Quality of Life: Wallonia has heart, soul and character
Its landscapes are a harmonious patchwork of the rural and the urban, of towns and villages. Wallonia’s personality can be summed up by its friendliness, its festive outlook, its century-old folklore and its architectural jewels, recognised as Unesco World Heritage sites. Last but not least, its legendary culinary tradition and sense of hospitality and relaxation are some of its major attractions.
Heritage and hedonism
The architectural heritage is a draw for enthusiasts and those passing by as history has left its mark wherever you look. There is always a prehistoric site, a citadel, as is the case for Namur or Dinant, a chateau and its gardens, an abbey, a church, a mill, a historic manor house, or a museum just shouting out to be explored and enjoyed in the vicinity. Furthermore, our sunken paths and rivers are a godsend for walkers, painters or fishermen.
Namur is a fine example of a pleasant Walloon town where the living is easy, with its pedestrian areas, trendy boutiques, tantalising delicatessens and pubs serving local brews.
For those looking for wide open spaces, water sports or climbing possibilities, head for the Ardennes. Its rural, forest setting make it the ideal holiday getaway.
Water rules supreme here. It has hollowed out a path for itself through the tree-covered mountains, the imposing rocks and caves. The forest will be a favourite haunt for hikers and nature lovers.
Family outing destinations also tend to be an artistic and architectural treasure trove. And if all this exploring makes you hungry, there is no shortage of gastronomic delights, with fish or game to tantalise the most demanding tastebuds.
Walks, sports and gastronomy
The folklore, often going back centuries, will give you an insight into the passion and festive spirit of the locals.
Charleroi, a hub of the comic strip, with a lively international contemporary dance scene, has also been put on the map by its sporting stars.
Mons and Tournai share the same charm and nobility that ooze out of every corner of their streets, monuments and treasures.
Ath and the Pays des Collines add a soft and lighthearted touch with their giants and witches that dance joyfully to the sound of the violins, accordions and brass bands.
In Liege, a gourmet city famed for its hospitality, each victory of the local football team, the Standard, is another excuse to party.
Wallonia, a breeding ground of talents
The Walloon Region, along with the Brussels Region, forms a French-speaking community that is positively swarming with innovative and ambitious creative geniuses, who serve as Wallonia’s ambassadors on their international travels.
These include artists such as Brel, Hergé, Simenon and musicians such as Charles Loos, Toots Thielemans, Maurane or Philippe Lafontaine. Other great names who have crossed beyond our borders, have also drawn their inspiration from Wallonia: René Magritte, Jean-Michel Folon, Peyo and his Smurfs, Franquin, Philippe Geluck, François Schuyten, Franco Dragone, the Dardenne brothers, Emilie Duquesne, Cécile de France, Benoît Poelvoorde, Olivier Gourmet, and many others…
Following the River Meuse from the Netherlands towards France, Liege, “the Ardent City” invites you in to discover its museums, palaces and cathedral but also its secret alleyways and breathtaking squares. This is the birthplace of our film industry, of filmmakers, actors and films that have been nominated and been prizewinners at the most prestigious international festivals.
Along with Verviers, Liege is a hive of musical creation, that of Grétry, of Jazz and of the French-language chanson.
A little further on you have Spa, its famous spa waters and its Francofolies festival, Eupen, Stavelot, Malmedy and their carnival days.
Culture, a priority in Wallonia
In 2015, Mons will hold the title of European Capital of Culture along with the Czech city of Plzen.
This event is an opportunity to showcase Euorpe’s cultural wealth but also the links between the people of Europe.
Being designated “European Capital of Culture” gives a city an exceptional opportunity to make a name for itself on the European cultural stage and to take advantage of the positive economic and cultural repercussions, the boon for tourism and the media coverage.
The City of Liege has decided to submit a bid to hold the 2017 International Exhibition.
The City of Liege has already hosted three Expos in the past the 1905 Expo, which shaped the district of Vennes and prompted the construction of the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) in the parc de la Boverie, the 1930 Expo, organised in cooperation with Antwerp to mark the centenary of the Belgian State, and the 1939 Expo in the Coronmeuse district, which was cut short by the outbreak of World War II and whose ice skating rink remains a visible reminder.
There is therefore a real “love story” between Liege and the Expos, which have each in turn lastingly shaped the City’s districts. The 2017 Expo carries on along the same lines and will give the city an international stature.