A small Belgian town perfect to experience Europe's art and history, from Roman times to the present day.
By Nicholas Sterling
Liege enjoys a bucolically medieval atmosphere.
Liege is a small, historic city situated along the Meuse River in the French-speaking part of Belgium, near the border with Germany and Holland. With only 192,000 inhabitants, it is a place visitors can get to know in just a few days.
The city enjoys a bucolically medieval atmosphere but is also fun and jovial thanks to the University of Liege, which attracts students from all corners of the European Union. It also boasts important architectural heritage, with 391 protected buildings, magnificent museums, and places of great beauty.
Charlemagne, the great emperor of the West, was born in Liege, which is also the birthplace of the prolific detective novel writer Georges Simenon, creator of Inspector Maigret.
Musee De La Vie Wallonne
Gothic, Baroque and Modern
A weekend holiday in Liege should start at the Palace of the Prince-Bishops, which currently serves as the Courthouse. Although the two world wars destroyed its fountains and gardens, this building still retains its beautiful Baroque façade and a large courtyard surrounded by massive columns, each with its own decor.
Liege-Guillemins Train Station by Santiago Calatrava
The epicenter and meeting place for the locals is the Place Saint-Lambert. One of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals of Europe was erected here, but unfortunately, it was destroyed during the time of the French Revolution.
Only a few steps from the square is the Archéoforum, an archaeological site more than two miles long, where travelers can observe the foundations of the old cathedral, the passage of the Romans through Liege, and the remains of prehistoric human settlements.
At a very short distance is the stunning Saint-Paul Cathedral with its 13th-century Gothic naves, beautiful cloister, and the treasures salvaged from the destruction of the cathedral of Saint-Lambert. But if there is a religious building that stands out above the rest is the charming Collegiate Church of Saint-Barthélemy, a magnificent example of the imposing Romanesque Mosan art, built between the 11th and 12th centuries.
The Liege-Guillemins train station is adjacent to the church. It was designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which has become a symbol of the modern city. A mandatory stop is the Grand Curtius Museum of Decorative Arts and Archeology. It is also imperative to make an emotional visit to the American Cemetery located in Neuville-en-Condroz, a few miles from Liege, which hosts more than 5,000 American troops who lost their lives during the terrible Battle of the Bulge (World War II).
The charming city of Liege is the perfect size to enjoy in just a few days.
A perfect day in Liege
To enjoy Liege’s nightlife and taste the local cuisine, walk towards the lively area of Le Carré, where you will find bars, cafés, and restaurants along the Rue du Pot d'Or. Try a glass of peket, a type of gin that comes in various fruit flavors, such as raspberry, mango or berries.
You can also take a moment to enjoy a waffle with blueberry jam, complemented by a Galler chocolate— considered among the best in Belgium—or a Trappist beer accompanied by the famous boulets de Liège (meatballs served with fries).
Photos: www.belgica-turismo.es. ■
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