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Namur

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Namur

Namur banner.jpg

Namur is the capital of Wallonia, the French-speaking southern part of Belgium.

Understand[edit]

Namur.jpg

Namur is located 60 km south-east of Belgium's capital city, Brussels. It is easily accessible by road (the E411 highway from Brussels), train or boat (the Meuse comes from France and the Samber flow through Namur where they actually meet).

Get around[edit]

Namur is a smallish city and can easily be discovered on foot. The major areas to visit are the centre of Namur itself, the Citadelle and then the areas along the Meuse and the Sambre.

The Centre of Namur sits between the Namur railway station and the junction of the Meuse and the Sambre. The city is easy and nice to walk around in, as many of the older streets are pedestrian. Saturday morning is market day and most streets in the centre are then occupied by market stalls.

The Citadelle de Namur [1], a historical fortress surrounded by a large parc is strategically placed on a hill between the Meuse and the Sambre. The Romans built a small city a the foot of the hill early in the first century. Later on, from the 9th century on, the place was gradually fortified to enable it to defend the region, and became a principal residence for the Counts of Namur. From then on the Citadelle has played a role in the history of the country. It is a great place for historical, as well as nature walks. The top of the Citadelle offers a great view of the surrounding areas.

At the foot of the Citadelle, there is a bridge crossing to the other site of the Meuse, where Jambes is located.

Cycling is not too popular with the locals, as the region is fairly hilly. But the city is trying to promote the usage of bikes. Programs such as "li bia velo"( meaning "the nice bike" in Walloon enable members to rent a bike by picking it up in one station and drop it off at the another. See http://en.libiavelo.be for more informations. There are great walking and/or cycling tours to make along the rivers as both the Sambre and the Meuse have, generally on both sides, paths from where in the past boats used to be pulled. Check Ravel network

Parking in the city can be an issue. The local bus company in Wallonia, the TEC provide "P+R" buses between two car parks in the outer city and the center of the city. The line number is 51 and the two car parks are named "P+R Saint-Nicolas" and "P+R Namur Expo". If you can speak french, you can check it out on the website of the TEC.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Much of the old city is beautiful. The traditional houses are in what is called a Mosan style, made of grey stones and bricks, with black slate roofs. The Place du Vieux Marché, also called place Marché aux Légumes is great to have a bite, a drink and relax. The old 'cafe' Le Ratintot does not offer food, but you can go to the Maison de Saint Aubain, around the corner, rue de l'Ange. They will make you a great sandwich, you can eat on the terrace of the Ratintot. Building to keep an eye out for are 14th century, UNESCO classified Beffroi, the Baroque Saint Loup church, the 18th century Cathedral Saint-Aubain and the Saint-Nicolas Church.
  • The citadel is a big tourist attraction. It is situated on a hill between to the river Meuse and the river Sambre. The Citadelle is a fortified castle, surrounded by a large park. The building of the castle started in the 9th century. Over the years the castle, as seat of regional power and defenses, withstood many sieges. It still hosts a remarkable networks of underground escape routes and ways, which can be visited. A small museum explores the history of the place. See http://www.citadelle.namur.be for more details.
  • On a rainy day, the Museum of Old Namurois Art is also worth a visit. It has recorded guiding in English and a collection of Medieval and Renaissance Christian art. The Archaeological Museum, mostly displaying artifacts from Roman Namur, is less organised and interesting. You can also check the small museum of Felicien Rops, a local XIXth century painter, influenced by Baudelaire [2]. If you are interested in XVIII century furniture, make sure to go through the museum of Groesbeeck de Croix.
  • On no account should the exhibition the the Musee d'arts Ancien, rue de Fer on the treasure of Hugo d'Oignies be missed. [3]
  • Explore walking areas along the rivers Meuse and Sambre.

