Liège  is the capital of the Belgian province of Province of Liège, and the main city of the Liège agglomeration. Liège can be considered the cultural capital of Wallonia, even though Namur is the official capital, and Charleroi is marginally bigger. And even though it is mainly famous for its industrial past - and infamous for the subsequent decline, it is a varied city with a lot of history and culture, a dramatic setting on the Meuse river and a large student population. The city is rapidly modernising, and as a result will become even more worth visiting in years to come!
Liège has a population of about 200,000, while its agglomeration - which is also home to the towns of Ans, Herstal, Seraing and Saint-Nicolas - has a population of about 750,000, making it the third largest in Belgium, after Brussels and Antwerp. Liège is not far from the border, and the Dutch city of Maastricht and the German city of Aachen are about half an hour away.
Liège has been an important city since the early Middle Ages, when it was the capital of the Prince-bishopric of Liège, which was to remain an independent state until the French Revolution in 1789. Liège grew to be the center of one of the world's first industrialised (coal and steel) regions outside the U.K. in the early 19th century, which led to the immigration of many Italians - who make up 5% of the population today - in the 20th century. Nowadays, Liège is home to numerous nationalities.
The central area of Liège is rather an interesting combination of a historic neighbourhoods (dotted with a few extremely brutalist buildings from the 1960s and 70s), rather elegant 19th century ones with wide boulevards, tall apartment buildings (including Art Deco ones), the Meuse river and a few pretty parks. The outskirts of Liège can be divided into three distinct areas: large, sprawling industrial complexes on the river's bank around Herstal in the north and Seraing in the south, working class areas to the east of the river, and leafy neighbourhoods on the hills to the west and south-east.
Liège has a dramatic natural setting at the meeting point of the Ardennes, Condroz, Land of Herve and Hesbaye regions. Part of Liège University is located at Sart-Tilman, which lies on a forested hill on the edge of the latter. The Ourthe flow into the Meuse in Liège, while the Vesdre flows into the former in the neighbourhood of Chênnée.
Liège might not be the typical tourist destination, but many will be surprised to find a city with a special character and friendly, open inhabitants who enjoy their lives there. As is the case in the rest of Belgium, finding a good meal is no problem in Liège, and the 44,000 students who live there make sure that there is a significant nightlife, even on weekdays!
Saint-Martins Basilica seen from the slopes of Saint-Walburghe
Palais of the Prince-Bishops
19th century architecture on Avenue Rogier
Boulevard de la Constitution
Rue des Récolets and the church of Saint-Nicolas.
The natural history museum
French is the native language of most people in Liège, and there are more Italian and Spanish speakers than there are speakers of Dutch, Belgium's other major language. Some students are native German speakers, as a small part in the east of the Province of Liège is German speaking. English is not widely spoken, but understood by some.
- Liège airport  specialises in freight and is Europe's 7th larges cargo airport. It nonetheless serves passenger destinations (both charter and regular) such as: Agadir, Alicante,Bodrum, Catania, Corfu, Djerba, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Izmir, Las Palmas, Malaga, Monastir, Palma de Mallorca, Pristina, Rhodes, Tel Aviv and Tenerife. Reaching the city center by public transportation is a bit tricky. Check the TEC (Walloon bus service) website for further information.
- Brussels Airport  is your most likely point of entry into Belgium, and Liège can be reached by train via Louvain/Leuven or Brussels-North station.
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport , which is located in Charleroi, 60 kilometers to the south of Brussels, is a hub for low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Wizzair. Take city bus Line A from outside the airport departures hall to Charleroi-Sud train station for €3. From here there are direct trains to Liège every hour between 5.00 and 23.00. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Maastricht-Aachen Airport  Ryan air flies on some routes from this Airport, which is about 40 kilometers from Liège, near the Dutch city of Maastricht. To get to Liège, take a bus to Maastricht and a train to Liège.
- Cologne-Bonn Airport is served by Wizzair, and is about an hour and a half from Liège by train.
- Frankfurt Airport  has a thrice daily direct high-speed train link to Liège-Guillemins. Higher frequencies can be found in Cologne, which is on the way.
The city's main railway station - Liège-Guillemins - is located in the south-western part of the city. The station is served by Thalys  and ICE  high speed trains to and from Brussels, Paris, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt.
Direct intercity trains run hourly from Brussels (1 hour), Namur (50 minutes), Aachen (50 minutes) and Luxembourg, while regular regional trains serve Maastricht (30 minutes) and other towns.
Liège-Guillemins is located 3 kilometers, or 20-25 minute walk from the city center. The cheapest way to get to the center bar walking, is to take a regional train to Liège-Palais station (6 minutes, direction: Herstal, Liers). The ticket you used on the train to Liège will still be valid on this train.
Alternatively, you can take bus number 1, 4 (direction 'Opera') or 48 (direction 'Place Saint-Lambert') for €2.40 (one way), or taxi for about €8-10 euros.
Liège lies at the crossroads of several major motorways. Its "ring" has 6 branches:
- the E25 south to Luxembourg and the French cities of Metz, Nancy and Lyon.
- the E42 to the west crosses most of Wallonia, passing Namur, Charleroi and Mons before heading to Valeniciennes and Paris, France.
- the E40 leads west to Brussels and the Belgian coast.
