Explore the region of Mons
The region of Mons also has many places of interest to make your trip to the south of Belgium even more exciting.
The landscape that inspired a genius
Take, for example, Van Gogh's House, in Cuesmes. The famous impressionist painter lived in this simple little house between 1879 and 1880. During this period, Van Gogh dedicated himself to the evangelisation of the region's miners.
The museum houses the original painting Les Bêcheurs, designed in Cuesmes itself and acquired by the city of Mons in 1979 from Christie's. It appears that Van Gogh began painting his famous landscapes following his stay in the region.
In Hornu, 8km from Mons, a visit to the MAC’s, Museum of Contemporary Art of the French community of Belgium is a must. The museum is located on the site of the former Grand-Hornu collieries and features on the UNESCO world heritage of humanity list.
The site is an industrial complex designed by businessman Henry de Gorge and housed a model city for workers. Up until 1954, 2,500 people lived and worked there.
The PASS, where education is fun
In Frameries, at the heart of Hainaut, the PASS, Scientific adventure park, located on the site of the former Crachet colliery, invites you to explore the exciting world of science.
Converted into a totally new kind of museum, it gives much pleasure to children and lovers of architecture. It was renovated by Jean Nouvel and inaugurated in 2000.
The 12,000m² space welcomes 10 fun and interactive exhibitions dealing with many different themes, such as materials, genetics, health and money.
Technical marvels along the canal
Head along the Canal du Centre where you can admire several technical marvels, such as the fantastic "Canal du Centre" hydraulic lifts which are unique in Europe and operate using only the force of the water.
With the help of Archimedes' principle, they compensate for a difference in altitude of almost 90 metres over a distance of 7 kilometres.
The Strepy-Thieu boat lift, at a height of 110m and a length of 130m, allows boats of up to 1,350 tons to cross a difference in altitude of 73 metres.
A litle town with a lot of history
The Gilles Carnival in Binche features on the UNESCO world heritage list due to its indisputable cultural value. This little town prepares for this unchanging ancient ritual throughout the year. Masks, costumes and accessories are made in the utmost secrecy.
The town celebrates for several weeks, but the highlight is unquestionably the Mardi Gras with the parade of traditional Gilles dating back to 1549.
Why not take advantage of a trip to Binche and visit the International Carnival and Mask Museum which is the only one of its kind in Europe? The museum houses a collection of carnival masks and costumes from around the world.
From there, it's just a short hop to the Distillery of Biercée where you can taste a delicious brandy.
A touch of splendour
The Château and Park of Beloeil, near Ath, around 20km from Mons, will delight fans of decorative arts and luxurious interiors. In one sumptuous bedroom, you can find the superb four-poster bed which Marie-Antoinette loved so much she ordered an exact replica in Versailles.
With over 20,000 works, the library is also well worth a visit and the park is a real gem. The French gardens were designed by the architect Chevrotet and earned Beloeil its nickname "the Belgian Versailles".