14 Sightseeing in Liege
Liege (Luik in Flemish) is the third largest city in Belgium and is historically one of the most important industrial centers of the country. It was one of the first places in Europe to start coal mining and has a long tradition of manufacturing, especially in the steel industry. Because of this industrial heritage, Liège is not as beautiful as other Belgian cities (such as Bruges and Ghent), but it has some absolutely wonderful museums and churches that those interested in architecture, art and history will appreciate. In particular, visitors should not miss the fantastic Wallonia Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, two of the country’s best museums.
See also: Where to stay in Liege
1 Palais des Princes-Evêques
Palais des Princes-Evêques
This building, now the legal court and seat of the Walloon government, is the former palace of the princely bishops. The original building was demolished at the end of the 15th century, and the reconstruction, which took place between 1526 and 1540, marks the transition between Gothic and Renaissance style. There are two picturesque courtyards with arcaded walkways and columns. The artists who carved the columns with silly masks and grotesque faces were inspired by Sebastian Brant and Erasmus and news from the New World. The second courtyard is more tranquil with a fountain. The interior of the palace is not open to the public.
Address: Place Saint-Lambert, central Liège
2 Museum of Walloon Life
Museum of Walloon Life
The Wallonia Museum (Museu de Vallon) is located in a former 17th-century monastery in Minorit. Inside you will find 350,000 exhibits and documents illustrating life and culture in the Walloon region of Belgium, which have been curated using modern museum technology. The first floor of the house houses temporary exhibitions, and the rooms on the first floor are devoted to various themes, including religion, festivals and craft work. The top floor is devoted to agricultural crafts, such as cheese making and basketry, and coal mining in Wallonia, and in the basement is a reproduction of a coal mine tunnel from around 1900. Adjacent to the museum is the Museum of Religious Art (Musée d’Art Religieux) with nine rooms exhibiting works from the churches of Liège and the Maas region.
Address: Court des Mineurs, central Liège
This street runs from the east side of the market square of Liège, through the heart of the Old City. Church of Saint-Barthelemy , Its name is a reminder that in the Middle Ages here were found forges, iron foundries and the offices of metal merchants along with the houses of the guild meetings. Most of the buildings that escaped demolition are from the 18th century. About halfway along this street is the Ilôt Saint-Georges Complex with the Musée de l’Art Wallon, which displays paintings, sculptures and drawings by Walloon artists such as Joachim Patiniere, Lambert Lombard, Henri Blais and Jean Delcourt. Not far from Ilôt Saint-Georges is the beautiful facade of the Maison Michel Willems, built between 1735 and 1740 for Michel Willems, patrician of the city. Converted into a museum, the house is an eloquent example of the bourgeois lifestyle of the nobility in the 18th century with an ornate interior that is worth seeing.
Address: Féronstrée, central Liège
4 Church of Saint Barthelemy
This church was built between the 11th and 12th centuries and expanded in the 18th century with its two towers, characteristic of Rhine and Mosan architecture. The late 11th century choir is of particular interest, as are the paintings of Bertollet Flemalle (1614-1675) and Englebert Fiesen (1655-1733), who were both from Liège. The most valuable treasure of the church is a bronze font from Rainier de Hay, which was made between 1107 and 1118. It rests on 12 bulls, symbolizing the Apostles, and is magnificently decorated with five baptismal reliefs. The font originally stood in the church of Notre-Dame-aux-Fonts, which was destroyed during the French Revolution and was moved to its present location here to protect it for posterity.
Address: Rue des Brasseurs, central Liège
5 In the Maas.
The best place to walk in Liège is along the banks of the Maas River. The Pont de Arc bridge here was built between 1858 and 1862 to replace the old 11th century bridge. Between rue du Pont and rue de la Galle-ay-Viande you will find the Butcher’s Hall, built in 1546. Behind it, on the corner of Rue Loiry, is the historic Maison Havart, which dates from 1594. The bank of the river leads to the city’s wharves. Avid shoppers should be sure to head to La Batte Quay, where you’ll find the daily Batte Market , For the best results, trade between 9:00 and noon. Every Sunday you will also find a flea market here.
