Liège is a daughter of the Meuse. The river has shaped the face of the city as much as it has seeped into the character of its inhabitants. The conurbation lies at the heart of a region of Europe that has considerably contributed to the destiny of the West, between the Latin and Germanic worlds.
Liège, close to you, is served by a very dense network of transport routes (a motorway hub, HST and a Euro-regional airport) putting it within the reach of your curiosity. A majestic railway station, designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was inaugurated in 2009. This striking architectural statement is undoubtedly one of the finest railway stations in Europe and the symbol of Liège’s renewal.
Liège does not open itself up at first glance and can take a little time to let itself be tamed. Its inhabitants never tire from playing at being perpetual tourists and invite you to imitate them or to follow them.
THE HISTORICAL HEART
Place Saint-Lambert square is the historical and traditional heart of Liège. Trace dating back to the middle Palaeolithic era (approximately 50.000 years ago) were unearthed there before the remains of a vast Roman villa then a Merovingian settlement, and finally the foundations of the cathedral of Notger, the first Prince-Bishop and an emblematic figure of his city’s and country’s history.
Today it no longer has its original cathedral, destroyed during the French Revolution, but is dominated by the imposing Palace of the Prince-Bishops (which houses the Justice Department and the Province’s Government). It is an architectural ensemble that pays witness to different eras and mixes styles, chiefly gothic and Renaissance.
A symbol of the municipal liberties, the Perron monument, whose history is just as eventful as that of the city, takes centre stage in Place du Marché square, a meeting place and traditional venue for trade. It is one of two fountains on this warm and busy square surrounded by beautiful 17th and 18th century façades, including that of the City Hall. Also, this district is home to elegant streets that pay witness to the city’s prestigious history, mainly on Rue Hors-Château and its culs-de sac, as well as Feronstrée, the shopping street. There are plenty of museums in the city centre, where history, heritage and culture compete to take pride of place.
Alongside the Cité district, the Île district completes the historical heart. Dominated by the Saint Paul Cathedral, Île is today almost entirely pedestrianised. Between the remains of the past, both religious and cultural, can be found concert halls, cinemas and fine shops.
THE COUNTRYSIDE IN THE CITY !
Alongside its tidy parks, Liège also boasts public gardens, which lie on slopes. A walk along the slopes of the citadel (a Michelin Green Guide 3-star site) is not to be missed on any visit to Liège.
Small stairs with solid steps, porches and old walls beset with ivy, doors that are just waiting to be opened, hidden courtyards, the old Beguine convent of the Holy Spirit and the Vieux-Joncs Tower are just a few examples of this countryside in the city that reaches its culmination at the Citadel.
An ideal panorama of the city and the river can be viewed from this bucolic location where several sheep still roam. The stairs (and all their 374 steps!) from Montagne de Bueren are a route for the bravest.
LIÈGE AND ITS MUSEUMS
Liège is also a city of culture. Blessed with its history and appetite for modernity, including artistically, it boasts many museums: the Grand Curtius museum complex, the Aquarium and Zoology Museum, the Maison de la Science science museum, the Museum of Walloon life, the Tchantchès Museum, the Maison de la Métallurgie metalworks museum, the PublicTransportMuseum, The Treasures of the Cathedral, the GrétryMuseum, etc.
The Parc de la Boverie park, located between the Meuse River and the Derivation, with its rose garden, Nicolas Schöffer tower and the new footbridge is an excellent venue for a stroll. At its heart, an edifice built for the World Fair in 1905 became “LA BOVERIE” in 2016. It plays host to the Liège Fine Arts Museum and a brand new space intended for hosting well-renowned temporary exhibitions in collaboration with the Louvre (Paris).
LIÈGE: SENSATIONS, THRILLS AND ENCOUNTERS...
There are few cities with 200,000 inhabitants that can boast a university and graduate colleges, a permanent opera troop, a world-renowned philharmonic orchestra, almost a dozen theatres hosting international modern dance performances and plays, two-yearly poetry, photography and engraving festivals… Liège is also the land of jazz, with its clubs, its international festival and, one of its kind, a jazz centre (the Maison du Jazz).
The people of Liège must find it difficult to get bored! Those who come to visit know this only too well…
The reputation of Liège has, since a long time ago, spread over the borders with regard to night-life. It is true that life is very pleasant in our ardent city, that we party hard and that a resistant liver is required…
There are hundreds of cafés, taverns and bistros. Pèkèt (made from juniper grains) in its characteristic “plat cou” stemless glass is the archetypal local drink. As for the world famous “café liégeois”, it is the highlight of a meal that, if you want to try regional produce, should give pride of place to black pudding, cold meats, Liège salad (potatoes, bacon and beans), the famous meatballs and chips with a syrup sauce or kidneys with juniper berries. With the first rays of sunshine, the terraces deployed in the city centre are an invitation to enjoy a drink and a conversation.
Liège is also the city of beer lovers. Visitors will enjoy a warm welcome at the craft brewery, specialist stores, bars and events under the same banner: Liège BeerLovers'City.
A centre for fairs and markets renowned since the Middle Ages, Liège still enjoys considerable and genuine commercial drive. The city centre, mostly given over to pedestrians, has encouraged both family and luxury shops to set up trade here. Also in the city centre, 3 shopping galleries brimming with character have a wide variety of goods on offer. Médiacité, the most recent, was designed by the famous architect Ron Arad. The other two are the Saint-Lambert gallery, in the hyper-centre, and Belle-Île gallery, the eldest of the three.
Liège is also a city with atmosphere, reflected in its local shops and trade through weekly district markets, second-hand goods markets and flea markets, without forgetting the La Batte market on the banks of the Meuse River on Sunday morning. It is the longest market in Europe selling fruit, flowers and vegetables, whose sellers shout the praise of their wares with their loud voices and strong accents.
Liège is delighted to welcome you!
Perhaps for one of these festivals for which Liège has the knack: the “crazy” week from 15 August in the Outremeuse district, the Wallonia festivals in September, the October Funfair, with its merry-go-rounds, or even the most sparkling Christmas Village in Wallonia, also the biggest in Belgium with its 200 chalets and four different sites.
DISCOVER THE OTHER TOWNS IN THE LIÈGE REGION