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Though effectively the capital of Belgium’s scenic Ardennes region, the big, industrial city of Liege isn’t the most obvious spot for a vacation, but it enjoys a lovely position on the wide river Meuse and has a number of compelling sights. It also sports some excellent restaurants and most importantly is well-placed for a serious foray into the Ardennes – one of northern Europe’s most underrated and undiscovered regions, at least outside Belgium. The French writer and creator of the fictional French detective Maigret, Georges Simenon, was from Liege and you can follow a walking tour that takes in all the favorite haunts of his misspent ...

Though effectively the capital of Belgium’s scenic Ardennes region, the big, industrial city of Liege isn’t the most obvious spot for a vacation, but it enjoys a lovely position on the wide river Meuse and has a number of compelling sights. It also sports some excellent restaurants and most importantly is well-placed for a serious foray into the Ardennes – one of northern Europe’s most underrated and undiscovered regions, at least outside Belgium. The French writer and creator of the fictional French detective Maigret, Georges Simenon, was from Liege and you can follow a walking tour that takes in all the favorite haunts of his misspent youth; there are also one or two museums that give a good insight into life in this part of French-speaking Belgium. The Musée de la Vie Wallonne is excellent, as is the Musée de l’Art Wallonn, with its fleshy works by Antoine Wiertz, Belgium’s weirdest 19th-century painter. And you should stop off to see the cathedral and its impressive treasury, too. But outside is where the real treasures lie: travel south into the mysterious heart of the Ardennes around Durbuy and La Roche – fantastic hiking country – or southeast to Spa, the original town in which to take the waters, and nearby Stavelot, whose carnival is one of the country’s best.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

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Martin Dunford for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in southeastern Belgium, approximately 60 miles from Brussels.
  • Language: Flemish and French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, early fall, Carnival