Address: Banc de Maestricht, central Liège
6 Quai de Maestricht
Quai de Maestricht
The Quai de Maestricht is home to many interesting museums. The Musée d’Armes houses a superb collection of small arms documenting Liège’s arms-making tradition dating back to the 14th century. The Musée Curtius is based in the former mansion of Jean Curtius (1551-1628), once a supplier to the Spanish army. Between 1600 and 1610 he had this model brick house built on the riverbank in the Mosaic Renaissance style. The museum’s two departments feature exhibits from the prehistoric, Roman and Franco-Medieval periods along with collections of furniture and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. Attached to the Curtius Museum is the Museum of Glass (Musée du Verre), which has more than 10,000 pieces of glass from the 5th century B.C. to the present, including some very original Art Nouveau glasses and vases.
Address: Quai de Maestricht, Liège
7 Place de la République
This central square, the Place de la Repubblica, is surrounded by excellent architecture. Built between 1818 and 1822 and modeled on the Odeon in Paris, the Théâtre Royal, on the southwest side of the square, is the home of the Opera Royale de la Valloni. To the north of the square, at the corner of Rue Haut Souvière, you will come to the Church of the Holy Cross, which was consecrated in 979 by Bishop Notker and rebuilt several times. It is one of the few churches in Belgium with two apses: the Romanesque west choir from 1175 and the Gothic east choir (and nave) from the 14th century. The treasury here has two exceptional pieces: one is the Triptych of the True Cross, probably by Godefroy de Hay, in which four fragments of the cross of Christ, part of John the Baptist’s skull and the tooth of St Vincent were handled; the other is the 37cm Clef de Saint Hubert (key of St Hubert), in which a piece of the pope’s skull, the key of Saint Hubert, is placed. Hubert), which Pope Gregory II gave to St. Hubert in 722 in accordance with the custom of giving the great churchmen the key to St. Peter’s tomb in Rome, in which Peter’s chain was inserted.
Address: Place de la République, Liège
8 Basilique Saint-Martin
Basilique Saint-Martin Daniel Jolivet / photo modified
The Basilique Saint Martin (Basilique Saint Martin) can be seen on the hill above the city. Founded in the 10th century and destroyed by fire in 1312 during a dispute between the guilds and the nobility, it was rebuilt in its present form at the beginning of the 16th century with a large starry choir. The church has stained glass windows from 1526 to 1536 and 14 marble plaques in the first part of the chapel to the right of Delcourt, dedicated to the dedication of Corpus Christi (Fette-Dieu), which was first celebrated in 1246.
Address: Rue Mont Saint-Martin, Liège
9 Saint Paul Monastery
St. Paul’s Monastery
In the square of Liège de la Catedralais stands the former monastery church of St. Paul, founded by Bishop Heraclius in 971. The expansive interior (85 meters long, 34 meters wide and 24 meters high) was decorated between the 16th and 19th centuries and includes works such as a marble sculpture of the burial of Christ by Delcourt in the left side aisle, a large glass window by Hans Cologne (1530) in the right hand and other examples of artistic stained glass from 1557-1587 in the choir apses. The treasury in the neighboring monasteries possesses two outstanding works. The one and a half meter high reliquary of St. Lambert was made in 1506-1512 by Hans von Reutlingen, jeweler to Emperor Maximilian and Charles V. While the gold reliquary of Charles the Bold depicts the Duke of Burgundy, this work of art by Gérard Loewe in 1467 was supposedly a gift to the city of Liège from Charles the Bold in 1471 as an expression of regret for the destruction of the city he had ordered.
