Destination Wedding Belgium - Chateau de la Hulpe (Wallonia)

I've fallen in love with Sonian Forest. That's no news if you're a regular reader of this blog! This huge ancient, Carpathians jungle filled the birch trees primarily and hundreds of other species of trees and thousands of species of fauna, it is one of the top things to do in Brussels and its a mesmerizing magical place to be! Here's one more trail in Sonian Forest / Forêt de soignes (FR) / Zoniënwoud (NL)...
 
Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest
 
Last time, we followed a RouteYou map and it was just splendid. This time I wanted to check-off 2 different places inside Sonian, so I planned a route by myself. One of the places was the huge Sequoia trees and another was the Chateau de la Hulpe. Sonian Forest is the home of 17 humongous Sequoia trees. 5 of those 17 are located close to each other at one point and I wanted to check-out that point. 
 
Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest
 
The 2 have a distance of about 5km between them and so, the idea was to start close to 1 point and end close to another instead of a circular path. Well, public transport was both an advantage & disadvantage in this case. Advantage coz we had the option of not having to stick to a circular route, but ofcouse disadvantage coz the nearest bus-stop/railway station was not too close to our entry/exit points in Sonian Forest. 
We took the train till De Hoek and to even enter Sonian Forest was a 2 km walk and then to our first stop - Sequoia trees was another 2 km. And while returning, from the exit point (Solvay Castle) to the nearest railway station of La Hulpe was another 3km walk. In our 10km walk on the day, unfortunately 5km was on the roads from/to a mode of transport and not inside the forest which is not an awesome thing!!! Ideally, traveling from/to Sonian Forest with a car and choosing a circular walking path in the forest would have been ideal!

To begin with, as soon as we entered the forest, we were happy to see dedicated paths for horses and bikes and pedestrians! As I was just wondering about the horses, I just saw 2 lovely ladies going by on their horses and it was such a pleasure to even just witness that. 
 
Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Unfortunately, our first pit-stop Giant Sequoia wasn't visible from the path and the vegetation here was too dense to walk into, in search of the trees, with Atyudarini. So yeah, that was a miss! (More information about the Giant Sequoia of Sonian Forest on website of Monumental Trees). 
We walked further ahead. There were the walking paths, as well as untrodden trails and we walked a mix of the 2. We stopped over at a point for our picnic lunch as well. The laid roads are not really fun to walk on, as compared to the untrodden paths were we jumped across little streams with our toddler in tow! And on the way, we crossed over from Flanders to Wallonia. 
 
Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest
 
DESTINATION WEDDING BELGIUM - BELGIUM WEDDING VENUES

Soon, we were on last bit of path leading to Solvay Castle (Chateau de la Hulpe). As we neared the castle, it was altogether a different world - the grass was cut and the landscape was groomed. The human intervention was visible unlike the forest feel till this point! It was so impeccably beautiful. Going inside this chateau is impossible normally except when events are happening. But that doesn't matter at all! The garden around it and the vast expanse of greenery is just magnificent! There was a horse stable as well and Atyudarini spent quite some amount of them, looking at them eat hay and just be!!! The swallows flew so close to the ground that it shocked me too infact!!! This green space all around the chateau is called the Domaine de la Hulpe. 
  
Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Chateau de la Hulpe - Sonian Forest

Chateau de la Hulpe - Salle de Mariage
 
The chateau itself with some parts of the building, covered in greenery, it was just so picturesque. Beside the chateau is its garden which is freely accessible. The well laid out French style garden with green shrubs and colorful flowering plants placed perfectly in harmony with sculptures of angels & cherubs, it was so picture perfect, or should I say, its one of the instagrammable locations in Brussels!!! 
Further ahead from it is a waterbody. There is a pathway to approach it from atop and climb down a series of stairs to reach the little lake. Infact there are 3 different little lakes just around the chateau. 
Walking between 2 of these lakes, took us to the exit point from where another 3km, as I mentioned earlier. Yeah, that's the bit that's boring. Btw, we walked this trail in August last year (yeah, the post is very delayed....)!!! So we've seen Sonian Forest in Autumn and this is Sonian Forest in Summer! Hoping to head there again, but different trails obviously, in Spring & Winter!!! 

Chateau de la Hulpe is one of the sought after places for a destination wedding in Belgium! The salle de mariage (literally wedding room) is a perfect place for an indoor wedding in the picturesque/unique/historic Chateau de la Hulpe. Solvay Castle can be hired as the destination wedding location in Belgium or should I say, en français, Salle de Mariage en Belgique!!! Apart from the indoor wedding at the salle de mariage, it is also possible to have an outdoor wedding in the gardens or the barn! The various rooms are obviously of various sizes from the smallest Chinese room that can hold just 10-20 people, to the huge Great Hall (Salle de Mariage) that can hold 100-200 people. Should I even mention that, being one of the instagrammable location, wedding photoshoot in Brussels at Chateau de la Hulpe would be just wonderful!
The museum of Foundation Folon is located very close to the Chateau, dedicated to the life & art works of Jean-Michel Folon. Its entry is 10€ but is included in museumPASSmusées. Unfortunately we missed visiting here when we went!

HOW TO REACH CHATEAU DE LA HULPE
On Google Maps: Entry to the forest closest to Sequoia, Giant Sequoia in Sonian Forest, Chateau de Hulpe, Foundation Folon.
Nearest railway station to Giant Sequoia: De Hoek (2km from forest entry point)
Nearest railway station to Chateau de la Hulpe: La Hulpe (3km from forest entry point)
RouteYou circular trail including Chateau de la Hulpe: En forêt autour du château de la Hulpe

While this trail walking or just a visit to Chateau de la Hulpe & Foundation Folon, can be done as a one day trip from Brussels, for a total relaxing, pampering weekend getaway near Brussels, it is the best to book a hotel near Chateau de la Hulpe. Being a specialty location, there are no cheap hotels nearby, except for a few shared accommodations on Airbnb . The 2 luxury resorts here are Hotel Dolce la Hulpe and Martin's Manoir de lac & Chateau de lac (yes, the same Martin's group as in Dream Hotel, Mons). 
 
