Tournai is about 85km to the south of Brussels and one of the oldest cities in Belgium. As in the tradition of all places of cultural significance and economic booms, Tournai has survived the exchange of many hands from the Franks to the French to the English to the Austrians and now finally to the Belgians. You might say it has been a prime real estate king pawn in the chess game of politics for all of its existence since the third century.

But once you are in its historic center, what you mainly find is that the town, including a huge market place surrounded by historical buildings and cafes for people watching,

now rests in the shadow of a looming Romanesque-Gothic Notre Dame de Tournai cathedral,

whose ongoing renovation continues to be a massive undertaking to preserve its 12th century origins:

Here are some stats:

This cathedral

and the oldest belfry in Belgium

are both designated World Heritage Sites. Besides these main attractions, there is also a very pleasant walk along the canal’s embankment…

to the Pont des Trous

where I find my favorite house with a completely white library behind those large windows on the second floor:

On this lovely cool day following a bit of rain, how exactly did I use some of the pieces from my suitcase?

My favorite accessory for touring a town I’ve never seen, however, is always a new flavor of sorbet :-D.


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