Address: Place de la Cathédrale, Liège
10 Church of Saint James
The Church of Saint James (Saint Jacques) was founded in the 11th century and turned into a magnificent example of Late Gothic architecture from 1513 to 1538. The Romanesque portico of 1170 on the west side has been preserved, and the magnificent northern portal was reconstructed by Lambert Lombard in Renaissance style from 1558 to 1560, but still has the relief under the arch of the Coronation of the Virgin which was made in 1380 and is considered a masterpiece of Mosan Gothic sculpture. It’s also worth seeing inside the church, with its magnificent vaults, 17th-century rood screen and 16th-century stained-glass windows.
Address: Rue St-Remy, Liège
11 Museum of Modern Art
contemporary art museum
The Grand Liège Parc de Beauverie is home to the Museum of Modern Art (Musée d’Art Moderne) at the southern end of the park. Inside is an impressive collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings, including works by Picasso, Pissarro, Monet, Kokoschka, Chagall, and above all Belgian artists such as Ennepoel, de Smet and Delvaux. Adjacent to the main exhibition rooms is the Copper Engraving Pebble (Cabmin de Estampes), which has 26,000 objects from all periods since the 19th century.
Address: Parc de la Boverie 3, Liège
12 The valley of the Huerta.
Ourthe is a 130-kilometer river in eastern Belgium, and its valley is one of the most charming and picturesque regions of the country. The villages along the riverbank are ideal grounds for woodland walks and boat and canoe trips in the Ourthe and its tributaries. Around the river are castles, old windmills and magnificent scenery. In particular, the town of La Roche en Ardennes, known as the “Pearl of the Ardennes”, has an extremely picturesque location, surrounded by forests at the junction of several side valleys, and the village of Durbuy is a charming place of narrow streets and old houses that give the impression that time stands here.
Location: 69 km south of Liège
The town of Stavelot is a peaceful place and the main attraction here is the Abbey of Stavelot, which existed before the French Revolution when it was dissolved. Today, the premises, which mostly date back to the 18th century, house the city administration and three brilliant museums. The regional Museum of Religious Art is located in the west wing, which was built in 1714. The Romanesque vaulted cellars of the abbey provide an unusual setting for the Automobile Museum , The third museum (in the eastern wing of the abbey) is dedicated to the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) who spent three months in Stavelot in 1899 and left the city without paying his hotel bill.
Location: 68 km south-east of Liège
The Spa, on the wooded slopes of the northern Ardennes, owes its fame to the natural springs that attracted travelers from all over Europe during the Victorian era. Because of its fame as a spa, the word “spa” itself has become synonymous with sanatorium in English. Today, only the old baths and some of the hotels remain from their elegant heyday, although people still come here to seek medicine in the iron-rich springs. Spa life is mostly centered in Place Royale around the baths and assembly rooms built by Leon Suisse from 1862 to 1868. The baths are supplied with water from Marie-Henriette Spring outside of town.
Location: 35 km south of Liège
Map of the Spa – Attractions
Where to stay in Liège for sightseeing
We recommend these centrally located hotels in Liège near major attractions such as beautiful museums and historic churches:
Les Comtes de Mean: luxury 5-star hotel, medieval mansion, full-service spa, indoor pool, gym.
What is worth seeing in Liège?
Liège is an extraordinary and surprising Belgian town. Tourists who decide to visit it will be pleasantly surprised by the availability of interesting places and architectural masterpieces in the city of metallurgists and gunsmiths. Indeed, in addition to the industrial area of Liege has a historical center, more like a huge open-air museum. And curious travelers will have to explore it only on foot. The main exhibits and attractions of this so-called museum are concentrated in one of the longest pedestrian zones in Europe.
Tourists can arrange a sightseeing tour of Liege on their own. For this will be enough to get a detailed city map showing the significant monuments, buildings and existing museums. Since much of the local attractions are concentrated in the historic center, the travelers will have to proceed to the area of rue Féronstre, where, in fact, and cognitive and fascinating walk will begin. The first place tourists should not miss is one of the most beautiful and original buildings of Liège – St Bartholomew’s church. The collegiate church was built in the XI century and was originally designed in the Romanesque style. However, two centuries later, the central structure was enriched by neoclassical additions. And as such the church has been present before the parishioners and visitors for ten centuries. Tourists can freely look inside the church to admire the bronze font mounted on ten bulls. The walls of the font, still used in baptisms today, are decorated with biblical bas-reliefs.