- the E313 to Antwerp and the large coastal cities of the Netherlands in the north-west.
- the E25, to Maastricht (30 km) and the rest of the Netherlands in the north.
- the E40 to Aachen (Germany) and further east. The E42 branches in a southern direction at Battice, heading to Verviers and Trier(Germany).
Liège is signposted on many motorways. Simply follow the E25 to its end and follow the signs to the center when coming from Germany or the Netherlands.
Exit at 'Angleur' and follow 'Centre', or take the exit 'Liège-Centre' when coming from Luxembourg. And finally, follow the signs to Luxembourg until you reach the 'Liège-Centre' exit when coming from Paris, Lille, Brussels or Antwerp. Take note that Liège is indicated as 'Luik' on motorways in Flanders.
Liège is well-connected to the Eurolines  network. Tickets can be bough online or at the Eurolines office on Rue des Guillemins, near the station.
People arriving in their own boat are welcome at the Port des Yachts.
Many organised cruises from Maastricht stop on Quai Van Beneden.
Unlike in most Belgian cities, where the inner rings were built along the paths of the old ramparts, Liège's main roads were laid out along old branches of the Meuse, which sometimes makes navigating them a bit more difficult.
There are many parking garages in the city center.
The main routes for cars are:
- the E40 and E25 motorways, that cross parts of the city
- the Boulevards "d'Avroy" and "de la Sauvenière", which connect the center to the Guillemins station
- the Quais "de la Meuse" and "de la Dérivation", which connect with the E25 in the north and south
As in the rest of Wallonia, bus transport in Liège is provided by TEC .
Most lines into Liège converge at on of the city's central bus "terminals" - Gare Léopold, Place Saint-Lambert, Place de la République Française or Opéra - which are very close to each other. Therefore, all buses marked with one of these destinations are heading for the center.
Line 1 (direction 'Coronmeuse') and 4 (direction 'Bavière') connect Guillemins station to the center, while the return journey is marked 'd'Harscamp'.
Some lines depart from the intersection of Boulevard d'Avroy and Rue Pont d'Avroy, near to the main shopping streets.
Take note that few lines run after midnight.
Bus stops and buses alike are currently being equipped with digital signs indicating departures or next stops, though travelers should be aware that they are not always well synchronised. The bus service is also becoming increasingly better suited to the needs of disabled travelers.
Free schedules and maps are available at the bus termiminals and at Guillemins station.
The city center can be traveled by bike, though one should be aware that most main roads are a bit dangerous. Cyclists can use one-way streets in both directions when it is marked 'sauf (bike symbol)', which is usually the case.
The steep hills make cycling outside the center is a bit more difficult, and reaching higher neighbourhoods requires both training and a multi-speed bike!
Cycle paths are regularly added and improved, and parts of the Wallonia-wide network of foot and bike-paths (Ravel)pass through the city, most notably along the river. A map of the Ravel is available at the tourist office.
- La Maison des Cyclistes  - bike rentals
Walking is the best way to see the city, and most of the central part of Liège - including some green areas - are within walking distance.
- The Aquarium which is housed in the same neo-classical building as the Maison de la Science and Zoological institute is the most visited museum in Wallonia, as well as one of the cheapest places in Europe to see a man-eating shark! (Quai Van Beneden, aquarium and museum : 9AM-5PM Mo-Fr, 10AM - 6PM during school vacations, 1030AM-6PM on holidays, €5, +32 (0)4 366 5021 ; House of Science: restricted hours, €3 ; +32 (0)4 366 5015)
- Archéoforum  - an archeological site showcasing the remains of the three (successive) cathedrals that stood on the site, as well as those of a building from Roman times. (Place Saint-Lambert, Open 10AM-6PM from Tuesday to Saturday, 11AM-6PM on Sunday, closed on Monday, Guided tour: €5.50).
- BAL (Beaux-arts Liège, formerly ´Museum of Walloon Art´). Housed in an ugly 1970´s building that disrupts the streetscape of the Hors-Château area, this museum notheless houses both an interesting permenent collection of art from various periouds as well as exhibitions. (en Féronstrée 86, Open 1-6PM Tu-Sa, 11AM-4:30PM Su, closed Mo, 3,80€, +32 (0)4 221 9231).
- Cité des Miroirs - a recently renovated art-deco swimming pool that host exhibitions on photography.
- The Curtius Palace. This imposing 8-story building from the start of the 17th century was the store of a rich arms merchant. The nearby Hôtel de Hayme de Bomal (quai de Maestricht 8 and rue Feronstrée 122) was an official building under French rule and twice welcomed Napoleon. These two buildings and several other historic buildings provide the backdrop for the Museum Grand Curtius with its art and history collections.
- The Hôtel d’Ansembourg is now a museum, and can be recommended for its well-preserved interiour. (En Feronstrée 114, 1-6PM except Mondays, 3,80€, +32 (0)4 221 9402).
- Musée Grétry - (Rue des Récollets 34, 2PM-4PM Tu&Fr, 10AM-12PM Su, +32 (0)4 343 1610)
- The Museum of Religious Art (rue Mère Dieu 1) will be integrated into the future Museum Grand Curtius, but can now be visited separately. (Open 11AM-6PM Tu-Sa, 11AM-4PM Su, closed Mo, 3,80€, +32 (0)4 221 4225).
