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Mons (Dutch: Bergen, not to be confused with the namesake city in Norway) is the capital of the Belgian province of Hainaut, in the region of Wallonia. The town is a worthy place to base yourself for a multi-day exploration of the Hainaut region.
Mons was the European Capital of Culture in 2015, together with Plzeň in the Czech Republic.
- 1 Mons station, Boulevard Charles Quint. A new station is under construction. There is a temporary station close to the construction site. There are regular train links with Brussels, Charleroi, Tournai, all nodes in the Belgian train network. The national railway company of Belgium is called SNCB in French.
Take the Mons exit from the E19/E42
- 2 Marina (Port de plaisance), Avenue du Grand Large 2 (in an artificial lake named "Grand Large"), ☏ +32 65 87 48 90, email@example.com. The marina is fitted with bathrooms and a club-house. It is linked with the French and Dutch canal networks.
A free shuttle service runs between 07:00 and 21:00. The shuttles run along three circuits, all of which terminate at the train station Gare B. All run past Sainte Waudru and the Grand Place.
- 1 Grand Place. The centre of the historic town and the stage for the annual mock-battle of the Lumeçon.
- 2 City Hall, Grand Place 22. It was built near the current location of the belfry, and was moved on the Grand Place in the 13th century. The flamboyant gothic building we see today dates from the 15th century. In front of it stands a statue of a monkey, which is said to bring good fortune to those who pat his head.
- 3 Collegiate Church of Saint Waltrude (Collégiale Sainte-Waudru), Rue du Chapitre 3. Paradoxically a good specimen of Brabantic Gothic architecture.
- 4 Belfry (Beffroi). Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates from the 17th century and is the only Baroque-style belfry in Belgium.
- 5 Van Gogh House (Maison Van Gogh), 3 Rue du Pavillon, Cuesmes 7033, ☏ +32 65 35-56-11, +32 65 33-55-80. Tu-Sa 10:30-12:30, 13:30-18:00. Cuesmoise the house where he lived from August 1879 to October 1880, was saved from ruin in the 1970s and is now accessible to the public. €5.
- 6 Spanish House, Rue des Clercs 32. Dates back to the 16th century and was built entirely out of bricks.
- 7 Museum François Duesberg, Square Franklin Delano Roosevelt 12, ☏ +32 65 84 16 56. M W F closed, Tu Th Sa Su 14:00—19:00. Museum devoted to the decorative arts from the period 1775 to 1825 located in the former building of the National Bank of Belgium. The items are in a wonderful condition.
- 8 Doudou Museum (Musée du Doudou), Jardin du Mayeur, ☏ +32 65 40 53 18. Tu-Su 10:00 — 18:00, M closed. This museum is entirely dedicated to the crazy Ducasse celebrations that yearly take place in Mons. You will learn about the history of the event. The audio content is in French, English and Dutch. €9 adult, €6 concession.
- 9 Mons Memorial Museum, Boulevard Dolez 51, ☏ +32 65 40 53 38. Tu-Su 10:00 — 18:00, M closed. The exhibits on display from the City of Mons give the visitors more insight in the two world wars that turned the 20th century upside down. €9 adult, €6 concession, €2 child.
- 10 Beaux-Arts Mons (BAM), Rue Neuve 8, ☏ +32 65 40 53 25. Tu-Su 10:00 — 18:00, M closed. Museum displaying contemporary art with interesting temporary exhibitions. €9 adult, €6 concession, €2 child.
- 11 Silex's. You can visit a silex mine dating back to the Neolithic period. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 1 Cinema Imagix, Boulevard André Delvaux 1, ☏ +32 65 35 73 73.
- The Ducasse de Mons or Doudou is the name of a week-long series of festivities or Ducasse, which originates from the 14th century and takes place every year on Trinity Sunday. Highlights include:
- The entrusting of the reliquary of Saint Waltrude to the mayor of the city on the eve of the procession.
- The placement of the reliquary on the Car d’Or (golden carriage), before it is carried in the city streets in a colourful procession that counts more than a thousand costumed participants.
- The lifting of the Car d’Or on a paved area near the church of Saint Waltrude; tradition holds that this operation must be successful for the city to prosper.
- The Lumeçon fight, where Saint George confronts the dragon. The fight lasts for about half an hour, accompanied by the rhythmic "Doudou" music. The tradition of the processional dragon is listed among the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
- 1 Les Grands Prés, Place des Grands Prés 1, ☏ +32 65 31 27 18. The biggest mall of the city located quite near to the centre.
- 2 L'Instant Thé, Rue des Fripiers 12, ☏ +32 65 58 68 14, firstname.lastname@example.org. The place to be in Mons if you want to buy good quality tea.
- 3 Mimolette Cacahuète, Rue des Fripiers 15, ☏ +32 65 84 54 00. M Su closed, Tu-Th 09:00 — 15:00, F 09:00 — 17:00, Sa 09:30 — 18:00. Cheese from Piedmont and other places.
- 1 La Cédraie, Rue des Capucins 39.
- 2 Restaurant Henri, Rue d'Havré 41.
- 3 Ma Breizh, Rue de la Clef 50. Savory crepes
- 4 Jebneh, Rue des Fripiers 42. Syrian
- 5 Snack Boston (Hallal), Rue de la Petite Guirlande 6. Hallal food
- 6 Chez Gisele, Av. Joseph Wauters 206.
- 7 New Saveur d'Asie, Rue du Miroir 1. Vietnamese
- 8 El Camerluche, Rue des Fripiers 16. €20-30.
- 9 L'Envers, Rue de la Coupe 20. €30-40.
- 10 La Marmite de Simone, Rue d'Havré 44. €40-50
- 11 Gurkha Cuisine, 10, place du, Marché aux Herbes. Nepalese €20-30.
- 12 Les Gribaumonts, Rue d'Havré 95.
- 13 Le Comptoir de Marie, Rue d'Enghien 8.
- 14 L'Art des Mets, Rue des Clercs 9.
- 1 Mons Youth Hostel, Rampe du Château, 2 (In the city centre), ☏ +32 65 87 55 70.
- 2 Hotel Infotel, Rue d'Havré 32, ☏ +32 65 40-18-30.
- 3 Ibis Hôtel Mons, Boulevard Charles Quint 27 (400m from Gare), ☏ +32 65 84-74-40.
- 4 St-James Hotel, Place de Flandre 8, ☏ +32 65 72-48-11.
- 5 Van der Valk Hotel Mons Congres, Avenue Mélina Mercouri 7, 7000 Mons, ☏ +32 65 39 02 07, email@example.com.
- 6 Dream, Rue de la Grande Triperie 17, 7000 Mons, ☏ +32 65 32 97 20.
- The historic town of Nimy is a few kilometers to the north up the N6.
- The Grand-Large Marina is close to the Imagipark amusement park, and is a good place to start a canal tour of the local waterways.
- The MAC's in Grand-Hornu (via TEC Bus lines 7 and 9) is a beautiful museum in a superb historic industrial coal site. Visit also the places near Grand-Hornu where Vincent Van Gogh lived.
- Cambron-Casteau — home to Pairi Daiza, a popular animal park north of Mons on the way to Ath.