The town of Dinant (Wallonia - Belgium)

Dinant is a tiny little town in the province of Namur. It was only by chance that I came to know of Dinant when I visited Mini Europe and saw a miniature model of Dinant Citadel and Collegiale. I stayed in Dinant for a weekend and my day began with the mighty Citadel followed by the Notre Dame Collegiale and then we began to stroll around the city.

Ofcourse there are saxaphones everywhere in the town, it being the birthplace of the founder of Saxophone. There are 2 things to do here associated with Saxaphone. One is getting pictures with the n number of saxaphones in the city, but the main location is the Charles de Gaulle Bridge which has installation art of 12 colorful saxaphones denoting 12 different countries of the European Union. The other European countries have their saxaphones in other places including near the visitors' centre. A map of all these locations is available as a map at the visitors' centre and its aptly named 'sax and the city'!!!

The 2nd place associated with Saxaphone is the La Maison de Monsieur Sax. This is not really a museum. Its more like a small (smaller than Maison Leffe) digital interactive centre, which talks about the life and musical journey of Adolphe Sax, the founder of Sax as well as a detailed explanation about the instrument itself!

Later in the day we headed to Mosan - the Medieval Heritage House. Its a small museum which talks about how the town was since medieval times. There are recreations and installations as well as a few articles from archaeological excavations. Currently the cellar of the site is used for conducting events!
If you're an Indian here's a surprise! These are 15th C CE cast brass candle sticks from Dinant.... If you're not, these very much resemble the South Indian oil lamps called Kuthuvilakku!

Just behind Mosan is the splendid Castle of Crevecoeur which was built in 1320. However by late 17th C it fell into disuse and is currently in ruins. Today it is restored and protected by the govt to make it more visitor friendly. It requires a mild trek atop the hill from behind Mosan. However, since we were there in winter, it was dark by the time we reached there and decided against hiking up in babywearing! 
Also I was given a surprising information at Mosan. Belgium has hunting season from Oct to Mar Various period slots allotted for different bird species that could be hunted. Castle of Crevecoeur is one of the sites where hunting happens!!! Hunting is done with shotguns and rifles! So, no... We really dropped the idea of hiking up there in dark, with poor visibility, while babywearing, during hunting season... Didn't really sound welcoming!

With the setting sun, we chose to walk from Mosan back to La Merveilleuse Resort along the banks of river Meuse. Its such a beautiful path! I'd suggest you to take some bird food if you're take this stroll, esp. at dawn or dusk. The seagulls settling here are just so so so many and to just see them is such a joy!
The next day we headed to Grotte la Mervellieuse and Maison Leffe. We wrapped up our Dinant stay with Couques de Dinant! Couques is basically the hardest cookie in the planet! No joking! You literally have to put it in your mouth and leave it till it gets soft! If you try it directly bite it you could break your teeth! Again, no joking at all!!! The thing is, unlike other cookies where sugar is used, here flour and honey are used in equal quantities to make the couques and the honey is caramalized instead of sugar, which upon hardening, makes the cookies so so so damn hard! A 'hack' I tried is to just hold the couques in hand. After a while, with your body's warmth, the biscuit softens a bit and it could be broken then!
I visited Pâtisserie Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774, as the name says, a couques maker since 1774! The current owner is Mr.Michel Frippiat who's the 8 generation couques maker. He showed us some of the moulds that are used to make the cookies. Currently only 1 mould is still existing since 1774. The moulds are in 2 parts. The metal shape cutter and then the wooden mould with the details. The couques have a shelf-life of a whooping 1 year. So when you visit, pack as much as you can carry!!! 


To Get There:
To Dinant: Refer to my earlier post
On Google Maps: Charles de Gaulle BridgeLa Maison de Monsieur SaxMosan - the Medieval Heritage HouseCastle of CrevecoeurPâtisserie Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774
All sites are walkable from Dinant Railway Station, city centre and each other.


To Stay:
Hotels and B&Bs at all price points are available in nearest city Namur.
There are a few hotels in Dinant. Here’s my review of La Mervelliuse Resort where I stayed.

Entry Tickets & Timings:
Charles de Gaulle Bridge, Castle of Crevecoeur - Free; Open 24 x 7
La Maison de Monsieur Sax: Free; All days 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Mosan - the Medieval Heritage House: €4 (free with Museumpassmusees); Tue-Sun: 10:00AM to 6:00PM (closes at 5:00PM in winters)
Pâtisserie Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774: Prices of Couques begins at €3; Tue-Fri: 10:30AM - 6:30PM 

My complete Dinant travelogue: Dinant Citadel, Notre Dame Collégiale, Maison Leffe, Grotte Merveilleuse, Charles de Gaulle Bridge, La Maison de Monsieur Sax, Mosan - the Medieval Heritage House, Castle of Crevecoeur, Pâtisserie Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774

P.S: I was invited by Wallonia Tourism to experience the city for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

16 comments:

  1. Belgium is one of the countries that I haven't visited yet but after reading your post, I realized that I am missing a lot. It would be wonderful to experience the beautiful place with a very rich culture and arts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never been to Belgium unfortunately. When I go, this makes a good guide to save for later. I particularly like the museums you visited!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a gorgeous place. I love hearing trivia like it being the birthplace of the founder of Saxophone! Can't believe it was a Belgian invention! Glad you didn't go to the castl during hunting season, although you'd think thats one of the the sites travellers would love to go. And so hilarious about that cookie! And not like it can melt in your mouth either because of the honey. Was it good though?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't visited Belgium yet though I've read several blog posts about it. However, I've never heard the name of this city Dinant. Interesting to know that it is the hometown of the founder of the saxophone, and I can imagine how cool it would be to see such lovely installations of the saxophone around the town. The Medieval Heritage House looks like a cool place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a gorgeous place. I heard about it in the past and I even thought of visiting but I didn't know it's the birthplace of the saxophone! Perhaps I'll stop by when I visit Belgium this spring. I'm so glad I came across this article!

    ReplyDelete
  6. A castle from 1320?! It is a shame it is now in ruins. I am so intrigued by medieval history and castles. We dont have any architecture that old here in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had never heard of Dinant before and had no idea it’s the birthplace of the saxophone! I grew up around music and still love it to this day, so I would totally make a trip out there just to learn more about how the saxophone was born. “Sax and the City” gave me a good chuckle!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dinant sounds like a great town and it would be great to visit the birthplace of the saxophone! Also, couques are appealing. I love any type of cookie, even if they're near impossible to eat.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really love Belgium but haven't visited Dinant yet, I'll keep it in mind for my next trip.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That rabbit-shaped cookie look adorable. Makes me wonder how to eat the hardest cookie they have?! I need a hot chocolate drink or coffee to dip that cookie :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. A great hidden gem in Wallonia! I love the panoramic photo by the river showing the charming line of buildings.They look like they have excellent confectionery too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow really cool writeup, I had never heard of the Couques de Dinant but it sounds like one tough cookie.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dinant seems like a really beautiful little town. The place looks quite charming and there’s quite a bit of interesting history to this place with the birth of Saxophone there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, I had no idea that Belgium was the birthplace of the saxophone. I love that the shops in Dinant are punny and have a play on 'Sax and the City.' That's really clever! I love the unique museums that you showcased in this article as well. The medieval museum looks like an interesting spot.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Never knew Belgium was where saxophone came from! We've been planning to visit Belgium and to be honest never heard of Dinant before. Looks like we have to give it another round of shortlisting places lest we miss such amazing places in our trip!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...! Why not leave a comment.? And tell your friends..!!!
By commenting you accept to our GDPR Policy.