- The church of St. Bartholomew is open to visitors daily. From Monday to Saturday, everyone can admire the font and interior decoration of the church from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00. On Sunday the holy place is available from 14:00 to 17:00. All visitors are asked to make a small donation of 1.50-2 euros for a tour of the font.
The next interesting object tourists will find across the street from the church at Feronstri Street, 114. It will be the Museum of Archaeology and Decorative Arts, or as the locals call it, the Museum of Ansambur. In the mansion, bought by the city government more than a hundred years ago from the family Ansambur, on display are paintings by local artists, old Delft tiles, tapestries and furniture of the XVIII century. But it’s not just the museum’s exhibits that impress visitors, it’s also the interior furnishings. In some rooms, the wall paneling is made of carved wood panels, and the ceilings have marvelous moldings. I really liked the staircase that leads to the second floor of the mansion. The railings are elegantly wrought iron.
In addition to everything on the second floor of the museum tourists are welcomed by an amazing hexagonal clock from 1795, which shows the time in 50 countries simultaneously.
- Entrance ticket to the museum for adults costs about 5 euros, children can visit this place for 3 euros. However, if the walk is on a Monday, tourists will not be able to visit this mansion-museum. Museum Ansambur is open Tuesday through Saturday afternoons from 13:00 to 18:00, and Sunday you can look here from 10:00 to 18:00.
Then the route of the self-guided walk can go in several directions, depending on the interests of tourists. Museum lovers can head towards Quai de Maestrich, where the Curtius Museum is located at number 136. It occupies a rectangular mansion built of red brick. On the first floor, visitors are treated to restored rooms with interiors ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. The second and third floors are devoted to exhibitions. However, of the many items on display, the most important one is the rare Notger Gospel, with its ivory cover and precious stones.
- A visit to the Curtius Museum will empty the wallet of adult tourists for 9 euros. Travelers can visit it on Monday, Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
Also, fans of unusual art and creativity can walk down Rue Feronstri and turn left at the intersection with Rue Saint-Georges. As a result of these maneuvers, tourists will find themselves in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, which is interesting not so much for the works of Walloon artists, as for the special puppet shows with the Chanchez, the wooden puppet and mascot of Liège. In the performances, the unusual puppet, with its huge nose and brightly painted face, walks around the stage wearing huge wooden shoes, a red scarf and a black top hat, playing the role of a leading man who prefers to communicate with the audience. According to the locals, Chanchez is a typical representative of Liège, as free-spirited and fun-loving as he is.
- A museum ticket costs €5 for adults and €3 for children. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
As for tourists who prefer the natural beauty and architectural monuments, they will need to move from the street Feronstra to the parallel street Or Chateau. This is where the Montagne de Bueren is located, with its 374 steps leading to the top of the hill, offering a picturesque panorama of the Maas River and all of Liège.
After admiring the views, tourists can return to Or Château and stroll along it to admire the bright red facade of the Church of Atonement and the brown and gray cathedral of St. Antoine. Then you have to cross to Féronstre and walk along it to the Place du Marché, where travelers will be waiting for the column Le Perron, symbolizing the independence of the city and the right to their own court.
Here you can see the town hall and take a picture with the eternally seated sculpture of the classic of detective genre Georges Simenons. After such a walk with a tiresome climb up the hill, many tourists will be exhausted. Those who get a second wind can walk to the Palais des Princes Eveques or to the Cathedrale St. Paul. This is the end of the sightseeing tour of Liège. It will take a whole day, it will exhaust tourists, but a lot of fun.
If you are not in Liège for just one day, you can also visit the Chanches Personal Museum at 56 Surlette Street and the Museum of Modern Art in the Bowery Park.