The Belgium province of Hainaut of which Mons is the capital, holds the national record for heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. It has twenty listed sites, buildings and events. Because it is such a small area, this is an exceptional amount. A good way to discover and reach these places is by bicycle. Enjoy your stay at our hotel in Mons city centre.
A good bicycle tour is to visit first the Grand Place, then the Belfry of Mons and the site of Grand Hornu. The Grand Place is an area that is very vibrant with many restaurants, bars and terraces. It is perfect to sit down on a terrace and enjoy the beautiful buildings that surround the Grand Place. The buildings are very colorful with Gothic, neoclassical or Spanish influences. The historical facades show a great architectural panorama from the 15th century until now. In the middle there is a stone circle that represents the nineteen municipalities of Mons. The town hall is an amazing Gothic building with a baroque bell tower. In the façade you find a small monkey that nobody knows how it ended up there. The myth is that it likes a caress over its head. If you do this with your left hand it will bring you one lucky year.
The Belfry of Mons is a huge belfry that survived many wars and pandemics. Since the late 1660s, it has stood proudly in the park of the Counts of Hainaut and keeps a watchful eye on the city. During the last centuries it warned the locals for fires, invasions and bombards. Today it still bounces on the tones of the carillon with 49 bells. The chapel of Saint Callistus next to the Belfry is the oldest religious monument of Mons. This roman chapel was built in 1501 and it houses a museum nowadays about the history of the old castle and the restauration of the belfry.
The site of Grand Hornu is a former coal mine and is the showpiece of Belgium’s industrial heritage. Grand Hornu is a monumental neoclassical structure from the 19th century and includes one of the oldest residential complexes for workers in the world. It was founded by Henri de Gorge, a major industrialist and true visionary. He dreamed of building a residential complex where workers would enjoy unseen level of comfort in the 19th century. The museum is also based on his vision. It is not a mining museum, but exhibits since the 1990s of design and applied arts.
If you didn’t have enough to see then it is also possible to bring a visit to the Mundaneum, the museum that is known as Google on paper or Silex’s, this museum is one of the oldest Silex mines in the world. After discovering Mons UNESCO monuments, you can have an amazing diner at our hotel restaurant in Mons.