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Tournai (Dutch: Doornik) is a city in Wallonia. It is famed for its impressive Romanesque Cathedral. It was also the only Belgian city to ever be controlled by the English Throne.


Cathedral as seen from the Belfry

Get in[edit]

Tournai is served by regular trains from all over Belgium From Brussels direct trains run every hour and take just under an hour. Direct trains run to Lille just across the border in France, which has a Eurostar Station. Trains take 30-60 minutes Paris is accessible with a change in just under two hours. See here for more details and timetables

From Brussels Coaches would take around 1h 45m and require 2 changes See here for timetables

  • Air

The nearest Airport is Lille Lesquin which is served buy a few Budget Airlines heading to Milan, Warsaw, Leeds and Marrakesh The airports of Brussels, Charleroi and Paris would also be useful.

Get around[edit]

Tournai is fairly compact and can be easily covered on foot. There is a local bus service

See[edit][add listing]

  • Cathedral is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the best preserved Cathedrals in Northern Europe. It is reknowned for having one of the most impressive Romanesque naves in Europe and has a remarkable array of statues. The Gothic choir was a later addition. there is also a Treasury Museum attached

It open 9am - 12 Midday 2pm-5pm (6pm in summer) Services 11am Weekdays 10am weekends

  • Belfry offers great views across the city, especially over the nearby Cathedral. It is the oldest in Belgium and stands at 72 metres high. It offers very informative multi-lingal displays on the role of Belfries in the history of the region. The Belfry is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Belfries of Belgium and France.

It is open the same times as the Cathedral, but closed on Mondays

  • Museum of Fine Arts displays paintings by Ruebens, Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat and Watteau among others. They are displayed in a fine building designed by reknowed architect Victor Horta in the Beaux-Arts style.
  • The city is an old and well-preserved historic area with a dozen of churches and chapels, civil and military edifices dating most of all from the twelve or thirteen's century bearing witness to the rich culture and history of the ancient capital of the franc kingdom.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • International Folklore Festival takes place in late September/ early October every year attracting large crowds. In January, you can also enjoy the new RAMDAM film festival (since 2011). It's other name is "le festival du film qui dérange" (disturbing film festival) wich is about fictions, documentaries and retrospectives that treat subject willing to shock in a way or another.
  • One of the tradition not to miss is the Tournai's carnival in late february-debut march. It is by far the biggest tradition nowadays. It's a three days occasion, by day or night for everyone to disguise, be a bit wild and drink a beer (with moderation or not). The circulation in town is stopped and all is about celebrating the carnival. It's the occasion to meet your teacher, neighbour, parents, boss, friends, strangers in a happy and celebrating mood.
  • There are also a lot of cafés and bar in the center wich are full from Thursday to Saturday due to the large amount of students but also because in Tournai, partying and beer are quite traditions.
  • A leisure center, Aqua Tournai is the place you can go with friends, familly or just to take a walk. There are in and outdoor swimmingpools with slides, a cafeteria, a "barbecue island", a kids playground and a new adventure park (Tribalya).
  • The Mount Saint-Haubert is the highest place of the town (140m) where you can go and have a sight of the the area.

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