One day in Beauraing (Wallonia - Belgium)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK
The main reason I wanted to visit Beauraing was obviously because it is a part of the UNESCO Global Geopark of Famenne Ardennes, the only UNESCO Global Geopark in Belgium. There are 8 municipalities that comprise this Famenne Ardennes region and one of those is Beauraing. Geologically it is the La Calestinne region and as you are approaching Beauraing by train, you'll spot the several slanted rock formations (anticlines). There are no particular geological formations that I visited particularly in Beauraing.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE BEAURAING
Just like Charleroi, Beauraing too has a French pronunciation. 'Beau' is pronounced 'Bo'! 'Rain' is pronounced as if it would rhyme with 'tran(ce)', 'dan(ce)', 'glan(ce)'. Then there's a 'g' to is pronounced very mildly. Beauraing is pronounced more like 'Boraan(g)', just 2 syllables. 

Beautiful Belgian Villages Vonêche
Photo by: Dimitri Vanhouche of Beauraing Tourism


Beauraing Sanctuaries Apparitions of Our Lady with Golden Heart

Beauraing Sanctuaries Apparitions of Our Lady with Golden Heart

Musee Marial Marian Museum Beauraing

Musee Marial Marian Museum Beauraing

Beauraing Castle Viewpoint Apparitions of Our Lady with Golden Heart

THINGS TO DO IN BEAURAING, BELGIUM

APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY OF BEAURAING / VIRGIN MARY WITH THE GOLDEN HEART
Beauraing is one of the important pilgrimage sites for Catholics all over Belgium and internationally. Why is Beauraing an important Catholic religious site? Between Nov 29 1932, and Jan 03 1933, Virgin Mary appeared to 5 children 33 times in different spots! The very spot where they first saw the apparition of the Virgin Mary is where a statue of the Virgin Mary stands today, designed exactly as per the description given by those 5 children - a graceful woman wearing a white robe and white veil that falls on her shoulders, whose feet vanish into the clouds, and has a crown of light rays emerging from her head! On one of her apparitions, she opened-up her hands, showing her golden heart to the children. So she's also being called the Virgin with the Golden Heart. 
Apart from the spot where the Virgin Mary apparitions took place, there is a votive chapel just beside it. This was designed in 1947 by architect Claes. The whole place looks very modern & sleek. In front of both the votive chapel and the statue of the Virgin Mary are several benches as seating arrangement. The Votive Chapel has been designed like an amphitheatre to some extent. In front of the Votive Chapel is the Basilica and Crypt of St.John. All these sites together are called Sanctuaries of Beauraing.
Opposite the Sanctuaries of Beauraing, across the road, is a small shop called Pro Maria that sells souvenirs of Our Lady of Beauraing. Just beside is the small Marian Museum (Musee Marial) that showcases 800+ statues of the Virgin Mary from across the world. Apart from those, there are also items of clothing and other personal belongings of the 5 children who saw the apparitions of the Virgin with the Golden Heart. 

Where is Sanctuaries of Beauraing? (on Google Maps): Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Beauraing
How to reach Sanctuaries of Beauraing? 10 mins walk (900m) from Beauraing railway station
Sanctuaries of Beauraing Opening Hours: Votive Chapel & Apparitions site - 24 x 7; Worship - 2:00PM to 5:00PM

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie Historic Hotels in Belgium

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie Historic Hotels in Belgium

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie Historic Hotels in Belgium

Beauraing Castle Sainte-Marie

CASTLE SAINTE-MARIE
Park of Castle Sainte-Marie belongs to Pro Maria, but it is open to public and is free to enter. The castle itself is private property. The beginnings of this castle are from 13th C CE and by 1567 CE this had a prominence. However, in 1793 CE the castle was destroyed and later in 1855 CE the Duke of Osuna restored it to what we see today. Sadly in 1889 CE it was again destroyed by a fire! In 1913, under the ownership of Mr.Lenelle, the castle was rebuilt again. This time, only the central residential area was renovated and restored, and the towers and external walls of the castle were just renovated and let be. 
Today, a portion of the castle operates as a holiday home and can be hired for a night! A bit before reaching the castle is the Saint-Pierre Chapel. Just beside the Castle is the viewpoint which lends a stunning view of the entire town of Beauraing. Here's a statue of the Virgin Mary with the Golden Heart as well. The wind was blowing fast but Atyudarini really wanted to eat only here! So that's where we sat and had our picnic lunch. Further ahead from the viewpoint the path leads to a big Statue of the Virgin Mary with Golden Heart from where 8 different paths go into the wild vegetation, forming a star, one of which also leads to one of the several Golden Heart routes. In the midst of the vegetation there are also a couple of Giant Sequoias. 

Where is Castel Sainte-Marie? (On Google Maps): Castle Sainte-Marie
Where is main entrance of Castle Sainte-Marie? (On Google Maps): Entrance of Castle Park
How to reach Castel Sainte-Marie? 1.2km (15 mins walk) from Beauraing railway station; 700m (10 mins walk) from Sanctuaries de Beauraing.
Golden Heart routes: various routes from 3.6km walking to 20km hiking to 80km cycling routes via Routes du Coeur d'Or.

COMMUNAL PARK OF SAINT-PIERRE
Practically, it is one huge park along with Parc Saint-Marie. Just on papers and ownership, these are separated. A small path from Parc de Castel Saint-Marie leads to Communal Parc de Saint-Pierre. This is definitely the most picturesque spot in Beauraing. This is a 27ha parc filled with many water-bodies and hiking paths. There is also a small playground, animal park and arboretum here. 
We didn't follow a particular hiking path but went along the water-bodies going from one mini-waterfalls to another. Atyudarini decided she wanted to hike up an altitude(!) and went up from beside a waterfall to over it! I was a bit scared, but she wasn't and I'm glad we did it! It has taken some inspirations from the Japanese gardens to some extent. There is a small barbeque area as well and Atyudarini thought it is a wooden tent! There are a couple of wooden bridges as well. The whole place was just so picturesque and serene! Walking about here is the perfect way to wrap up a day in Beauraing. 

