found under the St Pierre square.
    Now that you are warned, this is quite a boring museum, for 2E (Jan 2004), this is still worth a visit: the different objects are awesome. Simply get an idea about their context from another source before the visit!
    The masterpiece of the museum is a "sarcophagi" made of plumb.

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