Namur, Belgium

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Namur is the capital of Wallonia, the French-speaking southern part of Belgium.

Understand

Namur is the administrative capital of Wallonie, French speaking Belgium. Namur is located 60 km south-east of Belgium’s capital city, Brussels. It is easily accessible by road (the E411 highway from Brussels), train or boat (the Meuse comes from France and flows through the South of Belgium to Holland. The Sambre flow into the Meuse in Namur). Its strategic location – where the rivers Sambre joins the Meuse – was first exploited by the Romans who settled there and used it as a base for trading. From there it became an important city in the region, defended by the citadelle.

Get around

Namur is a smallish city and can easily be discovered on foot. The major areas to visit are the centre of Namur itself, the Citadelle and then the areas along the Meuse and the Sambre.

The Centre of Namur sits between the Namur railway station and the junction of the Meuse and the Sambre. The city is easy and nice to walk around in, as many of the older streets are pedestrian. Saturday morning is market day and most streets in the centre are then occupied by market stalls.

The Citadelle de Namur, a historical fortress surrounded by a large parc is strategically placed on a hill between the Meuse and the Sambre. The Romans built a small city a the foot of the hill early in the first century. Later on, from the 9th century on, the place was gradually fortified to enable it to defend the region, and became a principal residence for the Counts of Namur. From then on the Citadelle has played a role in the history of the country. It is a great place for historical, as well as nature walks. The top of the Citadelle offers a great view of the surrounding areas. At the foot of the Citadelle, there is a bridge crossing to the other site of the Meuse, where Jambes is located. Jambes has its own shops and a market on Wednesday.

Cycling is not too popular with the locals, as the region is fairly hilly. But the city is trying to promote the usage of bikes. Programs such as “li bia velo” (meaning “the nice bike” in Walloon) enable members to rent a bike by picking it up in one station and drop it off at the another. There are great walking and/or cycling tours to make along the rivers as both the Sambre and the Meuse have, generally on both sides, paths from where in the past boats used to be pulled. Check Ravel network

Parking in the city can be an issue. The local bus company in Wallonia, the TEC provide “P+R” buses between two car parks in the outer city and the center of the city. The line number is 51 and the two car parks are named “P+R Saint-Nicolas” and “P+R Namur Expo”. If you can speak french, you can check it out on the website of the TEC.

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