Leisure in Wallonia - Belgium

Mons – European Capital of Culture 2015

Mons is the capital of the province of Hainaut and together with the Czech city of Plzeň, it is the European Capital of Culture in 2015.

300 events and a thousand cultural and artistic activities, 5 new museums, 2 new concert halls, the very best artists performing in cultural institutions as well as in the streets, squares, parks, on water, in public buildings, houses, open-air cafés and other trendy canteens. Becoming a ‘Creative Valley’ in a world turned upside down by new technology is all about moving with the times and acquiring an impetus that will carry thousands of visitors along.

Ath – City of giants

Ath is a small and welcoming city surrounded by two nature reserves, the “hills” and the “slopes” of the Escaut river. In the last 20 years, the town has undergone a significant revival through the revitalization of the city center and a campaign emphasizing what it has to offer. The slogan “The land of Ath – it’s grand!”, and its logo, has come to symbolize the city of Ath’s expansion.

The annual procession and permanent exhibition of giants, “la Ducasse” is a masterpiece of humankind’s oral and intangible heritage, according to UNESCO.

Les Lacs de l’eau d’heure – Recreational lakeside

The “Eau d'Heure lakes” is a complex of five artificial lakes, forming the largest lake area in Belgium.

The primary river feeding the lakes is the “Eau d'Heure”. There are five dams and one hydro-electric power station. The largest lake, the “Lac de la Plate Taille”, is itself the largest single lake in the country, at 3.74 square kilometres. It is a perfect tourist destination, offering a variety of activities such as swimming, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, rowing, rafting and deep-sea diving. A favourite aquatic activity to be explored is the tour with the Red Crocodile, an amphibious bus offering a route half on the road, half on the water.

The lakeside was awarded with the “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN) in 2010 for non-traditional tourist destinations.

Pairi Daiza – Animal theme park

The animal theme park is located in Brugelette in the province of Hainaut in the south of Belgium and is home to over 4,000 animals. The park is designed as a “garden of worlds” - a wonderful journey across the continents: the lagoon, the valley of the source, the gate of heaven, the land of origin, the gate of depths, the Kingdom of Ganesha and the city of immortals.

Pairi Daiza was elected “Best Zoo” as well as “Most beautiful park” in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2015.

La Roche-en-ART-Denne - Permanent sculpture exhibitions

The initiative “La Roche-en-ART-Denne” was created in 2013 with the objective to promote monumental stone sculptures by installing them permanently in the village of La-Roche-en-Ardenne. The goal is to help sculptors from all over the world to make themselves known, to exhibit and sell their works of art. Different styles can be found in the works exhibited – from modern to classic. A large collection along seven trails will allow the visitor to delve into this mode of expression.