Bluestone and Belgian Chocolate itinerary

This itinerary is implemented with the support of the tourism office of Soignies and the Museum of Marble, Rance.

Introduction to the itinerary

The day is devoted to the discovering of the Bluestone in the region of Soignies. The Belgian Bluestone – also called "Petit Granit" due to the similarities between the stone and the crystalline and sparkling look of granites with volcanic origin – is to be found everywhere in Soignies – in historical buildings or more modern architectural elements. Bluestone has emerged from the late Middle Ages as building stone par excellence: homogeneous, weather and wear resistant. Especially its frost resistance make it the ideal stone for all works, large and small, including a hydraulic dimension.

The following itinerary can be done in all seasons.

> Morning

Starting point: Soignies Tourism Office

The world-renowned “Pierre Bleue” is used in most historical buildings in the city of Soignies as well as in more modern buildings. Several walking tours are offered and invite for a stroll in the city center to discover extraordinary vintage facades reflecting the rich history of the city.

Discover the majestic collegiate church of St. Vincent, ramparts, the old cemetery…. and also the spectacular works of art from the “International Sculpture Meeting”.

Among the remarkable buildings, you discover the centre of art and culture which is home to the “Bluestone Documentation Centre” (Centre de documentation de la Pierre Bleue).

In the gardens, tools and a reconstructed shed of a stonemason are reminiscent of the working conditions of the 19th and early 20th century.

For more information, please contact the Tourism Office of Soignies.

> Lunch

  • Restaurant « La Brace »: Place Verte, 9 - 7060 Soignies
  • Restaurant « la Fontaine Saint Vincent »: Rue Léon Hachez, 7 - 7060 Soignies
  • Restaurant « L’embellie »: Rue de la Station, 115 - 7060 Soignies

> Afternoon

In the surrounding villages, old houses, farms, chapels and churches are part of a very rich nature and diverse landscapes.

Make sure to pass by the artisan chocolate factory “La Cabosse” which proposes a rich range of chocolates and pralines but also pancakes and waffles. Enjoy finest Belgian chocolates!

Several quarries actively extracting Belgian Bluestone can be visited with a guide and by appointment:

In the heart of an old quarry site lies the “Stone Museum of Maffle”. Discover the evolution of work-related activities of the stone in Belgium and in Europe.

> Evening

In the evening, you can discover the city of Ath. Ath is a small and welcoming city surrounded by two nature reserves, the “hills” and the “slopes” of the Escaut river. The land of Ath – it’s grand!”, and its logo, has come to symbolize the city of Ath’s expansion.

For more suggestions, please visit the Leisure section.