- Museum of Tchantchès - dedicated to the city's mascot, who is also the main character in local puppet theaters. (rue Surlet 56, 2-4 PM Su except July, Tu&Th, +32 (0)4 342 7575)
- The Public Transport Museum  is located in the Vennes area (Rue Richard Heintz 9, 1 March - 30 November, Weekdays: 10.00 – 12.00 and 13.30 – 17.00, Weekends and public holidays: 14:00 – 18:00, € 5,00 for adults and € 2,00 for groups)
- The Museum of Walloon Life is an ethnological mueseum hosted in an old convent. (Cour des Mineurs, closed for renovation until spring 2008, +32 (0)4 237 9040).
Cityscape and architecture
Though too messy for the tastes of some people in neighbouring countries, Liège offers a fascinating mix of buildings to people who are passionate about all styles of pre-war architecture. For as well as the industrial wastelands, motorways and occasional brutalist monstrosity that gave it its bad name, the city's long history of both ecclesiastical and industrial power have left it with an an impressive heritage that encompasses medieval and Victorian architecture, art-nouveau, art-deco, early modernism and everything in between.
As it is located in the steep-sided valley of the Meuse, Liège is also home to numerous stairways - that often lead to spectacular views.
Center and adjacent areas
The city center can be roughly divided into two halves, with Place Saint-Lambert and Rue Léopold between the two:
The northern part of the center - which goes by the name of Hors-Château - is the best preserved, and contains numerous listed buildings as well many of its main sights:
- Whoever thought the Montmartre or the Potemkin steps were impressive should see Liège's Montagne de Bueren, the 373 step stairway that leads up to a magnificent view of Liège from the Citadel!
- The area around Rue Hors Château and En Feronstrée are worth visiting for the many beautiful examples of the regional 'Mosan'-style architecture, that date back to medieval times. Examples include:
- The Couvent des Carmes (1654) on Rue Hors-Château.
- The recently renovated Church of Saint Barthélémy - which was built at the end of the 11th century, as the last of seven "collégiales liégeoises" - hosts the font of a local parish church, that can be considered a masterpiece of medieval goldsmithery. It is located between Rue Hors-Château and En Ferenstrée (rue Saint Barthélémy 2, open 10-12AM and 2-5PM from Monday to Saturday, and 2-5PM on Sundays, 1,25€, +32 (0)4 223 4998).
- Cour Saint Antoine - a courtyard between Rue Hors-Château and En Feronstrée - is worth a visit for its tasteful contemporary Mosan architecture (1980's) by Liège architect Charles Vanderhove.
- The Impasses - a series of picturesque alleyways off Rue Hors-Château, with a view on the green slopes of the hill of the citadel.
- Pierreuse - A small area of steep, medieval streets behind Liège-Palais station (Rue Pierreuse, Rue Volière, Fond Saint Servais and Au Péry) that lead up to the citadel. The 16th century Chapel of Saint-Roche on Rue Volière is magnificent, but sadly only open on heritage days. The equally picturesque Church of Saint-Servais lies just a few doors down from Saint-Roche.
- The beautiful hillside gardens of the Cotteaux can be reached from Rue Pierreuse in the daytime, but are closed at night. The hillside between Rue Saint-Walburghe and Rue de Campine - which can be accessed from the top of Rue de Campine, a short walk from the top of Rue Pierreuse, or from a stairway halfway up Rue Saint-Walburge - is a pleasant piece of nature with a nice view of Saint-Martin's Basilica.
Place du Marché and Place Saint-Lambert
The southern end of Hors-Château is marked by Place du Marché, a square lined with cafe's, 15th century houses and the elegant town hall.The 'salle des pas perdus' (room of lost steps) is open to visitors, though the rest of the town hall - which was destroyed by the French in 1691 and rebuilt in 1714 - is usually closed. The Perron - the monumental fountain that is the symbol of the city's freedom - stands in the middle of the square.
Place Saint Lambert - which is adjacent to Place du Marché, and at the front of Liège-Palais station - is considered the heart of Liège. The square was home to the Our Lady of Saint-Lambert Cathedral until it was demolished by the citizens of Liège in the wake of the French revolution in the early 19th century. The cathedral is commemorated today by two rows of metal columns and tracings of its former contours on the ground. Sadly, Place-Lambert and the adjacent area around the Opera were further damaged by planners in the '70's, resulting in it being no more than a hole in the cityscape for years to come. Nonetheless, some tasteful new buildings have been built in recent years, and some old ones still remain:
- The Prince-Bishops' Palace - which now houses the law-court and provincial government - occupies the northern side of the square, as a testament to the former power of this monarchy. The building has a beautiful courtyard, a neo-classical facade on the Place Saint-Lambert side, and a neo-gothic one on Place Notger. (unguided visit: €3.00, +32 (0)4 250 93 70.)
- The old part of the Ilot Saint-Michel - which lies behind the shopping center of the same name, and directly opposite Liège-Palais station - gives a good impression of what the area around Place Saint-Lambert used to look like. The area hosts a number of 18th century buildings and the collegiate of Sainte-Croix.
