Cultural capital of Wallonia since 2002 and European Capital of Culture 2015, Mons is a dynamic city with a rich heritage. Located close to the French border and at the centre of the largest mining and industrial region of Belgium, Mons has been a pilgrimage destination since the 7th century, when a Frankish woman, later St. Waltrude, decided to stop here and dedicate her life to God. St. Waltrude's Collegiate Church, one of Mons principal attractions, was never fully completed after 200 years of works! This can be seen on the church's exterior as the tower is not completed, the interior however, was completed in the 17th century. The church is considered one of the best examples of Brabant Gothic. Other remarkable landmarks of Mons are the Grande-Place, surrounded by the impressive Town Hall, and the Belfry (listed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO), a bell tower hosting a carillon of 47 bells. If you have a more contemporary feel, don't miss the Marsh House, where painter Van Gogh lived around 1880.
EVENTS Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture: festivals, exhibitions, theater, dance, music, literature, fashion, gastronomy and much more! Please check out the updated calendar here - Van Gogh au Borinage (25.01.2015 – 17.05.2015): the exhibition takes you through the crucial period (December 1878 to October 1880) when living in the Walloon coal-mining area of the Borinage Vincent van Gogh abandoned his career as a preacher and decided to become an artist.
EAT Jean-Philippe Watteyne is famous in Mons, thanks to his run on the French TV series Top Chef. He's also the genius behind iCook (Rue des Fripiers 2, restaurant-icook.be), one of the city's most popular restaurants.
SHOP Mons Où Venir (Rue des Clercs 13) takes souvenir shopping to a zany new level, with models of the doudou – the city's green medieval dragon – among the many items on sale in Catherine Franeau's quirky little boutique.
LATER Cuba'R (Rue de Nimy 57) is a cellar bar that has brought Cuban music, Cuban drinks and some great cigars to Mons.