Dinant on the River Meuse in the Walloon Region of French-speaking Belgium is an incredibly photogenic town. Intimate to the core and with dramatic cliffs as its backdrop, you can explore its full expanse on foot in under an hour.
Dominated by two imposing buildings, the Citadel, and the distinguished Collegiate Church of Our Lady (Collegiale Notre-Dame de Dinant) with its glimmering bronze dome. The Citadel is a former military fortress built in 1820, reachable by cable car or, should you prefer, by ascending the 420 stair steps that have been carved into the rock.
Dinant-born Adolphe Sax can be thanked for inventing the saxophone, something his town is very proud of. Saxophone art and statues line the streets, and a sculpture of Adolphe holding a sax is the primary commemorative marker. At Adolphe Sax’s birthplace, an interactive history and exhibit can be enjoyed.
The main bridge in Dinant is named after Charles de Gaulle to honour the previous President of the French Republic, who was shot in the leg during Battle of Dinant in August 1914. The Chateau de Freyr, with its cascading gardens, is found on the west bank of the river Meuse and is considered a mini version of France’s Versailles and one of the most magnificent sites in Belgium.
Dinant’s streets are lined with bars selling Belgian beer and delicious chocolates. Charming restaurants, cafes, and hotels invite tourists and locals alike. The south of Belgium, with its lush forests and hills, is perfect for nature walks, kayaking, cross-country cycling, and ziplining, should you wish to work off some of the beer you’re likely to consume while in languishing in Dinant.
For a laugh, a very quirky annual event is Dinant’s Bathtub Regatta. Exactly as the name suggests, it’s a regatta in which people race in bathtubs propelled only by human force. The bathtubs are decorated and the whole thing is a fun and a rather crazy spectacle.
Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French. ― Charles de Gaulle
** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.
** Pics sourced.