The historic city of Mons is the capital of the Hainaut Province in the Walloon region of Belgium. The city is a vibrant University town which has much to offer visitors. A good place to start your exploration would be at the Grand Place, a large cobblestone square lined with historic buildings and pavement cafes where you can sip a coffee and watch the passing parade. A few of the most interesting tourist attractions include the Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery, the Belfry, the Van Gogh House Museum and the Decorative Art Museum which was established by Baron Francois Duesberg. The city is most famous for its Festival Doudou, which takes place on Trinity weekend each year. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Decorative Arts Museum Francois Duesberg
Visitors who would like to get an intimate glimpse into the lives of the rich aristocrats of 18th century France should add the Decorative Arts Museum to their list of must-see attractions in Mons. Located in a superb old building on Roosevelt Square, the Museum Francois Duesberg is home to an outstanding collection of decorative arts which has been painstakingly curated by Francois and Betty Duesberg. At the heart of the collection you can admire opulent clocks, priceless porcelain and superb gold and silverware. Avid historians and collectors can request a private guided tour of the museum by contacting Baron F. Duesberg himself. The museum is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday from 2pm to 7pm.
Decorative Arts Museum Francois Duesberg, Square F. Roosevelt 12, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-36-31-64
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2.Maison Vincent van Gogh
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Vincent van Gogh is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and loved artists in the world. While you are visiting Mons you can find out more about the life and times of this incredible artist by visiting Maison Van Gogh in the village of Cuesmes. Touring the house, which is now run as a museum, will give visitors a rare insight into the emergence of Van Gogh, the artist. It is within these walls that the master took his first self-taught foray into the world of art. To fully appreciate all you will see you can book a guided tour of the museum.
Maison van Gogh, Rue du Pavillon 3, 7033 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-35-56-11
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Mon’s famous Doudou Festival takes place on Trinity weekend each year, attracting thousands of locals and a curious following of visitors. The Doudou festival celebrates ancient myths and legends from as early as the 14th century. The highlight of the festival includes a meticulously choreographed re-enactment of the famous battle of St. George and the Dragon, which takes place in the center of the Grand Place. If you cannot arrange your visit to coincide with the festival you can still learn all about it by visiting the unique interactive Doudou Museum instead. Here a series of interactive terminals, screens and videos tell the story of the unifying spirit of the festival and its importance to the people of Mons.
Doudou Museum, Garden of Mayeur, Grand Place, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-40-53-18
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4.Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift
Considered to be one of the finest engineering feats in modern-day Belgium, the Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift must to be seen to be believed. This remarkable boat lift enables inland boaters to navigate a remarkable 73 meter vertical drop to continue their passage along Belgium’s waterways. Your visit to the Strepy-Thieu Interpretation Center will include an introduction to the history of inland navigation in Belgium and an explanatory film on the construction and use of this elevator funicular. In addition, visitors get the chance to admire the massive engine room from the top of the structure and watch the lift in action while you sip coffee in the café.
Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift, Rue Raymond Cordier, Thieu, Belgium, Phone: +32-78-05-90-59
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The Mons Belfry is a prominent landmark in the city and is a must-see attraction for history and architecture enthusiasts. This impressive example of a baroque belfry was constructed between 1661 and 1672 to replace an earlier clock tower which stood on this spot. When completed, the belfry played an important part in everyday life in Mons, chiming to announce the sunrise, the start and end of the workday, curfews or fires. At the top of the 87m tower there is a carillon of 49 bells. From Tuesday to Sunday, visitors are invited to visit the small museum located inside the tower and to climb the 365-step circular staircase to enjoy wonderful views of the city.
Mons Belfry, Rue des Gades, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-473-30-72-53
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6.The Guardhouse Monkey
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Most cities have at least one curiosity which attracts the attention of visitors, and Mons is no exception. You will find the Guardhouse Monkey outside the entrance to the City Hall. How he got there, no-one knows, although his origin is the theme of many theories. The little iron monkey could have been part of a tavern sign, or even a place where criminals or wayward children were brought to be publically chastised. Regardless of where he came from, the Guardhouse Monkey has stood his ground for centuries and it is rumored that if you stroke his head with your left hand you will be blessed with good fortune. The worn and smooth surface of the monkey’s head is proof that many people believe the legend.
The Guardhouse Monkey, Grand-Place 22, Mons 7000, Belgium
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7.The Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes
Located just 6km from Mons, the Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes are a unique attraction which extends over 100 acres. These remarkable flint mines were originally dug out during the Neolithic period between 4200 and 2500BC and represent the largest flint mines in Europe. To limit any possible damage to the site only a limited number of visitors are allowed to descend into the original mines, which lie 9 meters below ground. Luckily, everyone is welcome to visit SILEX’s, the interpretive center and museum where visitors of all ages can learn all about the mine. The displays include interactive activities for children and on select weekends you are invited to explore an excavation site with the archaeologists.
Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes, Rue Point du Jour 300, 7032 Spiennes, Phone: +32-65-40-53-25
8.Art des Mets (The Art of Food)
© Art des Mets (The Art of Food)
Few can resist putting a restaurant with a name like this to the test. Whether you are a gourmand or just love interesting food, a visit to Art des Mets is a must while in Mons. At the heart of the restaurant you will find a dedicated team who strive to give their guests excellent food and service in a refined setting. The innovative menu is based on fresh seasonal produce, lovingly prepared and served with flair. Tempting guests to explore a variety of flavors, the restaurant offers two fixed-price 3 or 4-course menus, with or without wine pairing for dinner. At lunchtime you can enjoy a reasonably-priced 2-course menu with coffee.