Saint-Margueritte and Saint-Martin
One of the most beautiful historic parts of Liège - the area that lies beyond Ilot Saint-Michel, around Saint-Martins Basilica (1506-1542) - is not actually part of the historic center, but a 16th century 'faubourg' (suburb). There are a number of stairways over the remains of the faubourg's ramparts:
- Thier de la Fontaine, which leads down from Rue du Mont Saint-Martin through the ramparts to the neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles to the south.
- Rue des Tissarands - on the opposite side of Rue du Mont Saint-Martin - leads down past the basilica to the multicultural neighbourhood of Sainte-Margueritte. Another staircase - Rue des Ramparts - climbs the small hill directly opposite Rue des Tissarands, and has a forgotten "lost world" quality.
Rue du Montagne Saint-Martin itself (and its extension Rue Saint-Laurent) are lined with old houses and a number of other notable buildings, such as Sainte-Gertrude's church and Saint-Laurent Abbey. Rue Monulphe is a pleasant, steep street leading down from Rue Saint-Laurent to Liège-Jonfosse station.
Cathédrale and Saint-Denis
The southern part of the center - to the south of Place Saint-Lambert and Rue Léopold - is slightly larger, and home to the neighbourhood of Saint-Denis and the area around the cathedral.
Though more rundown, Saint-Denis - which lies directly to the south of Rue Léopold along Rue de la Cathédrale - is just as old as Hors-Château, and has a certain charm of its own. The area boasts a myriad of architectural styles, with the highpoints being the 10th century Church of Saint-Denis, the adjacent square, and the monumental 19th century (former) post-office.
The area around Saint-Pauls Cathedral, Boulevard de la Sauvenière and Opéra is the part of the center with the most to do, eat, drink and buy (see the respective sections of this article), but has a mixed cityscape that also hosts more ugly buildings than the rest of the center. It nonetheless contains a number of interesting buildings, among others:
- Saint-Jacques church and the neighbouring Abbey of Beaurepart-en-Île, which are sadly flanked by some extremely ugly buildings to the north.
- Collegiate of Saint-Jean the evangelist.
- The Abbaye de la Paix Notre-Dame and Église du Saint-Sacrement on boulevard d'Avroy.
- The early modernist Athénée Léonie de Waha, also on Boulevard d'Avroy.
Outremeuse - which lies on the eastern bank of the Meuse, on an island between the former and the Dérivation de la Meuse - can be considered Liège's second center. It is a 'quartier populair' (even though some parts are quite middle-class) with a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere, and a 'Haussmann' style street layout that also accommodates narrow, medieval streets between the main Boulevards. Crime fiction writer Georges Simenon, who is best known for the Maigret series, was born in Outremeuse, and the atmosphere of his stories can still be felt in some parts of the neighbourhood.
Boulevard de la Constitution, Boulevard Saucy and the area around Place du Congrès and Rue Jean d'Outremeuse, have an elegant 19th century look, while Rue Gravioule, Rue des Tanneurs, Chaussée des Prés, Rue Puits-en-Sock, Rue Roture, Rue des Récollets, Rue Beauregard and Rue Fosse aux Raines have a more "medieval" look. The latter is home to the beautiful 18th century Church of Saint-Nicolas, the immediate neighbour of the youth hostel. (the church is open every day from 8AM to 12AM)
The southern point of the (Outrmeuse) island is occupied by Parc de la Boverie, a beautiful park that is flanked by the river on two sides, and by the Palais des Congrès and a street of art-nouveau and art-deco houses on the third side. The Museum of Modern Art - which is currently closed for renovation/expansion - is located in a neo-baroque building in the middle of the park. The park is also home to an aviary.
Liège's neo-Byzantine Synagogue - which is usually closed - is located close to Parc de la Boverie, on Rue Léon Frédéricq, an otherwise rather uninteresting street.
- While most of Liège has quite a varied cityscape, that of the south-eastern Vennes neighbourhood - around Boulevard Emile de Laveleye, Avenue du Luxembourg and Avenue Reine Elisabeth - is uniformly Art-Deco, and a fine example at that, even in a country that is rich in the style. The neighbourhood is home to both upmarket and council housing, as well as the Church of Saint-Vincent, which is located opposite Parc de la Boverie.
- Liège's main railway station - Liège-Guillemins - was designed by "starchitect" Santiago Calatrava, and is a tourist attraction in its own right.
- Parc Botanique is a pleasant park situated in an elegant 19th century neighbourhood.
- Cointe - which lies immediately behind Liège-Guillemins - is the leafy hilltop neighbourhood that is home to the art-deco Sacred-Heart church and WW1 memorial. Boulevard Gustav Kleyer has an impressive view over the city.
- Vaux-sous-Chêvremont - in the extreme south-east of the city - is a pleasent "village" on the Vesdre river. The hill of the Basilica of Chêvremont offers an excellent view over part of the city and the surrounding forests of the Condroz and Ardennes regions.
- Take a river cruise on a bateau-mouche (covered boat), departing from the amphitheater in front of the aquarium on Quai van Beneeden. From 1 Apr to 30 Oct (11AM, 1PM, 3PM and 5PM, €6, +32 (0)4 221 9221 et +32 (0)4 366 5021).
, the Secret Gardens and Corners Day (la journée Jardins et Coins secrets - 3rd Sunday in June), and the heritage days (les journées du patrimoine - end September) are other key dates in Liège.
