Red marble and beer tour itinerary

This itinerary is implemented with the support of Musée du Marbre, Rance.

Introduction to the itinerary

The day is devoted to the discovering of the red marble of Rance. The red marble was extracted in an area called “Entre Sambre et Meuse” (“between Sambre and Meuse rivers”) for centuries. Today, the city of Rance keeps in its museum the “souvenir” of this activity.

Rance was a marble centre of good reputation. In the course of the centuries, the stone of Rance has been successively used as flagstone and rough stone. The rough stone was used during the Roman period, archaeological excavations show us the abundant use of the red marble at that time. That stone reached an international reputation when the polishing technique during the Renaissance made it smooth and bright. The marble of Rance was no longer a rough and dull limestone as before. It was quarried and transported even to remote places like Denmark and later to Versailles and everywhere in Europe and all over the world. During the 19th century, new products appeared and the commercial activity continued to expand.

The following itinerary can be done in all seasons.

> Morning

Starting point: Musée du Marbre, Grand Rue 22, 6470 Sivry-Rance

Your tour starts by visiting the Museum of Marble in Rance. The mission of the Museum of Marble in Rance is to diffuse, to present and to preserve the cultural heritage of the red marble.

You start with a short film about the museum - in 3 languages (FR / NL / EN) - before entering the exhibition space. Learn about the formation of marble and its century old history of exploitation.

The museum offers:

  • A privileged place for a concrete introduction to geology and palaeontology for children, teens and adults.
  • An opportunity to discover fossils, the petrified witnesses of the past.
  • Valuable information on social history, especially on the everyday life of the stone workers of the past.
  • A real repository of machines and tools, which are still bearing the marks of human labour.
  • An incomparable and amazing display of the main marble sorts quarried in the world: granites and onyx included.
  • A panorama of the marble resources from five continents and particularly from Belgium.
  • A unique documentary centre as well as a link for marble professionals.
  • An overview of the use of the red of Rance all over the world: Versailles, Antwerp, Poland, Italy, USA etc.

The museum especially welcomes children who will receive a storybook to learn playfully about the stone and get the chance to discover the museum through games.

Option: Visit to a marble sculptor

Together with the guide of the marble museum in Rance, a visit to a marble sculptor can be organised. Only by appointment.

> Lunch

A 20 minute drive from Rance brings you to the “Espace Chimay” (Chimay Space) to savour the products of Scourmont Abbey and the Chimay region – known for its Trappist beer and cheeses.

Enjoy the Chimay Trappist beers’ rich aromas, along with the flavours of their accompanying cheeses.

As an authentic Trappist ale, Chimay is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the supervision and responsibility of the monastic community, which is involved in the entire process of making and selling the ale – since 1862!

> Afternoon

The afternoon is dedicated to the discovering of an ancient site of exploitation in Senzeilles now protected by a heritage classification. This quarry can be visited with or without a guide. By appointment, it will also be possible to visit an active marble quarry not far from Philippeville. For security reasons, this visit is not always possible.

The quarry “Beauchâteau” in Senzeilles is a 15-minute drive from Rance and you can see the site as it was before closing.

It is possible to visit an active quarry in Vodelée (Hautmont). The fascinating underground black marble quarries of Golzinnes can also be visited (only for groups and by appointment). More details are provided by the Museum of Marble on request (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

> Evening

In the evening, you can explore the city of Mons – a cultural city in Hainaut. Mons became capital of creativity as a host of cultural and artistic events as well as new museums.

For more suggestions, please visit the Leisure section.