Located in the small village of Spontin, we came across the medieval Spontin Castle. With its massive walls, its towers topped with slate and with its moat with drawbridge, the Castle is surrounded by the water's of the River Bocq.
The castle belonged to the noble family of Beaufort, who between 1266 and 1284 built the main tower which is the core of the castle, and in latter year's, more building's were added. From the 16th century, the Castle was made into a residence, this was when the red brick's were added. The last two transformations were the construction of a fortified farm beyond the moat (1622) and demolition of rear part of the fortifications.
The castle is closed to the public as it is private property.
It is really nice to view from the outside, and there is a pretty walk to do through the garden.
Also located in the historic center of Bouvignes, at the north end of the count's castle ruins, [Crevecour], is the Church of St. Lambert.
This parish church shows the greatness and prosperity enjoyed in the Middle Ages.
The Church was consecrated in 1217, but in 1554, was burned by the Army of the King of France, Henri 11.
In 1559, it was rebuilt.
As we left Dinant, and followed the Meuse upstream of Namur, we could see what was left of the fortress of Crevecoeur, overlooking the city of Bouvignes.
There is very little left, probably because it was directly involved in the defense system of the city of Bouvignes and County of Namur, Dinant and against the principality of Liege.
The keep or "tour de Crevecoeur" is the oldest part, built around 1321, with the count's castle of the 12th century, at the bottom.
In 1613, it was decided to build a Convent on the left bank of the River Meuse.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul occupied the Convent from 1838 to 1957.
In 1978, it was classified an historical site.
Today the various buildings are administered by the Public Social Assistance Centre.
Did you know the town of Dinant had at least four Town halls, I didn't!
The 1st one was actually erected as a Tower on the Bridge. Cramped it was, and where to move to, problem solved when in 1573, the tower and the bridge fell into the waters of the Meuse, and was carried away by a major flood.
Temporarily, the Cloth Hall was used, then in 1585, the house of the Lord of Duras Street.
The 4thTown Hall, and the one I saw, was constructed in 1783 in the palace of the prince bishops of Liege. The palace was burned by the Germans in August 1914, then reconstructed in 1924.
Today, it is a really beautiful building, covered in ivy.
The town hall houses several works of art, including busts of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone.
It also contains a bronze bell from 1566, from the Church of Dinant, and a canon from the 16th century, found in the Meuse and weighing over 100 kg.
Out the front, is a nice War Memorial, remembering the 674 citizen's killed by the German's in 1914, and garden's.
This was a very pleasant walk to do. I only walked on the Citadel side and then across the Bridge, but I really enjoyed it!
Geese came to be fed, I had great view's of the massive Bridge further along the river, which most of the traffic used, and great view's of the other side of Town.
Of course, on the other side, it would great for photo's of the Church, Citadel and Rock with the River in the foreground.
One of the Landmark's of Dinant, is the imposing Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame.
It was rebuilt in Gothic style on its old foundations after falling rocks from the adjacent cliff partially destroyed the former Romanesque style church in 1227.
An impressive Church from the outside with its Onion Dome and pair of Tower's.
Inside was lovely too, many lovely stained glass window's and statue's, well worth having a look at.
This is a MUST DO!
Located all the way along the Bridge, are brightly painted Saxaphone's, each with a plaque, and each from a different country.
Adolphe Sax, born in Dinant in 1894, was the inventor of the saxophone and other musical instruments, so I guess this is why they are on display.
Dinant hold's Saxaphone competition's and all type's of event's to do with the Saxaphone.
The Bridge did look Jazzy, and I really loved looking at them, and seeing what each country had painted on their Saxaphone.
Cruise's depart from Dock 5, every 30 min's for a 45 minute trip along the River Meuse passing by the towns of Dinant and Anseremme, past the steep slopes of the Valley of the Meuse, with its collegiate church, its citadel, the Rocher Bayard.
