Although Brussels is the largest French speaking city in Belgium, Namur, 60 km’s to the south east is actually the capital of French speaking Wallonia.
Although Namur is a capital city, it does lack a lot of the things that you would expect to find in a capital. If you are after capital city quality museums and galleries, its best to stick to Brussels. But Namur has a certain charm to it which is worth a day or two. Namur also makes an excellent base for exploring some other attractions in Wallonia, but I will cover that more in posts later this month.
What to do and see in Namur
The main attraction in Namur is the large and opposing citadel on the top of the hill nearby. The fortified citadel castle is surrounded by a large park and overlooks the city and the river. One of the most interesting parts of visiting the castle is exploring all the underground tunnels and escape networks.
The original citadel dates to 937, but it has been built upon several times since and has sustained many sieges.
You probably need at least a day to explore the citadel.
Other than the citadel there isn’t much else of note to see in the city, but it makes a good base for exploring some other nearby attractions.
How to get to Namur
Namur is well connected to other Belgian cities by the Belgian rail network.
What to eat and drink in Namur
The snail is the mascot of the city, and it is also the main ingredient of the cities signature dish. When in Namur you have to try les petit-gris de Namur. This is a pastry dish, filled with snails cooked in a creamy garlic sauce.
Namur is also the closest city to the monastery where the trappist beer Rochefort is brewed. Unlike some other breweries, like nearby Maredsous (more on them later this month), the monks are not that interested in showing around tourists, so you might as well save yourself the trip and enjoy a bottle or two of Rochefort at a sunny terrace bar in Namur.