As in most of the towns and cities in this part of the world, if you come to Namur on Saturday morning, you will see that almost the whole of the city center is occupied by a lively open air market, where there is always something interesting to buy.
Just a map of Belgium so that you know where Namur is situated.
It is about 54 km from the Belgian capital of Brussels !
Namur is also the gateway to Belgian's Ardennes for some of us who like hikings & seeing great mountain sceneries...
The convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame (Couvent des Soeurs de Notre Dame) , situated in the rue Julie-Billiard, 17 is home to one of the most important and most beautiful art treasures in Belgium and Wallonia. Friar Hugo made this splendid collection of religious artifacts for a priory in the town of Oignies, now situated in the Belgian province of Hainaut. The treasure is proof that the work of the goldsmiths and artists of the Meuse Valley had reached an amazing level of skill and artistry by the 13th century. The art style of the Mosan artists would be replaced as from the 14th century by the French gothic style.
Items from the treasure : the relic-holder of St. Martin (above), detail of the cover for the gospel (middle), a selection of relic-holders (under left).
The treasure can be visited : at the convent of 'Les Soeurs de Notre Dame' , rue Julie Billiart 17 - 5000 Namur. Tel : +32-(0)81- 23.03.42. Daily from 10 am to 12 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm, except on Tuesdays, Sunday mornings, public holidays and from 11 November till 26 December. For groups, please reserve a few days in advance.
The week-end of 22nd and 23rd was the weekend des arts in Namur.
Everywhere they celebrate.
This happening is done every year around the same time.
This band was performing at the citadel.
More info later in my travelogues!
MONCRABEAU OF NAMUR : another part of the Folklore !
They created the hymn of Namur ...
The term Moncrabeau comes from the name of a french village that becomes famous because its inhabitants are known as persistent jokers ! Moncrabeau has a literary circle where people to be integrated has to tell the most stupid joke !
It's now considered to be the one of the most spectacular costumes in the Belgian Folklore. The society has also philantropic aims. You can meet themm during 'The Fêtes de Wallonie', the 3rd weekend of September.
Culture is very interesting in Namur area : Felicien ROPS (painter, artist, lithographer) ; Arthur MASSON (writer on rural life) ; Adolphe SAX (inventor of the saxophone) ; Brother MUTIEN MARIE (recently sanctified by Pope Jean Paul II) ; Jules DUCULOT (printer who made the belgian grammarian dictionnary) ; Henri MICHAUX (poet) ...
FELICIEN ROPS MUSEUM : located in a former hotel de maître (period house) at the heart of the old part of the City. Not far from the birthplace of the artist. The museum has on display all aspects of the artist's work (1833-1898) and also a technical introduction to the diversity of his talents (etching, drawing, peinting). Phone (32) (81) 22.01.10, fee : 100 FB.
A wonderful painter, designer, illustrator
and engraver,FELICIEN ROPS is one of the most illustrious citi-zens of Namur.
The centenary of his death is celebrated in 1998 from his museum in Namur as far as Paris.
ROPS MUSEUM : rue FUMAL, 5000 Namur
FOLKLORE : ECHASSEURS NAMUROIS :According to the legend wich dates back to the earliest days of the 14th century, the very noble Jean de Flandre, then overlord of the county of Namur, assaulted the town of Namur and reduced it through starvation to submission. The count refused the pardon implored by the Notables of the City and said No, no, I wont forgive, should you come on foot, on horseback, by boat or by cart. The people of the City were malicious and appeared before the count on stilts. Amused by this ruse, the count adreed to forgive.
A more plausible version of the origins of this famous game is given by an historian Mr Rousseau. In the Middle-age, whenever the Meuse, the Sambre or the Houyoux rivers were flooding, the streets of the City were under water. In such circumstances the inhabitants of Namur started the habit of using stilts. This way of moving around became quickly a game. The young people displayed their strength, their skill and their agility through this game. They used to be divided into two groups: the ones living in the old town were called Melans and the other born in the new town used to call themselves Avresses. Each group had a captain and distinguished from the other by the colors of the stilts: yellow and black the colors of the City for the Melans, red and white for the Avresses. When there was a fight they drew up in line. At the sound of the drums, the two groups moved forward and made their way to the place where the fight would take place. The fighters aim is to make fall the opponent by using their elbows or their stilts.
Still today, young people from Namur perpetuate this popular game by spectacular animated fights in wich the history and tradition of the City of Namur are brought to life again. Their fights are also much appreciated abroad where their appear to be the best ambassadors of the rich walloon folklore.
even if people don't go any more to the church, Belgium stays a catholic country.
In most cities and villages, you will find what we call 'small patrimony' or 'small heritage', I mean Chapel.
This one is located in La Bruyere, where I lived before coming in Brussels.
For more pictures: see travelogues or visit virtually under: www.grotte-de-han.be
To visit the caves you first take a small train. When reaching the entry you have to walk for about 3km inside the mountain. The visit is about 1 hour and 1/2 with a humid and cold temperature (which is constant during the whole year: 13C).
The Belgian FOLKLORE is very rich.
And Namur too.
This is 'les Echasseurs Namurois'.
They found their origin when Namur knew floodings in the last centuries.
Belgians are very proud of their driving skills so respect them and always yield the right of way. Namur castle in background