This year, Wallonia, the French speaking part of our country promotes it’s beer. Lots of beer festivals are planned in 2005 and small traditional breweries are open for tourists and visitors.
A handy brochure with tips for trips in the region, in combination with a brewery visit can be
Brasserie Du Bocq in Purnode between Dinant and Namur is certainly worth a visit.
It is still a family brewery. During our visit, Nathalie, our guide, spiced up her interesting explanation with funny anecdotes.
The tour ends with a beer tasting in the small café.
For the ones who don't like to drink beer because they have to drive: the novelty of this summer is an "Applebocq", a light beer, only 2% alcohol.
The guided tours in French, Dutch and English are during the week and in the weekends. Keep in mind that there is no brew activity on Saturday nor Sunday.
The fortress was built at the beginning of the 14th century by Guy de Dampierre, at that time the Count of Namur. The remains that can be visited today are mainly from the 15th century, when the fortress was enlarged. They are situated in the valley of Molignee, a very beautiful area in the province of Namur, and surrounded by beautiful nature.
Entrance costs 4€. Unfortunately they are only opened during July and August for individuals. During the other months, you have to be at least a group of 20 and you need to make a reservation in advance.
Maredsous is especially known for its cheese and for its beer. If you want to discover the place where this is made and want to try or buy these products in their original setting, then you should definite come to Maredsous.
The surroundings are definitely worth the detour as well. The beautiful abbey church is situated on a very scenic square, where you can find information about the abbots/church, ... There's also an information center with information of other touristic interests, souvenirs, the regional products and of course a café and terrace to taste them!
The gardens of Annevoie were designed during the second half of the 18th century. They are mainly French style, but also have some English and Italian influences. You can fnd here lakes, fountains, a lot of green and even a small waterfall. It's a nice place to walk in for about an hour, especially on a clear and sunny day.
Entrance is 7 euro.
An impressive Medieval castle (actually it are ruins) in the middle of the Ardennes. It is somewhat hidden and if you don't pay attention, you can't see it from the street. You need to park your car somewhere and walk app. 1 km on foot. The scenery is magnificent. Really worth a detour when you are in the neighbourhood.
Open every day in July and August 2005 from 2 pm - 6 pm
entrance fee: 4 euros
Direction: from Dinant --> take the road to Maredsous. It's near the village Falaën.
The small village of Spontin is located 11 Km north-east of Dinant along road N948. Here you can see a nice small castle built in 1289 by the Beaufort's count, it was modified in Renaissance and Baroque style and it is the anciest Belgium castle stillit is still inhabited.
On the street toward Namur you can stop to visit the wonderful Les Jardins d'Annevoie (Annevoie's Garden). These gardens are inspired to the different European and oriental styles: during the visit you can see The Drive of Flowers, created in 1952 to, show off a multitude of flower varieties; the Big Bouillon, the Big Spitter, the French cascade, the grand canal, the French Drive, the Drives of Desires and much more.
The entance fees is 7.8 euro an adult and 5.20 euro a student.
I have put this restaurant here in the Off The Beaten Path Tips for the simple reason that it is WAY off the path. You can see by the picture that it has a commanding view of the river over which it sits, but we found NO signs showing the way there so we had to "explore" by driving up several mountain roads and taking our chances....but we did find it in the end and it was worth the extra effort as you can see.
To find the place, you drive north along the river leaving Dinant, keep an eye out for the sign high above the river. When you see the sign, turn around and go back to the first left turn, go up the hill. At one point you will be in a small village where the road turn 90 degrees to your right. Just at that turn there is a dirt road that goes off to the left and downward, take that road for a few hundred meters where you will find a dirt parking lot. You have found it.
PS: If you get lost, enjoy the countryside ^o^
As already told at one of the local customs-tips, Dinant is famous for it's cupper craftmenship. In the Meuse-valley and wide area surrounding that, almost all religious metalworks of cupper were made here. To commemorate this fact, the town has a small museum that has a large collection of church-roosters (those that turn into the wind on top of the average West-European church). Furthermore the craftmenship of cupper is explaned in details. Though not located in the direct centre, one could - if intrested - visit this museum on the Route de Givet 27
The entire Meuse valley in the Namur province is really scenic, combining areas with almost vertical rocky walls and forest covered hills. Just outside of Dinant you can admire one of the most famous rock formations on the Meuse namuroise: the so called Rocher Bayard, a knife-shaped rocky needle that stands (artificially apart from the cliff) up to 40 meters above the river.
It bears the name of a legendary horse that allegedly split the rock with its hooves as it jumped over the river long, long ago.
Nowadays, the needle stands in the middle of the riverside road.
If you like historical architecture, walking the ~10minutes round trip to view the Tour de Monfort is worth a stop.
It is a shame that it has now fallen into a state of disrepair since the grounds that it stands on are no longer open to the public. The tower, the walking path down, the hill by the caverns, the cafe/restaurant, etc. are all closed down.
It is situated at the end of Rue de Monfort, on the top of the cliff. It is immediately next to the top of the old teleferique.
To get there, it is best to start (park your car) at the citadel parking on the top of the cliff. Walk down the small dirt road on the other side of Parking #2. At the end of the small road/path, the tower will be visible.
In the old days, before modern technology, communication was basically as fast as messengers could run. The old fortress wall exisited for centuries along the top of the cliff wall, helping secure the defences.
However, in the 1690's part of the corridor was buried to make it a tunnel, thereby making the communication tunnel more secure from enemy fire and attack.
Today, very little of this can be seen, and while I saw evidence that it was open to the public until maybe a couple years ago, it is now closed. Today, at best, you can walk a dirt foot path that mimics the old walls path. There are a couple holes near the top of the old teleferique and the Tower of Monfort where the old tunnel can be seen from the open air above.
To get there, follow the instructions on my other tip for the Tower of Monfort.
Rocher Bayard is a steeple 35 meters high: it was pierced in 1661 to build a road. It is situated not too far from Dinant.
The road that connect Dinant to Spontin is called Rue du Moulins because you can see some old mills in a fantastc landscape.