Runs every day from 01/04 to the 02/11 ......FROM 10AM TO 6PM
ONE - WAY- ADULT FARE = 5 euro/Child 4eu
RETURN FARE - ADULT 6.50 euro/Child 5.50 eu
There are many different cruises available so please check the website for one that suits you.
Buy ticket's and board at Dock 5, Dinant
As we were driving, there was no way that we could miss seeing the Bayard rock.
Bayard Rock is a 100ft. high needle standing between the road and the River Meuse.
It was at this point, the British stopped the advance of the German troops in December 1944, probably helped by a German vehicle hitting a Mine and exploding just before the Bayard rock.
Located here is a memorial stone and plaque.
THE LEGEND ABOUT THE ROCK
The magic giant horse named Bayard, jumped from the top of this rock to the left bank of the river, carrying the four children fleeing from Emperor Charles. This is what split the rock.
It was split by the Louis XIV's French troups after they had invaded Dinant, to make an easy road along the Meuse.
The Citadel, no I didn't go up, I chose to walk around the Town instead!
I did notice the steep 408 steps to the top, too much nearing the end of a day, and then I saw there was a cable car, the shortest and steepest cable-car ride to be found anywhere in the world!
Can you imagine how steep the step's would be, better than a gym workout whilst on holiday!
If you have a Car, there also is a road to the Citadel.
The Prince-Bishop of Liege built the first fortress during the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1466 and rebuilt in 1530 on the same site.
A visit takes you to the prison, torture room and military museum where you learn about the life and history of the citadel. The terrace is 300 feet above the river, offering a view to remember!
Food & Drink is available
OPEN...April - September Daily (cable car open) From 10 am to 6 pm
October - March 10 - 4.30 pm
January: Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays only (cable car open) 10 - 4.30pm
Daily guided tours in season.
Off-season: detailed map available - guided tours weekends and school holidays only or on request (groups) takes 1 hour
ADMISSION IN 2011...Adults: 7.50 €....Children (4 to 12 years) 5.50 €
9 km's from the E411 motorway Brussels-Luxembourg, exit 20
When the cable car is closed (off-season), disabled persons can reach the Citadel only via the top entrance
Two free parking lots for cars - bicycle stall (top of the Citadel)
We took a cookies tour (€4 per person) for about 45 min. The cookie is made only from flour and honey! You should not bite the cookie as it is very hard, just put it in your mouth and it will slowly dissolve..
This structure is located nearby the main bridge and next to Notre Dame cathedral, very visible from even the train station. To enter it, you should pay some fee (forgot how much but less than €10/person). It is located high up on the hill and you could access there by stair (more than 400 staircases) or by cable car. The entrance fee includes free guide. Once in there, wait for a guide (usually older men) in the courtyard in front of the shops inside the citadelle, he would give flyers (somehow I think they can guess which tourist who doesn't speak french nor dutch) in your languages (I got english). Just follow him when he starts. My guide started in french and dutch - i think this is their main languages - but ended up in explaining in English too as soon as he realized that there were many English speakers in his group. It was a nice tour about the history, tour around the citadelle (including the prison and a replication of a bunker if hit by a bomb). After the tour, don't be stingy, give some of your coins to your guide !
will ad pics later
There is a small cave system here in Dinant that for teh price of 5.5 Euro you can spend an hour exploring with the guide. The guide (Robert I believe his name was) will gladly explain in about 10 languages and we were surprised to know that he knew many technical terms and the flora and fauna in HEBREW... While not as impressive as some other cave systems in Belgium (like Han for example), it was a fun visit. Sorry have no pictures, for some reason, photographer error I think, no pictures came out well.
The Meuse is the large river which runs through Dinant. Starting high in France on the Langres Plateau. This 900km river winds through France, Belgium and the Netherlands before finally reaching the North Sea after merging in a delta with the Rhine.
I saw plenty of advertising for river boat trips, evening dinner cruises, so it is obviously a popular activity here, we didnt really have the waether to enjoy a cruise so gave it a miss.