- The Festival of Walking, in the second half of August, offers urban walks.
- A circuit is dedicated to Simenon (author of the Maigret stories), and a museum will be opening shortly
Festivals and celebrations
The people of Liège like to celebrate, and as result there are numerous festivals throughout the year, many of them with roots going far back in history. Most of them are crowned by spectacular firework displays, as these are another passion of the Liègeois. Festivals are free unless otherwise indicated.
- See numerous bands play at the Nocturne de la Music, which is held in Outremeuse over a weekend in June.
- Les Ardentes - a rock/pop/electronic music festival held in the north of the city, at Coronmeuse, in July. Tickets cost around 150,- for four days.
- The August 15th celebrations - which coincide with the Feast of the Assumption and are held in Outremeuse - welcome more than 300,000 visitors - locals and tourists alike - to an animated night rich in alcohol consumption.
- The Fêtes de Wallonie - which are held during the 2nd weekend in September - is a more high-brow event, with numerous concerts (pop, jazz and classical) and theatre productions. Tickets must be bought for performances that take place indoors.
- One of the best times to visit Liège is during the Nuit des Coteaux, when part of the city is transformed into a magical kingdom. The Montagne de Bueren and paths through the hillside gardens (Coteaux)are lined with candles, and live music and street performers can be enjoyed in hidden, romantic corners as well as in more urban settings. Many medieval buildings and alleyways that are usually closed to the public can be visited on this evening, and there is much food and drink (Gaufres!). The Nuit des Coteaux manages to accomodate everyone - from couples and families to the young and old, from drunks to heritage enthusiasts - in an easy-going environment. The evening is crowned by a spectacular twenty-minute firework display, which can be best viewed from the riverbank. It can be said that this festival - which is held on the first Saturday in October - is unique to Liège.
- The Foire d'Octobre has been held since the establishment of the city and is now one of biggest fun-fairs in Belgium. It is held on Boulevard d'Avroy from the first weekend in October to the second weekend in November (6 weeks).
- Liège has two Villages de Noel (Christmas Village), one of the biggest and oldest in the country being the one held on Place Saint-Lambert, and the other by Saint-Paul's Cathedral.
- There are numerous alcoholic student events throughout the year. Here you can see many students in dirty white coats begging for their beer-money, a part of Belgium's student tradition which is incomprehensible to foreigners.
Music and art venues
- The Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera, and Theater de la Place head up the cultural life in Liège.
- Le Forum (rue Pont d’Avroy 45), a small but exceptionally-decorated venue, offers concerts, comedy performances, etc. Country Hall (in the outskirts) is a relatively new venue for huge shows and sporting events.
- La Zone is the place in Liège for alternative and underground music and arts. Opens only on events, check their program on the web before going there. Non expensive bar with plenty of soft drinks, beers and wine.* La Zone (Music club), Quai de l'Ourthe, 42 - 4020 Liège, ☎ 043410727 ([email protected]), . edit
- Le Hangar -
- The Shamrock - there's nothing Irish about this small but cozy "Irish" pub that hosts concerts on friday evenings.
- Liège is the European city with the most theaters per person. Liège has an international reputation especially for its marionnette theaters, whose performances often involve the traditionnal folklore character Tchantchès in an unbelievably wide range of situations. The most-known marionnette theaters can be found at:
- Museum of Wallonian Life (Wednesdays and school holidays at 1430 and Sundays at 1030, Cour des Mineurs, +32 (0)4 237 9040, open even when the museum is closed.)
- Museum of Tchantchès (Oct to end Apr, Sundays at 1030 and Wednesdays at 1430, rue Surlet 56, +32 (0)4 342 7575)
- Theater Al Botroule - literally, "in the belly-button" - (Rue Hocheporte 3, +32 (0)4 223 0576)
- Theater Denis (Rue Sainte Marguerite 302, +32 (0)4 224 3154)
- Theater Mabotte (Rue Mabotte 125, Seraing +32 (0)4 233 8861)
- Le Trocadéro is the most Liégeois of Parisian cabarets, or the most Parisian of Liège cabarets, depending on how you look at it, while two other venues (La Bouch’rit and le Comiqu'Art) offer dinner-show combinations.
- Théatre de la Place - in a recently renovated neo-classical building.
- Movie theaters include Le Parc and Le Churchill for European films; Le Sauvenière, Le Palace and Kinepolis for big-name blockbusters.
- There are numerous sports clubs including, oddly enough, three different rowing clubs. RCAE, a university club but open to everyone, offers a range of sports from parachuting to spelunking. The sports fields at Xhovémont, Cointe or Sart Tilman are ideal for practice, while the soccer stadium of Standard (the Liège team) is the place to show your enthusiasm as a fan. The ice rink, dating from the water exposition of 1939, is in its last seasons before being moved, while a new swimming pool with modern facilities including a diving tower will soon be constructed in the center. (The previous one is being converted to a museum.) Other pools are spread throughout the city, notably in Outremeuse.
- For those who prefer a calmer sport, cycling or jogging is perfect along the quays of the Meuse. The woods at Coteaux de la Citadelle, Chartreuse, and Sart Tilman are all close, as are the magnificent countrysides of the Ardennes (with Condroz, Hesbaye, and Herve lending themselves particularly well to hiking and mountain-biking).