Art des Mets, Rue des Clercs 9, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-63-07-09
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© La Madeleine
For more than 20 years La Madeleine has been building a loyal following of fans that come from near and far to feast on fresh fish and seafood. The restaurant has been awarded BIB Gourmand status in the Michelin Guide and unashamedly caters only to fish and seafood enthusiasts. Even dedicated carnivores will not be able to resist the delicious and imaginative dishes on offer. The variety of fish on the menu depends on the seasons – freshness is the number one consideration when produce is sourced. You can choose from the a la carte menu or opt for the 2 or 3-course fixed price menu, with or without wine pairing.
La Madeleine Restaurant, Avenue Frere Orban 26, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-35-13-70
10.La Table de Boucher (Table of the Butcher)
© La Table de Boucher (Table of the Butcher)
Many locals and visitors consider La Table de Boucher to be the best place in Mons to eat a great steak. To find out if you agree, you are invited to step inside the welcoming restaurant and put Chef Luc to the test. The menu is carefully designed to showcase the best meat you can find both locally and imported. Besides a good selection of prime steaks you will also find duck, pork, lamb and veal on the a la carte menu. To start you could try traditional Foie Gras or a modern salad of Heritage tomatoes. The restaurant also offers a good-value fixed-price Menu of the Day.
La Table de Boucher, Rue d’Havre 49, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-31-68-38
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11.Boule de Bleu
© Boule de Bleu
Boule de Bleu is a popular Mons café/restaurant which attracts vegetarians and other lovers of fresh healthy food. The most popular items on their rather limited menu are the salads and poke bowls, which are fresh, innovative and very tasty, served in their signature bowls. In addition to the hearty salads, the restaurant also serves a delicious vegetarian quiche made with brie, courgettes and pine nuts. Remember to save some space for one of their delectable house desserts – choices include a few variations of tiramisu and cheesecakes as well as brownies and a chocolate gateau. Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm.
Boule de Bleu, Rue de la Coupe 46, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-84-58-19
12.Le Salon des Lumieres
© Le Salon des Lumieres
The Salon des Lumieres is located about 20 min from Mons, but it is well worth your time to seek out this interesting restaurant which is housed in an historic Chateau in the village of Jurbise. The entire ethos of the Salon des Lumieres reflects the life and times of Marie Antoinette and the sumptuous interior has been recreated to take visitors back to the 18th century. Imagine beautifully draped tables lit by candlelight and crystal chandeliers, polished silverware and gleaming crystal glasses. Even the menu will transport you back in time; guests rave about the quality of the food, the service and the wonderful atmosphere.
Le Salon des Lumieres, Rue des Masnuy 69, Jurbise 7050, Belgium, Phone: +32-474-29-25-84
13.Le Petite Couscoussiere
© Le Petite Couscoussiere
La Petite Couscoussiere is a Tunisian restaurant located right in the heart of Mons. The fact that the restaurant has been trading for over 34 years is testimony to the popularity of the earthy and flavorful taste sensations on offer. Beautiful pillars and arches as well as lots of metal work decorate the interior of the restaurant, setting a decidedly exotic ambiance. The restaurant has a fixed-price 3-course menu for groups or parties of 6 or more. Diners can choose from a selection of menus featuring international cuisine or opt to experiment with the many delicious Tunisian dishes on the Tunisian menu, most of which feature couscous served with a variety of grilled meats or seafood.
Le Petite Couscoussiere, Rue des Clercs 7, 7000 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-31-13-58
© La Bergerie
La Bergerie serves fine Mediterranean cuisine which you can enjoy indoors or al fresco on the covered or open terraces. Chef Constantin and his team of dedicated foodies strive to offer all their guests a memorable meal from their seasonal menu which changes regularly to showcase the best fresh and sustainable local produce. Each day of the week brings a new lunchtime special. Dinner choices from the a la carte menu include hot and cold tapas and starters, grilled meat plates and house specialties, based on availability. There is also a choice of main-course salads and mouthwatering desserts. The cellar offers a good choice of wines and cocktails.
La Bergerie, Rue des Canadiens 130, 7022 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-84-33-44
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15.Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery
The Military Cemetery at the small village of St. Symphorien is an interesting place to add to your tour itinerary of Belgium. The village and the cemetery are located about 5km outside of Mons and offer visitors a rather moving reminder of the terrible consequences of war. Inside the cemetery, which was established by the Germans after WWI, you can find the graves of the first and last English soldiers who are known to have died in battle between 1914 and 1918. The English soldiers are honored by the English “Cross of Sacrifice”, while close-by, a massive German obelisk was erected in honor of all the men, from both sides, who lost their lives.
St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Rue Nestor Dehon 32, 7030 Mons, Belgium, Phone: +32-65-33-55-80
15 Best Things to Do in Mons, Belgium
- Decorative Arts Museum Francois Duesberg, Photo: robynmac/stock.adobe.com
- Maison Vincent van Gogh, Photo: pict rider/stock.adobe.com
- Doudou Festival, Photo: Anibal Trejo/stock.adobe.com
- Strepy-Thieu Boat Lift, Photo: bbsferrari/stock.adobe.com
- Mons Belfry, Photo: JeanLuc/stock.adobe.com
- The Guardhouse Monkey, Photo: Anibal Trejo/stock.adobe.com
- The Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes, Photo: Diane/stock.adobe.com
- Art des Mets (The Art of Food), Photo: Art des Mets (The Art of Food)
- La Madeleine, Photo: La Madeleine
- La Table de Boucher (Table of the Butcher), Photo: La Table de Boucher (Table of the Butcher)
- Boule de Bleu, Photo: Boule de Bleu
- Le Salon des Lumieres, Photo: Le Salon des Lumieres
- Le Petite Couscoussiere, Photo: Le Petite Couscoussiere
- La Bergerie, Photo: La Bergerie
- Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery, Photo: petejeff/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: napa74/stock.adobe.com
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