Chateau de la Hulpe - Domaine Solvay - Photos Pinterest Chateau de la Hulpe - Domaine Solvay - Photos Pinterest

Bhushavali

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

19 comments:

  1. I can see why you fell in love with Sonian Forest, it looks beautiful. It doesn't sound ideal, but there is good that public transportation is an option. Most places in the US like this wouldn't even have any options nearby. The castle gardens look so magical, and what a treat to be able to walk on a path from the forest to the castle!

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  2. I can certainly understand why you would fall in love with the Sonian Forest. Those huge Sequoia trees are indeed quite stunning. Good to know that the path support different kind of traffic. What a beautiful view greeted you when you arrived at Chateau de la Hulpe. Lovely outside greenery and waters. Definitely a great stop in the Sonian Forest.

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  3. Sonian Forest looks so beautiful on your photos! I love this nature. I would like to hike there and take photos of these trees. I haven't heard about Solvay Castle before too, and it seems worth visiting, especially the gardens.

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  4. Sonian Forest looks so beautiful and scenic. I am glad there are dedicated trails for pedestrians. Those giant sequoia trees would be amazing to look at. I am sorry you had to miss them. Maybe next time. But it is lovely that you had a chance to explore the Solvay Castle. Looks so impressive in all the wilderness.

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  5. The castle is so pretty! My husband and I were just talking about going hiking and walking trails in other countries, and the Sonian Forest looks like such a great place to start. So beautiful, lush and green!

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  7. I never knew about Sonian Forest but it would be great to see huge ancient, Carpathians jungle with full of birch trees and hundreds of other species of trees and thousands of species of fauna. The Solvay Castle - Chateau de la Hulpe really looks magnificent and also it is surrounded by the green manicured grass. I too agree that they should some mode of transport to reach here, as walking too much would be a lot.

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  8. I'm falling in love with the Sonian Forest just reading what you've written! The Solvay Castle looks really cool too! Especially the arched hedges. Love your photos and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures!

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  9. Sonian Forest doesn't look a lot like the traditional forests that I know and read about. this sounds more like one of those settings where fairy tales and Disney movies take place. The castle itself looks so magical and the greenery is impeccable.

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  10. Now I do understand why you have fallen in love with Sonian Forest. It looks like a lush green peaceful area for everyone to commune with nature and seek haven from the hustles and bustles of urban life. The Solvay Castle looks beautiful too with its ancient ambience like in a fairy tale. What a lovely place!

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  11. I can't blame you not falling-in-love with Sonian Forest, even myself couldn't help admiring its unique beauty. The fauna is so luxurious green! It is like a fairytale, now I am dreaming wearing this ball gown while walking in that well manicured garden, and wishing I could live there forever :D

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  12. Sonian Forest is actually a love at first sight. I can totally understand why you love the place. Infact, I have fallen in love with the forest just after reading about them. And its so good to know that there is a pathway for horses too. Everything looks so green and fresh at Sonian forest. Solvay Castle looks just like a fairy tale and so perfect. Thanks for sharing about this place.

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  13. It’s so beautiful there and I wouldn’t mind going horseback riding through that forest! The castle is beautiful too, but bummer that you couldn't tour the inside. Although I guess the exterior is stunning and already quite the visual treat!

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  14. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts as I am able to learn about off-the-beaten-path places and adventures through them – this post is no exception and yet again introduced me to sights I hadn’t heard of - Sonian Forest and Solvay Castle . Living in California, we enjoy taking road trips around the state to Sequoia Forests around the state and love being surrounded in such pristine landscapes. Sorry that you weren’t able to view the Giant Sequoia during your visit but it seems that a walk around Sonian Forest is a fun outdoor activity for the family -plus it’s good to know that there are dedicated paths for bikers and pedestrians. What a lovely contrast of sights to visit in a day - the forest and the castle – after the dense vegetation of the forest, those perfectly manicured gardens of Solvay Castle certainly hold their own unique charm too.

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  15. Looks like they maintain the forest very well. Similar to Finland, they have marked routes and places to go on your own. Also seprate paths for cyclists. I love cycling more that walking :)

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  16. Well, I can't say that I'm surprised that you fell in love with this forest. Right now, stuck in my apartment, I'm absolutely yearning for a place like this to go and escape and explore. Thanks for sharing your love and admiration of this seemingly place.

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  17. Belgium is a beauty country with a ton of hidden gems to offer. I have only know about one Chateau in Mauritius but never got a chance to go inside. Bhushavali, how's the Chateau from inside?

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  18. This sounds like it was an incredible adventure, even if in hindsight due to some of the mishaps you had. We always say "it's all a part of the adventure" and laugh through these times. The Sonian Forest alone seems worthy of exploring, being so lush and green, but the unexpected castle would be such a fun surprise. I hope next time you are able to visit inside, but the gardens look just as lovely. Thanks for the honest review!

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  19. I haven't heard about the Sonian Forest, but I absolutely love it! You mentioned that it has huge Sequoia trees, but judging from your photos they don't seem as impressive as the ones I've seen in the Sequoia Park in the US. The Solvay Castle looks lovely too. It looks very much like the castles in the Loire Valley.

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