A university city with some 80,000 students, Liège has plenty of educational possibilities.
- University of Liège (L'Université de Liège) . With 17,000 students and links to numerous foreign universities.
- Le pôle mosan  is a platform regrouping more and more of the écoles supérieures of the region.
- Le FOREM (FORmation et EMploi - training and employment) 
- L'Union des Classes Moyennes also offers classes for adults
- Le Centre J has lots of useful information for young students
- The market "Marché de la Batte" is where most locals visit on Sundays. The one of the longest markets in Europe stretches along the Meuse River by the Université de Liège and attracts many visitors to Liège. The market typically runs from early morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon every weekend year long. Produce, clothing, and snack vendors are the main concentration of the market.
- Flea Markets at Saint Gilles (every Saturday morning on Boulevard Louis Hillier) and Saint Pholien (every Friday morning on Boulevard de la Constitution) also attract many visitors.
- Sunday morning market at la rive gauche
- Val Saint Lambert crystal, now sold throughout the world, makes an exceptionnal gift in the "splurge" category.
- The tourist information office sells local artists' products including scarfs with medieval motifs and ties with contemporary artistic designs.
- Marionnettes of "Tchantchès", a character from local folklore embodying the Liégeois attitude, are available in the 6 marionette theaters in the city.
For more, see eat & drink.
Shopping in city center
The best options for shopping are around Place Cathédrale and Place Saint Lambert, and in particular at Vinâve d'Ile (Celio...), Saint-Michel (Van den Borre, Delhaize, C&A), the Opera Galleries (Zara, Springfield) and the Saint Lambert Galleries (FNAC, Média Markt, Inno, Champion), as well as along the roads towards the center (rues Féronstrée, Saint-Gilles, Puits-en-Sock in Outremeuse, Grétry in Longdoz...)
Shopping outside city center
Several large commercial centers are located on the outskirts of the city: Belle-Ile (North-American style shopping mall with Carrefour on site, take bus 377 from the Opera) (Angleur), Médiacité shopping centre - 126 stores, easily accessible by car (with on-site carparking) or bus - 4, 26, 26, 31, 17, 29, 33, 35, 38B (Pont Longdoz stop), Rocourt, Boncelles, Herstal...
The Liègeois enjoy eating, and visitors are likely to follow suite when in Liège!
Typical foods and drinks include:
- The Gaufre de Liège (caramalised sugar coated waffle) is famous around the world. The best ones can be found at the bakery on Rue Puits-en-Sock (in Outremeuse, near the corner with Rue Surlet) and on Rue des Mineurs (in the centre, around the corner from Place du Marché). These bakers' specialties include gaufres with apple or cherry filling.
- As elsewhere in Belgium, pralines (different kinds of filled chocolate delicacies), chocalate and cakes. The following brands can be recomended:
- The upmarket Stoffels on Rue Saint-Paul.
- Galler is a brand of chocolate from Liège which is sold in various countries.
- Other sweets are seasonal:
- Boûkètes - dark crêpes with raisins, eaten with brown sugar - are mainly available around the 15th of August and during the Christmas period.
- Lacquemants/lackmans - dry waffles filled with a mix of sugar and other sweets - are available at the summer and autumn fairs.
- Le matoufèt, a cross between a crêpe and an omelette, made from flour, eggs, milk and bacon, and served either salty or sweet.
- Try "cûtès peûres" (baked pears)- which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the street vendors - if you find them.
- "Sirop de Liège", sirop made of apples or pears grown in the nearby Herve region.
- "Herve" cheese, famous for being one of the world´s smelliest!
- La tarte au riz, rice cake originally from the nearby area around Verviers and Tancrémont.
- Boulets sauce-lapin, meatballs in a sauce made from Sirop de Liège, onions, vinegar and prunes, obviously served with frites (fries).
The boulet even has its own culinary critics! (in French: the "Guide du Boulet frites sauce liègoise" ).
- La potée liégeoise, a country dish made from beans, potatoes, and bacon, cooked together and drenched in vinegar.
- Liège coffee (café liégeois) is originally from Vienna but was rebaptised by the Parisiens to show their support for the heroic resistance in Liège at the start of the first world war.
- "Pèkèt", a typically Liègeois kind of genièvre (a type of gin)available in countless varieties.
- Alcoholic cider
Local recipes are available here .
Unfortunately, restaurant prices are fairly high, as they tend to be in most Belgian cities. Budget restaurants will cost about €12-€15 per person, including drinks, while mid-range restaurants will cost between €25 and €50, and splurge restaurants more than that!
Snackbars, take-aways and bakeries
Snack-bars, take-aways and bakeries are probably the best options for people on a budget. A Döner kebab typically costs €3-5, and a sandwich about €2,50-5. Note that most 'friteries' charge a 50 cent supplement for sauce or extra vegetables.
- Bouddha Bar, Rue Pont d'Avroy, noodles from €2,50
- Chez Perron, Place du Marché, Liège's most famous friterie, try the Mitraillete (large burger + fries in a baguette)
- Pasta di Mama, Rue des Clarisses, sells tasty pizza slices for €2-3, as well as 'cornets de pâtes' (portions of pasta) and large pizzas.
