Visit the castle
Visit the castle of Godfrey of Bouillon (c. 1060 – 18 July 1100), who joined the Holy Crusade and became King of Jerusalem. That's me wearing silly pants, no matching T-shirt and looking somewhat younger than today.
- Arts and Culture
The main attraction in Bouillon is to visit enormous medieval castle which used to owned by Duke Godfrey of Bouillon, leader of the first crusade.
The castle-fortress of Bouillon, is one of the most ancient and interesting remains of feudalism in Belgium .It’s not known exactly when the first castle was built on this site ,but estimated that it’s construction started in the 8th century, and the present fortifications were constructed between 1050 and 1067 by Duke Godfrey III. Godfrey V inherited the castle of Bouillon when his cousin, Godfrey IV, died in 1076. He sold his castle to Otbert, prince-bishop of Liege, in 1096 to finance an army of 40,000 Christian knights to free Jerusalem from the infidels.After conquered Jerusalem ,Godfrey refused to wear a gold crown of a king "where Jesus Christ had worn a crown of thorns”, and refused the title of 'King of Jerusalem' but prefer to be called “The protector of the Holy Sepulcher”. He died there in 1100.
Birds of Prey show at Bouillon castle.
I wanted to write a little bit more about detail of the birds of prey they show here.
1.It’s another kind of owl,I think it is “Great Horned Owl” The body length is about 45-62 cm. and wingspan is up to 150 cm. They are referred to as “the tiger of the sky” because of their keen hunting skills and their ability to capture a wide variety of prey sometimes larger or heavier than themselves.
2.“Common Buzzard” This one is is a medium-to-large bird of prey, whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. It’s hight is about 40-58 cm., weigh 400-1400 g. ,wing span 110-136 cm.They breeds in woodlands, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land. It eats mainly small mammals to medium mammals, like rabbit, snakes,lizards, and will come to carcass ,also can often be seen walking over recently ploughed fields looking for worms and insects..
3.This is " Harris Hawk" It's a medium to large bird of prey,which breeds from the southwestern United States south to Chile and central Argentina. They are sometimes be seen in Western Europe, especially Britain, and it is a popular species in falconry.Harris hawks range in length from 46 to 59 cm and wingspan of about 103 to 120 cm. They have dark brown plumage with chestnut shoulders, white on the base and tip of the tail,long, yellow legs and a yellow cere.
4.If you don't look well you might think these 2 birds are the same type,but the one on lady's hand is "Harris Hawk" and the one on ground is "Steppe Eagle" The difference is.. Harris Hawk has white tip of tail ,and Steppe Eagle has more fluffy feather at the thigh and over all color is a bit paler brown than Harris Hawk.
5.The falcon up close.
The castle opening time is from 10.00 and closing time is about 5-7 pm depends on season,in high summer month in july and august it close at 7pm.Ticket price for adult = 6.50 €,senior =6 €,student and children = 4.50 € Audio guides are available for2 € .The falconry with birds of prey show is included.There is night visit with the torch-lit as well.From 1 July until 31 August: on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, except when there is an event at the Castle.It starts at 22.00.The price is 9.50 euro per person ,and 2.50 € extra for the torch(one torch for every 2-3 people) and some extra tip for the guide.
There is more details of opening days and hours attached on the window of the ticket booth.There's some small souvenir shop sell some books and post cards ,opposite to ticket booth .
The second pic is another area that look like a room but so small that I had to crouch in.
The 3rd pic show the biggest room in the castle,it’s like a long hall ,with a big cross on the floor and not allow to step on.The room now use as an exhibition hall ,the corner at the other end is the museum.It’s just a small museum but there are many interesting stuffs .I had only few pictures of the things in the museum (pic 4,5) because it’s about time for the the birds show..they are calling..
Birds of Prey show at Bouillon castle.
Besides a visit of the castle,you can enjoy at specific times an interactive show with the birds of prey.The performance will be at the castle’s courtyard where you can have a seat.The falconer will come to you with owls, eagles, hawks, vultures and, of course, falcons.He will tell a lot of their habits and lets the raptors show you amazing flights.
1. Steppe Eagle ..It’s beautiful and elegance bird,or I’ll say..”He’s so handsome” It is about 62–81 cm. in length and has a wingspan of 1.65–2.15 m. Females, weighing 2.3–4.9 kg , are slightly larger than males, at 2–3.5 kg. They favour open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah.
2. "Burrowing Owl" is a small, long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. Burrowing Owls can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other open dry area with low vegetation.The weigh is about 140-240 g. and wing span is 30 cm.
3. The show was in French and Dutch so I didn’t understand much , I guess this bird is the "Barn Owl". It’s very beautiful bird,if the Steppe Eagle is “handsome” ,this one I’ll say ..“He’s so cute” The colour is pale and they are strictly nocturnal.They are silent predators of the night world.,with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss.
4.This bird is a kind of falcon,I still couldn’t find exactly which specie it is..but it looks very similar to some kind of White falcon,Gry falcon and Merlin falcon .Give me time ,I’ll try to find out for you.
5.It's African White-Backed Vulture.This one is the biggest bird of the show,see the size compare to the falconry.It is an old world vulture. They have a body length of about 94 cm, a wingspan between 1.96 and 2.25 m.!! and they weigh between 4 and 7 kgs.If I wasn't wrong ,this bird was from Namibia.
There are 3 shows every day from 01 March to 11 November at 11:30, 14:00 and 15:30. Additionally at 17.00 during weekends and public holidays as from 01 April until 30 September, as well as every day in July and August. The shows last about half an hour.It’s a nice show,the falconry guy is so funny ,can entertain people very well.That day the majority of audience can speak French and Dutch so he spoke those 2 languages ,not English.I asked him few questions afterwards.I gave some tip in his tip box cuz I enjoyed the show.(You can see more pictures in my travelogue.)
