Mons is the capital of the Belgian province of Hainaut, in the region of Wallonia. Its Dutch (Flemish) name is Bergen, not to be confused with the namesake city in Norway. Mons is the European Capital of Culture for 2015, together with Plzen.
There are regular train links with Brussels and other major Belgian cities
Take the Mons exit from the E19/E42
The city is serviced by free shuttle service that runs between 0700 and 2100. The shuttles run along three circuits, all of which terminate at the train station Gare B. All run past Sainte Waudru and the Grand Place.
- The Grand Place is the centre of the historic town and the stage for the annual mock-battle of the Lumeçon.
- The City Hall, originally built near the current location of the belfry, was moved on the Grand Place in the 13th century. The flamboyant gothic building we see today dates from the 15th century. In front of it stands a statue of a monkey, which is said to bring good fortune to those who pat his head.
- The collegiate church of Saint Waltrude is paradoxically a good specimen of Brabantic Gothic architecture.
- The neighbouring belfry, classified as a World Heritage Site, dates from the 17th century and is the only Baroque-style belfry in Belgium.
- The so-called Spanish House dates from the 16th century.
- Van Gogh House (Maison Van Gogh), 3 Rue du Pavillon, Cuesmes 7033 (Mons), ☎ +32 65 35-56-11, +32 65 33-55-80. Tu-Sa 10:30-12:30, 13:30-18:00. Cuesmoise the house where he lived from August 1879 to October 1880, was saved from ruin in the 1970s and is now accessible to the public. €5.
- The Ducasse de Mons of Doudou is the name of a week-long series of festivities or Ducasse, which originates from the 14th century and takes place every year on Trinity Sunday. Highlights include:
- The entrusting of the reliquary of Saint Waltrude to the mayor of the city on the eve of the procession.
- The placement of the reliquary on the Car d’Or (golden carriage), before it is carried in the city streets in a colourful procession that counts more than a thousand costumed participants.
- The lifting of the Car d’Or on a paved area near the church of Saint Waltrude; tradition holds that this operation must be successful for the city to prosper.
- The Lumeçon fight, where Saint George confronts the dragon. The fight lasts for about half an hour, accompanied by the rhythmic "Doudou" music. The tradition of the processional dragon is listed among the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
- Auberge de Jeunesse du Beffroi (Beffroi Youth Hostel), Rampe du Château, 2 (citycenter).
- Brasserie Georges, Place Léopold 1, ☎ +32 65 39-93-93.
- Dutrieux Ets, Rue de la Petite Guirlande 19, ☎ +32 65 33-56-55.
- Hotel INFOTEL, Rue d'Havré 32, ☎ +32 65 40-18-30.
- Ibis Hôtel Mons, Boulevard Charles Quint 27 (400m from Gare), ☎ +32 65 84-74-40.
- Ingredients du Monde, Avenue Reine Astrid 45, ☎ +32 65 36-07-63.
- Metropole, Rue Léopold II 20, ☎ +32 65 31-46-64.
- Prodhygen, Chemin de La Vallière 23, ☎ +32 65 59-05-01.
- Ruttar / Rosa, Place Léopold 3, ☎ +32 65 34-05-64.
- St-James, Place de Flandre 8, ☎ +32 65 72-48-11.
Mons is the Capital of the Province of Hainaut, and is a good base to explore the region.
The historic town of Nimy is a few kilometers to the north up the N6.
The Grand-Large Marina is close to the IMAGIPARK amusement park, and is a good place to start a canal tour of the local waterways.
The MAC's in Grand-Hornu (via TEC Bus lines 7 and 9) is a beautiful museum in a superb historic industrial coal site. Visit also the places near Grand-Hornu where Vincent Van Gogh lived.