Wallonia is the French-speaking southern part of Belgium. It is wedged between Flanders in the North and France in the South-West, while Luxembourg and Germany share its Eastern border. This region has an immense historical and cultural wealth which is made visible through its buildings, its works of art and its festivals. Every turn of a corner will bring you something new.
As you can see, most of the provinces share their name with the main city (or the nearby country), which makes is a bit complicated. But remember that Flanders has a region called Flemish Ardennes, and the Netherlands has North-Brabant, all for historical reasons.
- Namur - the capital of the Walloon Region
Nowadays, Wallonia is one of the three federal regions of Belgium (the other two being Flanders and Brussels). This means that it has its own government, a parliament and separate laws. The capital of Wallonia is Namur, near its geographic center.
Wallonia used to have a very good economy, mostly based on charcoal-industry. After the World Wars the industry didn't renew itself fast enough. Because of that the economy is now lagging behind Flanders' economy.
The official language of Wallonia is French, except in the nine municipalities forming the German-speaking Community along the German border. It is very hard to find a German speaker elsewhere in Wallonia outside this region, as French is the native language of many, is spoken throughout the region and also in Brussels though basically all, if not all, also speak French.
Foreign languages are not as widely spoken in Wallonia as in Flanders. Dutch is learnt in schools by many but people in Wallonia do not like to speak it in general. It is easier to find young people who can speak English but it can be hard to have a conversation in English with someone who is 40+. Surprisingly, Spanish is the third most spoken foreign language.
At any rate it can be very hard to find tourist and other useful information in English, even in famous tourist locations.
- Formula One racing (Spa). On the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
- Major Mining Sites of Wallonia — a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of four 19th century coal mines in the provinces of Liège and Hainaut; Grand Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois-du-Cazier and the Blegny.
- Belfries of Belgium and France — out of the 56 belfries making up this geographically large world heritage site, seven are located in Wallonia.