- Snack Boulevard, Boulevard de la Sauvenière, great burger with onions for around €3,-
- Deli France, this international chain has two stores in the city centre, first one in Gallerie St. Lambert and the second one is near Pont d'Avory. €5-€6 can cover a sandwich and a drink.
- Point Chaud, this regional chain has 6 shops in and around the centre, including one at Guillemins station. €2,50-€5,- can get you a filling and tasty baguette with sauce, vegetables and/or meat.
- There are a number of Turkish bakeries where you can buy a börek, lamacun etc for €1-2 in and around the centre. There's one on Rue Léopold, and there are two at the start of Rue Saint-Séverin.
- You can buy samosas for €1-2 at the day/night shop on the corner of Place Saint-Léonard/Rue du Potay, near the Curtius museum.
- A number of fastfood franchises such as Mc Donalds and Quick can be found in Liège.
- L'Amarante, rue des Carmes
- Amour, Maracas et Salami (français), 78 rue Sur-la-Fontaine
- Au Tchantchès, Restaurant/Brasserie with traditional decor, located on rue Grande Bèche in the Outremeuse district.
- Café Lequet, 17 Quai sur Meuse. Local cuisine and ambiance. Try the boulet-frites.
- La Cigalière, 29 rue de la Régence. Sandwiches, salads, breakfasts, and crêpes - all top quality.
- C si bon!, Boulevard d'Avroy 238, Sandwiches, Salades & Catering Service
- Touch and Go, rue des Carmes. Specialising in pitas and do-it-yourself salads. Especially popular with students.
- Aux pâtes fraîches, 17 rue Saint-Gilles
- Pizza Pugliese, Boulevard de la Sauvenière
- Ramondino, corner Rue Jean d'Outremeuse/Rue Fosse-aux-Reines, good pizza for about €8 euros, also pasta dishes. Probably the cheapest in town.
- Le Veneto, rue de la Madeleine. One of the best Italian restaurants in Liège, limited menu but great atmosphere and unbeatable prices.
- Sunshine restaurant, en Féronstrée, 1 (in the corner with place du Marché), Indian restaurant, they sell take-away chapati with salad and meat/dhal/omelette, they have their own sauce included in the price: 5€ (you can choose between yoghurt/mint, mango and tandoori sauce, be cautious with the tandoori sauce, it’s very hot). Beware that they open at strange hours (they can be closed at 12:30 and then open at 13:00 on a week day!).
- Amon Nanesse, behind the town hall
- As Ouhès (aux oiseaux - for the birds), place du Marché.
- Les Folies Gourmandes, rue des Clarisses 48, excelent Franco-Belgian cuisine and friendly service, lunch for €15,- and dinner for €30,-. This restaurant is often full, so reserving in advance is recomended. tel.: 04 223 16 44
- L'industrie, rue Saint Gilles (at the start, on the right), nice brasserie specialising in mussels
- The Kitchen, 139 bd de la Sauvenière, concept restaurant but friendly and warm
- Table à Thé, 15 rue des Carmes, at the magnificent urban terrace
- Le Vaudrée, 109 rue Val Benoit 4031 Angleur: 40 Beers on tap and 1200 Bottles, Fantastic food as well.
- Le Phénicien, Place Cockerill, Lebanese food, a good place for vegetarians
- L'Héliport is awarded with a Michelin star. The restaurant - which is usually locted by the Port des Yachts, on Boulevard Frère-Orban - is temporarily housed in a castle in Sart-Tilman.
The area known as "Le Carré" offers numerous options to drink and party 365 days per year, with a young, vibrant, student atmosphere. Also worth a visit: the Place du Marché, more "connected", and the area around Place Cathédrale, to see and be seen.
- Visit the Carré District, where you can celebrate or party on any day, at any time. It's the preferred district of students, alternating shops and cafés, many of which allow dancing (sometimes on the tables!).
- Le Vaudrée 2, in Rue Saint-Gilles, where you can taste a good thousand or so Belgian and foreign beers. Santé!
- La Maison du Peket, behind the town hall, mainly serves fruit-flavored versions of genièvre, known locally as péquet.
- The Pot au Lait , rue Soeurs de Hasque, is a café popular with exchange students living in the region.
- Les Olivettes, rue Pied du Pont des Arches, offers an ambience from an entirely different time.
- Millennium, about 10km outside the center in the commercial area "Boncelles", is a recently constructed nightclub.
- La Zone, Quai de l'Ourthe, 42, in Outremeuse, is a club for alternative and underground music and culture with a non expensive bar .
- Le Sabor Latino is a club opening onto the boulevard de la Sauvenière.
In addition, many of the cafés in the Le Carré area are a good alternative, with plenty of dancing and typically no entrance fee.
