24 hours in the Ardennes

Another non beauty post is coming up!

A few weeks ago we hopped in the car for a little getaway in our own Belgium. You don’t always need to drive very far to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

En route to our B&B of choice (more about that later) we stopped in Liège, capital of the province bearing the same name.
We had no idea what to expect here and didn’t really prepare for it either. We knew about the Cathedral so we decided to park the car there and use it as the starting point for our visit.

Cathédrale Saint-Paul de Liège is definitely not the impressive of cathedrals, but while you’re in Liège, a visit won’t hurt.

After a brief visit to the cathedral, we started walking around without a real goal or destination and just followed the tourist signs, very handy!

We walked up to the Basilique Saint-Martin de Liège, which was closed, bummer.

Liège

We saw some more churches, some small shopping malls, lots of shops, we had lunch and got back in the car for a very short drive to Médiacité, a big shopping mall with a Primark. The one in Brussels is still very crowded, this one was not so busy, also because we were there on a weekday, so the perfect time to see what Primark is all about. I bought some T-shirts, some home stuff. I actually quite liked it.

Overall, Liège didn’t really impress me, I don’t think we’ll be going back for a longer stay.

Back in the car and off to Stavelot we went!

We chose Stavelot simply because we liked B&B Bel Natura on Booking and we made our reservation there.

The B&B is located in the centre of Stavelot, but that doesn’t mean it’s loud or busy, it’s just perfectly located if you want to go out for dinner (no car needed) or visit the Abbey (no car needed either!).

The house is beautiful, our room was very spacious and exactly what we needed.

Bel Natura 1

 

Bel Natura 2

The private bathroom had a shower and toiletries.

Bel Natura 3

 

Bel Natura 4

There was free WiFi and parking, always a bonus.

We were treated to some drinks and a little snack after checking in, there’s actually an Italian deli in the B&B, so the snacks were olives, sun dried tomatoes,… Very nice.

That evening we didn’t feel like having a huge meal, just something simple. And what’s better than some fries at a friterie? It’s what you (should) do when you’re a tourist in Belgium! Friterie Sébastien got good reviews on TripAdvisor and it was within walking distance, a no-brainer. And the fries were gooooood! They also had the best homemade meatballs (roulette), great place.

After enjoying an amazing breakfast (a breakfast buffet with sweet and salty options for everyone) the next morning, with delicious freshly squeezed orange juice (Sicilian apparently, very tasty for sure), we visited the Abbey of Stavelot.

Abbaye de Stavelot 1

The Abbey of Stavelot is home to several museums, some are permanent and other exhibitions are temporary.

The permanent museums are the Historical Museum of the Principality of Stavelot-Malmédy, the Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum and the Guillaume Apollinaire Museum.

We started our visit in the Abbey’s cellars, where an impressive collection of race cars is on display. The Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum is not just about this track but about Formula 1 and racing in general. I am not interested in Formula 1 at all, but even I found it interesting!

Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum 1

Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum 2

Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum 3

 

After our underground visit we went up to the Guillaume Apollinaire Museum. This is very small, don’t go up there thinking you’ll need a few hours, it’s petite, quoi.

We ended our visit to the Abbey in the main museum. It’s a walk through the history of the Abbey and its area, with some video, some audio: it’s nicely put together.

Abbaye de Stavelot 2

A visit to the Abbey’s museums and the temporary exhibition (right now it’s an Anne Frank exhibition, we were a bit too early for this, too bad!) will cost you €9,50 and includes an audio guide.

It was now time to leave Stavelot behind and head back home, but not without a visit to one of the main attractions in this area…

The Waterfalls of Coo! These are not Niagara Falls or Iguazu Falls, not by a loooooong shot, but still, when you’re in the area you should drop by and take a look. It’s still quite impressive to see nature in full force.

Coo 1

You can park nearby (don’t forget to pay!) and take the stairs down that will take you in between the 2 falls. It was so quiet when we were there, I can imagine it getting very crowded here in peak season, but there was only one other family there, so we almost had the place to ourselves.

Coo 2

There ‘s plenty of places to have a drink or a bite to eat and for those of you with little ones, you could take them to Plopsa Coo, an amusement park just for them. It looks out on the falls so you can have a little picnic with a superb view!

We had a great time, it was a short trip, but a good one, we really did feel like tourists in our own country.

Have you ever been to any of these places or do you have tips for other trips close to home?

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s