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Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines

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Liege May 2011

As spring moves towards summer, Liège reveals itself as Wallonia’s liveliest city. The Jazz à Liège Festival takes place 13-14 May at the Palais des Congrès. Across the River Meuse at La Zone, the Fuzz Orchestra performs on 15 May, swiftly followed by the Anarchist Black Cross festival on 21 May. More reflective is Liège’s International Biennial of Contemporary Prints (4 May – 3 June, Parc de la Boverie). Adrian Mourby is our city guide

OUTREMEUSE

Outremeuse (literally ‘across the Meuse’) is a quirky, bohemian area of writers and artists that declared itself a Free Republic in 1927. It was also the home of Inspector Maigret creator Georges Simenon, whose novel The Hanged Man of St Pholien was named after the district’s church (see below).

SLEEP Hotel La Passerelle (24 Chaussée des Prés, tel. (0)4 341 2020, hotelpasserelle.be, rooms from €78) is good value and ideally located for exploring both sides of the river.

CULTURE The Church of St Pholien (Rue Saint-Pholien) was built in neo-gothic style by Edmond Jamar in 1914, but contains statuary from the 14th and 17th centuries. Its grisly claim to fame is that a friend of Simenon’s committed suicide by hanging himself from the church door in 1922 – an incident later incorporated into The Hanged Man of St Pholien. Take the Simenon Walk by following a series of brass plaques. The route includes houses where Simenon and his family lived, the curious Simenon Monument (a rock chained to suitcases) and a bust in Place du Congrès. Musée Tchantchès (56 Rue Surlet) houses a puppet theatre founded in 1850 and is the home of Tchantchès, the puppet symbol of Outremeuse. Performances are given on Sundays and Wednesdays.

EAT La Céne (17 Rue Henri de Dinant, tel. (0)4 343 1038) is very much a bohemian café, with space for artists to hang their paintings. The menu appears on blackboards round the restaurant. Or try Saveurs de Bulgaria (4 Rue de l’Ourthe, tel. (0)4 343 5720) for its Bulgarian/Med fusion cuisine.

SHOP Five generations of the same family have now sold flowers at Fleurs d’Outremeuse (20 Rue Jean d’Outremeuse), where prices are said to be ‘democratic’, in keeping with the principles of the Free Republic of Outremeuse. Peters Fissette (12-14 Rue Surlet) has been selling over-the-top bridal wear since 1937.

LATER Au Tchantchès et Nanesse (35 Rue Grande-Bêche) is decorated with ancient marionettes and is a good place to drink Tchantchès Beer. It’s also the meeting place for The Brotherhood of Beer, an association founded by the owner who once styled himself Henry I, Prince of Outremeuse. La Zone (42 Quai de l’Ourthe) is the place for underground music and alternative arts in the city. It has a noisy, inexpensive bar, but it’s only open when there’s a show.

TIP Outremeuse has the most-visited museum complex in Wallonia: the Aquarium-Museum, House of Science and Zoology Museum (aquarium- museum.ulg.ac.be) are all housed in a neoclassical university building.

QUARTIER HISTORIQUE

In contrast to Outremeuse, the area between the Meuse and the citadel is Liège’s heritage zone. The city was fortunate that this wasn’t redeveloped during industrialisation in the 19th century. It’s a quiet quarter, with red and white buildings, old churches and narrow impasses.

SLEEP Hôtel Hors-Château (62 Rue Hors-Château, tel. (0)4 250 6068, hors-chateau.be, rooms from €95) is a much-needed boutique hotel in the middle of the historic district. A contemporary establishment in a listed building, it has nine stylish rooms, including an impressive suite.

SHOP If you’re in town at the weekend, don’t miss Liège’s famous quayside market at the bottom of Rue Sant- Georges. La Batte Flea Market (Sunday from 8am-2.30pm) sells fresh produce, clothes, books, plants and bric-a-brac along the north side of the Meuse.

LATER Maison du Peket (6 Rue de l’Epée) is a byzantine complex of 18th-century buildings. L’Impasse Club (7-9 Rue du Stalon) is a fashionable place to drink late, with old brick, stone, oak beams, leather sofas, disco lights and a youthful clientele.

INFO

Brussels Airport is 82km west of Liège.

Train From Brussels Airport take the train to Brussels Midi/Zuid, then change for a train in the direction of Liège-Guillemins, Eupen or Maastricht. Trains depart every 25-30 minutes, taking between 65 and 90 minutes. A single from the airport costs €14.60. See b-rail.be.

Taxi A taxi from the airport will cost about €110.

Tourist office The office is at 92 Féronstrée in the Administration Communale (tel. (0)4 221 9221, www.belgique-tourisme.net). You can also find information about Liège at belgiumtheplace to.be.