- Youth Hostel Georges Simenon. Located in the middle of the Outremeuse neighborhood, in a superbly renovated old building. edit
- L'Embrun, Port des yachts 16, ☎ +32 (0)4 221 1120. A floating hotel that can also be rented out for trips edit
- Les Acteurs, rue des Urbanistes 10, ☎ +32 (0)4 223 0080. Two-star hotel edit
- Le Cygne d'Argent, rue Beeckman, ☎ +32 (0)4 223 7001. Three-star family hotel near the botanic garden edit
- Le Petit Cygne, Rue des Augustins 42, ☎ +32 (0)4 222 4759. Two-star hotel edit
- La Passerelle, Chaussée des Prés 24 (on the island Outremeuse), ☎ +32 (0)4 341 20 20. Three-star hotel edit
- Ibis Hotel, 41 place de la République Française, ☎ +32 (0)4 230 3333. Near the Opera edit
- pentahotel Liège, 100, Boulevard de la Sauvenière (Bus: line 1 and 4, in front of hotel; Train Station: Les Guillemins (2 km away)), ☎ +32 (0) 4 221 7711, . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm. Located within walking distance from the city centre, the Ilot Saint Michel (0.3Km), the Galeries Saint Lambert (0.5 Km), The Médiacité (2.9 Km) and Belle Ile (4.4Km), pentahotel Liège has a vibrant interior design, signature pentalounge and 105 well-priced rooms. edit
Near Palais des Congrès
- Eurotel, Rue Léon Frédéricq 29, ☎ +32 (0)4 341 1627. Two-star hotel edit
Near Guillemins train station
- Métropole, Rue des Guillemins 141, ☎ +32 (0)4 252 4293. Two-star hotel edit
- Les Nations, ""Rue, ☎ +32 (0)4 252 4414. One-star hotel edit
- Hotel Husa De La Couronne, ""Place. Three-star hotel edit
- Le Hors Château, Rue Hors Château, 62, ☎ +32 (0)4 250 60 68, . A charming hotel in the historic center edit
- Ramada Plaza Liège, Quai Saint-Léonard 36, ☎ +32 (0)4 228 81 11, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. City centre hotel on the banks of the river La Meuse, built in a former convent. Free Wifi (50.64795,5.591033) edit
Liege is generally a safe city during daytime. However, be cautious at night especially for single females. It is not recommended for women to walk alone in the evenings as many foreign female students have experienced being followed late at night. Harassment to single females occurs often, mostly verbal but some travelers have experienced assaults in off-downtown area. If where you're staying is more than a 5-min walk off the centre, it is suggested to take a cab (they have a line-ups around The Opera and Pont d'Avroy bus terminal) after 10PM.
Take care in the city, especially at night. As with all cities there is a level of theft and you should ensure that all valuables such as cash, wallets and phones are kept safe. If visiting the Carré ensure that you take only what you need and watch your pockets. Theft is extremely common in and around the bars. Also take care at cash machines in the Carré as many strange people seem to congregate there.
Liège's surroundings are extremely varied and worth visiting in there own right. The city sits on the borders of a number of geographical regions:
- Ardennes - the Benelux's wildest region, and a good destination for outdoor activities, as well as for a number of historic towns. Spa and Limbourg are towns that can be recommended in the province of Liège's part of the Ardennes.
- Condroz - the transitional region between the highlands of the Ardennes and the lower lying rest of Belgium, the Condroz is just as - if not more - spectacular than the Ardennes themselves. The Condroz can be easily reached from the city by bike, by following the Ourthe river from where it flows into the Meuse (along Quai de Condroz). There's a cycle path (Ravel) along the river, and while the part in Liège itself isn't particularly interesting, the landscape turns into a natural paradise between Tilff (12 km) and Esneux (17km). Alternatively, you can cycle along the Meuse to the west of Liège, which will take you through sprawling industrial areas before reaching the spectacular landscapes between Flémalle and Huy (30 km), and on to Namur and Dinant (in the province of province of Namur).
- Land of Herve - this rich agricultural region of pleasant rolling hills is a nice region for walking and home to the old town of Herve. Herve is approximately 20 kilometers from Liège, though it is further on cycle path Ravel 88, which twists and turns a lot on the bedding of an old railway line.
People who find themselves captivated by Liège will enjoy its closest eastern neighbour - Verviers - as well, as it feels like a smaller version of Liège (even though Liègeois deny this).
See the respective article for more information on the Province of Liège.
Liège is well positioned in Europe, and it is not difficult to find an interesting next destination:
- The capital, Brussels is 90 kilometers and 50 minute by train.
- The scenic province of Namur, with the beautiful towns of Namur (60 km, 50 minutes by train) and Dinant (+/- 100 km).
- Belgium's empty quarter, the province of Luxembourg.
- Tongeren - one of the country's oldest towns is just 15 kilometers from the city of Liège, in the province of Belgian Limburg.
- Belgium is a small country and even the great Flemish tourist towns Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, and their smaller Walloon counterparts Mons and Tournai - which are on the other side of the country - are all less than three hours away.
In the Netherlands:
- The trendy & historic city of Maastricht is just 30 kilometers, or a 25 minute train ride away.
- Roermond, a historic town on the Meuse, is another 30 minutes train ride north of Maastricht.
- Due to a direct intercity link with Maastricht and the small size of the country, other historic Dutch cities - such as 's-Hertogenbosch (150 km), Utrecht (210 km) and Amsterdam(250 km)- are also just a few hours away.
In the Germany:
- Aachen - which is famous for its eighth century cathedral - is about 60 kilometers away, which makes it about 25 minutes by high speed train, or 50 by regional train.
- The German metropolis of Cologne is about 130 kilometers away, and can be reached directly by high speed train, or by taking a regional train from Aachen.
There are also direct trains to Luxembourg (130 kilometers, 2,5 hours), and direct high speed trains to Lille (203 km) and Paris (370 km).
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