Bouillon Castle interior..
The castle is situated on a rocky spur of land within a sharp bend of the Semois River.It’s size is really immense but I wondered a little bit about the interior...,while the whole castle from outside is so huge but most rooms inside is so small,how did they live in such tiny rooms like that.Some places are really small and narrow.It probably becuase it was dug into the rock directly so they just made it enough to get through, that made it looks like small tunnel every where.
In some rooms they display the history about war and show the cell for prisoner ,torture chamber,things they used for living and room to store things.
Look on the wall in the dungeon..there are inscriptions ,probably from prisoner.
1. Stairway down..dark and narrow.
5.Working and storage room..
In summer …there will be many activities around town..we can paddle a boat on the river “ La Semois”. There are many cute and colourful boats with many style of animal mascot ,..from ..swans, flamingos, ducks, and dragon. They have boat for family which has 6 seats with fabric roof.They also have boat for single and couple as well.They provide some life jacket for children too.
I don’t know the price for the boat ride but I guess it shouldn’t be expensive..It must be relax and fun activity for summer.
Tourist train ride
I heard that they have a small city train too.I myself call this kind of train " Choo Choo train" .I didn’t see it because I was there during weekday and no service on weekday at that moment.The service is run from 1 mar-30 jun on weekend and special holiday.And open every day from 1 july to 31august.And from 1 sep -15 nov run only weekend and special holiday.
The starting point is at Pont de Liege,During july and august train leaves there at 10.00 - 10.45 - 11.30 - 13.15 - 14.00 - 14.45 - 15.30 - 16.15 - 17.00 - 17.45 and bring you up to the castle 15 minutes after depature.Then continue to Pont de France and go around town ..up to the upper level opposite side of the castle and back to main station at Pont de LiegeIt’s about 7 km. train ride in total and it take about 40 minutes.There’ll be a guide on board will let you know a little more about history and many things in the community. The schedule time in other period is a bit different,you can check from the sign board at the main station itself and at the castle station too.The ticket fee for children under 3 years is free ,age 4-12 =2.80 euro ,adult = 5.50 euro.It’s kind of “day ticket” You can hop on-off any station anywhere you’d like
The Pont de Liege is the bridge in downtown at the roundabout where Hotel De La Poste situated and Pont de France is the bridge that you will see first when approaching the town on N810 from Poupehan.When passing a tunnel under the castle,you'll see this bridge.
The first picture I show is not from my camera..I borrow from it's website.Pic 2,3 is Pont de France
Walking around town
Bouillon a municipality in Belgium lies in the country's Walloon Region and Luxembourg Province.It sits on the bank of Semois river whose total length is about 210 km.. The source of the Semois is in Arlon which is also in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Flowing in a roughly westerly direction, it enters France after passing through the Belgian village of Bohan-sur-Semois and joins the Meuse river some 10 km further downstream in Monthermé.There are many towns situating along the banks of the Semois ,which are Chiny, Florenville, Herbeumont, Bouillon including the localities of Dohan and Poupehan, and Vresse-sur-Semois .(all in Belgium)
Bouillon..known as “pearl of Semois valley” with its river framed and steeply rising wooded slopes, can claim some of Belgium’s most beautiful scenery.It is also the most important and most attractive tourist centre of the Semois valley.
This beautiful little town is so peaceful.It has remarkable number of hotels and restaurants including the Colruyt supermarket retail stores.Take your time walking around everywhere in town including the upper level ..it's nice..
Chateau de Bouillon falconry display
The highlight of the visit for me was the falconry display even though the whole show was in French. The trainer gives a presentation with a variety of birds-hawks, falcons, owls, vultures. The birds are stunning to see close up, they are trained to fly right over the heads of the audience.
Chateau de Bouillon
The Chateau de Bouillon was home to Duke Godefroy de Bouillon until he mortgaged the chateau to raise funds for the First Crusade. The Chateau then passed to the prince-bishops of Liège until the 15th century after which is changed hands many times.
Our visit to the Chateau was self guided, there are numbers around the chateau that help direct you around.
Admission is 6.50€ for adults
The animal park
The 'Parc Animalier' is just outside Bouillon on the west side. It has 60 different kinds of animals, a large playground and a large restaurant. You can watch the animals along a 2 km long route.
Looks like a nice thing to do with young children!
The park is open all year round from 9.30 to 19 hrs in summer and until 17 hrs in winter.
Entrance fees are 8 euro for adults, 5 euro for children (4-12 yrs).
We did not have time for a visit, we made it to the car park !
- Family Travel
Falcon show at the fortress
While you are at the fortress, you may hit upon the 'ballet of birds of prey'. It's a half funny 20 minute show in French and Flemish/Dutch in the central court yard. There are 4 shows per day usually, in high season.
The birds live in the court yard in their individual cages. Even outside the shows you can admire them there.
The show is free (you have paid entrance to the fortress anyway) and you can sit on the tribune or stand around somewhere else.
Canoeing on the river
Canoeing (or kayaking) is a very popular sport in the Belgian Ardennes. You can rent canoes just about anywhere. In Bouillon too, of course!
The sign points you to the spot on the river side, just opposite hotel Porte de France (where we stayed).
There's plenty of fast moving water in the river Semois, so it should be fun!
Musee Ducal (Ducal museum)
This museum houses collections from the iron age, folklore, local industry (tin), music and various (christian) art.
I especially liked the attic where they showed the old tin factory from Bouillon which obviously played a big part in people's lives.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits