Discover la Ville de Dinant in Belgium
Dinant, a beautiful city, and municipality lie in the Wallonia part of Belgium. 90 kilometers south-east of Brussels, 30 kilometers south-east of Charleroi, 30 kilometers south of Namur. It is popularly known for its River Meuse, Caves, Saxophones and Citadel.
The name Dinant comes from the Celtic Divo-Nanto, meaning “Sacred Valley” or “Divine Valley” it can also be translated as “Celestial Gorge” or “Luminous Gorge”.
Dinant’s place is in the Upper Meuse valley or known as Dinant and la Haute Meuse. Sited in a steep-sided valley between the rock face and the river.
The Meuse of Dinant is a primary river rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. It has a total length of 925 km.
First World War during the German invasion of Belgium, Dinant was the city was fought by French and German forces. There were hundreds of people died and suffer from the war and until now they are still remembered. And people today give homage to those who died from the war.
What to see and do in Dinant
The city has a lot to offer to the public, in terms of leisure the city has tons of it. Some of its famous attractions are Collegiate Church of Notre Dame de Dinant, The Citadel, Rocher Bayard, The House of Adolphe Sax.
For great activities, you can do Cruises on the Meuse, Lesse Kayaks, “Le Copère” and “Le Sax Boats”, BOCQ Railway, Cycling and Camping in and around Dinant. These are great activities to fill your day.
Other interesting places to visit are Thes Caves “Pont D’arcole”, Ruins of Crèvecoeur, Gardens of Annevoie, Chateau et Jardins de Freyr, don’t forget the Meuse Mediaeval Heritage Centre.
The Adventures of the Geek
It was late November when one day I decided to convince my partner to visit one of the most popular city in Wallonia part Belgium. Almost a decade now living in this country and never had I a chance to truly visit this City. Finally, we decided to give it a tour and invited another person to come with us.
Driving to this place, the weather wasn’t on our side. It was raining hard, a madness of rains I can say. It was the most difficult decision to do, to visit a place where the weather is undependable. Can we really visit the city while it’s raining? I’m not pretty sure. Never tried it yet!
The Rocher Bayard
Arriving at the city, the entrance was kinda bit weird. We have to pass through these two huge rocks split together with a road in between. But the good news was the sun came out and we can enjoy this good weather at last!
Rocher Bayard said to be a whole huge rock split by the giant hoof of Bayard. The giant horse carrying the four sons of Aymon on their legend flight from Charlemagne through the Ardennes told in Les Quatre Fils Aymon, a famous 12th century chanson de geste.
As I look around, the city was a delightful beauty. The Meuse makes it more magical, Its houses surrounding the city, the bridge and the boats touring around with tourists on it.
The Rail Road
Roaming around to get a parking space, the city indeed filled with cars parked everywhere. We drove to the highest point of Dinant (well apart from the citadel). We went to this old University of the city and we passed to this Railway between normal road.
I’ve always been fascinated to see Railroads in the middle of the city, that’s why I even walked on the mud just to take these lovely photos for my collections. They are sublime, adding those fabulous colors of the autumn trees.
Dinant and the Saxophone
Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax a Belgian inventor and musician born in Dinant, invented the saxophone in the early 1840s. He played the flute and clarinet. He also invented the saxotromba, saxhorn and saxtuba.
His works are now presented in the city everywhere, Dinant is even known for its Saxophone thanks to its inventor Adolphe Sax. It was overwhelming to see all this saxophone statues around the bridge and around the city.
The Charles de Gaulle bridge unites the city and the access to the main square is brimming with various saxophone statues representing different countries of the world.
History of The Charles de Gaulle bridge
The Charles du Galle bridge built, in honor of the of the old President of the Old Republic, wounded in the Dinant course of the first world war. When he was still a lieutenant in the French army.
In 2010, statues of saxophones tribute to the countries of European Union. A year before the Europe Sax celebrated here and decided that each saxophone statue represent a European Country.
As we cross the bridge, it’s true theses saxes looks wonderful and colorful. Who knows which sax represent which country? It was hard to guess which indeed. I had found out that there were even sax which represents Spain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and others.
Notre Dame de Dinant
It was rebuilt in Gothic style on its old foundations after falling rocks from the adjacent cliff partly destroyed the former Romanesque style church. As we entered inside, the gothic part of the church is sparkling.
Reading the history of the church, apparently, it has one of those remarkably stained glasses. One of those is the vast stained glass ceiling by Ladon, one of the largest in Europe.
The admission fee to get access to the church is free, the church is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm everyday.
Getting to the Citadel of Dinant
It wasn’t planned to visit the citadel at first, but as I’ve seen this cable car going back and forth from the citadel it started to spark my interest. And finally, we did it. We took one of those cable cars and rode to the highest peak of this place.
The entrance was 8,50 euros per person with a tourist guide who will give you a tour around and explain everything about the citadel and the city.
The beauty of the city is unique, reaching the top makes you feel great. Getting the opportunity to see the real panorama beauty of Dinant. It makes me compare to the Atomium of Brussels but the citadel offers more than just a view. Its has a museum showing all the soldiers place, restaurants, cafeteria and children’s playground.
Inside the Fort
We visited the fort and saw the dungeons where you will see the prisoners place. We have also seen the old equipment that soldiers used, especially that one called “Guillotine” that tool which cuts the head off by a split of second with its blade.
The center square of the fort is a big wide flat protected by its people. From today you’ll see this big canon in the middle protecting its citadel up to now. As I took this photo, it started raining hard again and we went to a place out from the sight of the rain.
Panorama View of the City
Minutes later a man came to us in the corner and started to gather other tourist in the place. Startled cause I didn’t know at first that we had a tourist guide.
Now I knew we had one, He started explaining and talking about all the history of the city and the citadel. Knowing these precious information makes you feel great. We wandered around the square and found this perfect angle to see the whole panorama view of the city.
Overall, it was a great day to be treasured. Thanks to our tour guide I’ve learned so much about this city. So much to share about this wonderful city. I’ll be posting another article highlighting the Citadel’s Fortress. So watch out for it!
I’ll give a 9/10 for this memorable experience, sadly the weather was too cold and rainy for us, but the discovery was impeccable. I’ll surely go back here and stay more days as I can.
For more information about the city you can visit its Official Site.