Do[edit][add listing]

Hire a bicycle and cycle up and through the Citadel. Most of the access road is mostly wide and uninteresting, so if you want to walk, make sure to go by the stairs coming from the gronon (the car park between the Meuse and Sambre rivers next to where they join together). There is also a network of mountain bike itineraries beginning and ending in Namur, but the signage, which was very good at the beginning, with large coloured arrows painted on the road, suddenly vanished without explanation.

A tour company in nearby Dinant (Les Kayaks Bleus, www.lessekayaks.be) organises river kayaking trips. It would probably be possible to paddle downstream all the way to Holland and the North Sea.

One weekend per year, at the end of September or the beginning of October, a big fair called "Fêtes de Wallonies" takes place. It involves drinking a lot of alcohol, mainly the a local type called "Peket". During the afternoon, many concerts, some in Walloons, are given. Avoid staying too late as most activities ends after the evening and then streets consist mostly of a lot of drunk people.

There are public swimming pools in Salzinnes and Jambes.

Learn[edit]

  • University of Namur (Facultés universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix) [4]. More than 5,000 students.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Namur is often said to be an "open sky" shopping mall. Major shopping streets stretch from the Namur train station to Rue de Fer and Rue de l'Ange where you will find normal fashion outlets like H&M, Newlook,Zara, Kim Pie,Cool Cats, O' Appels, Charles Vogele Switzerland, Esprit, JBC, C& A, Women's secret, ICL Paris IV, Di, Camaieu among others.

The inner city supermarkets are one Match and one (smaller) Spar. Other supermarkets are Carrefour and COlruyt in Jambes and another Colruyt and Delhaize in Salzinnes among others.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • La Maison du Dessert (rue Marcinelle) is reputed for having the best desserts in town. You cannot go past this place.
  • Pâtisserie Café Dumont (Rue de Marchovelette 21) has waffles with whipped cream and melted chocolate that are downright decadent. They also sell great ice cream. Opening hours 07:30 to 18:30 Monday to Saturday (so one could have breakfast there), 14:30 to 18:30 on Sundays.
  • Le Panorama restaurant, on the Citadel (Route Merveilleuse 82, Tel. 081/222804) has a terrace with a great view over the city and the river and a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Plat du jour costs under €10.
  • The Maison Saint-Aubain, rue de l'Ange offers great local and European delicatessen and will make you a fresh sandwich with whatever they are selling.
  • Le Chemin du Cedre (Rue Saint Loup 4) has great Lebanese food at moderate prices. The 'prestige plate' is a very nice set of small dishes. Lovely nice garden.
  • Good open sandwiches at Le Père Gourmandin (Rue du Président 8).
  • The Saturday market for buying fresh local food.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The drink places on the Place du Marche aux Legumes - a favorite spot for young people in summer
  • Galler is a chocolate shop-cum-café. The café is exquisitely old-fashioned and offers a wide range of hot chocolates. Les Thés de Sophie also sells and serves speciality teas.
  • Peanuts, Rue de l'Ouvrage 3. Nice beers and a cosy terrace.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • The Youth Hostel is right by the river and it has free unlimited Wi-Fi, a nice view, a good self-catering kitchen and a bar. They close all common areas by 23:00, however. Guests are required to wash their own dishes after breakfast.
  • Grand Hotel Le Flandre. Right in front of the railway station; the rooms are ok, breakfast is good. Check the regular sites (Booking.com, Tripadvisor etc.) for offers: double rooms can be had for as low as 69 euros.
  • Gites du vieux Namur [5]: four guesthouses located in the city centre.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Dinant, located about 30 km from Namur upstream, is worth a visit. The place is easily accessible by train and car. If you are up there, do visit de museum of Bouvignes [6] which focusses on the medieval heritage of the region.

Brussels is a 40 minutes train trip from Namur.

Namur might also be your gateway to the Ardennes and Luxembourg. There is an international train going to Basel, Switzerland and from there to Zurich and Chur.



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A TGV runs daily from Namur to Paris, allowing you to reach Paris in 2h30.

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