While we were in Brussels to see a friend, we considered the option to make a day trip to some other city. We’ve already been in northern Belgium, so on the very next day, we headed south to Wallonia. It turned out that in this area you can bump into some very picturesque places, castles and monuments.
Dinant is a small town situated on the river Maas and it’s actually a very charming place – beautiful scenery, medieval architecture and enviable tranquility.
Besides the wonderful atmosphere, Dinant keeps a small secret. Surely you’ve never thought about where the saxophone was invented. Well, exactly here and the name of the inventor is Adolphe Sax – a master of musical instruments. Because of that fact, hundreds of saxophones are spread in the town. Each year in Dinant takes place a music festival in honor of Adolphe Sax.
What to see in Dinant?
We started our tour from a small square where the cathedral Notre Dame de Dinant is located. The cathedral is a well-known symbol of Dinant. We couldn’t get inside it because there was an ongoing renovation but even outside the cathedral looks impressive. Especially the bell tower, which is not typical for a Gothic church.
Another emblem of the city is the Citadel, landed on the edge of the cliffs above Dinant. It can be reached in two ways – by funicular or by foot. We decided to climb the steps and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the valley and punished with nasty sore muscles. In any case, this option isn’t good if you travel with kids!
Around the 11th century, there was a fortress on the cliffs that served to control the river Meuse valley. Few centuries later it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Nowadays, the citadel houses a military museum. Lots of different cannons, falconets and mortars can be seen in the courtyard. Part of the exhibition is associated with both World Wars. There is also a military cemetery close to the citadel.
And while we were up there, we enjoyed the magnificent view from a huge terrace next to the citadel where the funicular runs. You just can’t get enough.
The way down was far easier. We took the funicular and within a minute, we were back on the same small square next to the cathedral. From there, we picked a small street and started to explore Dinant.
As I mentioned earlier, Dinant is the saxophone city. There are saxophones spread everywhere in the town. We saw them on some front doors and rooftops, there were small and big statues on the streets, drawings on the walls and so on. Literally, you could see a saxophone in any direction you turn your head.
Speaking about saxophones, there are a lot of them on the Charles de Gaulle bridge. The saxophones are painted in different European countries and placed on the bridge in honor of Adolphe Sax.
Couque de Dinant
We found a small bakery (well, the smell of a fresh baked bread found us) where the famous Couque de Dinant biscuits are sold. The Couque de Dinant are prepared only with flour and honey. They are far bigger than normal biscuits and are very hard and durable. They can even be used for decoration. And of course, there were saxophones on some of the biscuits.
And this is the courthouse (Palais de Justice).
There’s no way to visit Belgium and not try at least one Belgian beer. The restaurants on the bank of the river Maas are quite tempting, especially in the sunny and warm summer days.
This beer is produced in a brewery in a neighboring town – Rochefort.
Of course, we didn’t miss to try the Belgian fries with special mayonnaise sauce. Yummy.
Besides sightseeing, the area around Dinant is well-known for the opportunity to practice extreme water sports and cycling. La Grotte Merveilleuse – a magnificent cave known for its waterfall is located nearby.
Wallonia is really beautiful and I can not wait to go back and explore another typical town in this area.
Have you ever been in Wallonia or can you recommend me some place to see in this area?