Where is Parc Saint-Pierre? (on Google Maps): Communal Parc Saint-Pierre
How to reach Parc Saint-Pierre? Located next door to Castle Sainte-Marie
Parc Saint-Pierre Opening Hours: 24x7
Map of Parc Saint-Pierre: Available at Tourism Office for €0.50

Beauraing Parc Saint-Pierre Best places to visit in Wallonia

Beauraing Parc Saint-Pierre Best places to visit in Wallonia

Beauraing Parc Saint-Pierre Best places to visit in Wallonia

Beauraing Parc Saint-Pierre Best places to visit in Wallonia

Beauraing Parc Saint-Pierre Best places to visit in Wallonia

CYCLING IN BELGIUM - BEAURAING TO VONÊCHE via VIADUC DE THANVILLE
There is a bus that operates between Beauraing and Vonêche but that runs just 3 times a day. So it is absolutely pointless to wait for that bus unless you're having a relaxed weekend trip and can spend 3 hrs in Vonêche. If you're there on a day trip, depending on this bus is not possible. The only other option is to hire an e-bike. 
There are 2 routes to reach Vonêche from Beauraing - along the highway or through the countryside. Though I say highway, it is also very picturesque and has relatively very less traffic. The main reason I took the highway is because, I wanted to see the Viaduc de Thanville
The Viaduct of Thanville was built in 1889-99 to connect Dinant and Athus and it still stands today and carries the railway line over it, though today only goods trains run on this! This century-old viaduct was completed in a record time of just 10 years. In today's context, 10 years may seem a lot, but 100 years ago, this is an impressive construction to complete in just 10 years! This is 300m long and the pillars vary from 7m to 100m tall. 

Distance from Beauraing to Vonêche: 8.5km (in either of the routes)
Where is Viaduct of Thanville (On Google Maps)? Viaduc de Thanville
Bike rentals at Beauraing Tourism:
  • E-bike (country/mountain/gravel) rental in Beauraing price - €35 for 2 hours
  • Total number of E-bikes (country/mountain/gravel) available at Beauraing Tourism Office - 13
  • E-bike (city) rental in Beauraing price - €20 for 2 hours
  • Total number of E-bikes (city) available at Beauraing Tourism Office - 5
  • E-bike rental in Beauraing refundable security deposit - €100
  • Mountain bike rental in Beauraing price - €10 for 4 hours
  • Total number of Mountain bikes available at Beauraing Tourism Office - 10
  • Reservation - via OTBeauraing Website
  • Location of Beauraing Tourism Office - Google maps

Viaduc de Thanville Oldest viaducts in Belgium

Viaduc de Thanville Oldest viaducts in Belgium

Cycling in Belgium - Beauraing to Voneche Wallonia

THINGS TO DO IN VONÊCHE, BELGIUM

VONÊCHE - BEAUTIFUL, PICTURESQUE VILLAGES OF BELGIUM
Just like Ny near Durbuy, Vonêche is also one of the most beautiful villages of Wallonia, Belgium. Just like Ny, Vonêche is also a tiny village with just 7 streets! Vonêche is the birthplace of European Crystals! In fact, the founder of the famous Val Saint-Lambert Crystals in Liege was from Voneche!
HISTORY OF VONÊCHE CRYSTALSThe first-ever glass factory was set up here in Vonêche in 1778 and then the first-ever crystal factory was set up in 1802 by Aimé-Gabriel d'Artigues. The workshops were located as an annexe to the Vonêche Castle. 
By the end of 18th C, the Vonêche glassworks were making only plain glass windows with a single decorative piece. As Napoleon Bonaparte came to power (at this time, Vonêche was under France. Belgium hadn't born yet), he supported them immensely in order to counter the worldwide monopoly of glassworks by Britain and suddenly they grew exponentially! They started making luxury glasswares & chandeliers and had royal clientele worldwide! After the fall of Napoleon, they fell too and half of the work was moved to Barracat Crystal Factory in France which he later sold. However soon Barracat became more powerful and to counter it, Val Saint-Lambert was formed by the trustees of Vonêche Crystal Factory and soon afterwards it was shut down!

THINGS TO DO IN VONÊCHE: Today there is nothing here that reminds of the crystals except the Vonêche castle, which is still private property and can be visited only from outside. There is also a church and a house of a Belgian spy during World War I. The houses are frozen in time in 19-20th C and look so picturesque complete with old tractors & household flour mills & more. It is so charming and lazy. A stay here would really help to unwind from crazy city life! As we walked about the village, a dog joined us and we had no clue where its owners were, but that's the beauty of village life! 

OTHER THINGS TO DO NEAR BEAURAING, BELGIUM

Instead of visiting Vonêche, another option would be to head to Château de Lavaux-Sainte-Anne (if you're there on a weekend trip, both could be done as well). Château de Lavaux-Sainte-Anne is absolutely not connected by public transport from Beauraing. It is located 12km away, towards Han-sur-lesse & Rochefort which can only be reached by bike. Very close to it is Comogne Farm (Ferme de la Comogne). I haven't been in this direction yet!

Beautiful Belgian Villages Vonêche

Beautiful Belgian Villages Vonêche

Beautiful Belgian Villages Vonêche

Beautiful Belgian Villages Vonêche Castle

HOW TO REACH BEAURAING
On Google Maps: Beauraing
How to reach Beauraing from Brussels by car: 115km via Namur on A4 & N911
How to reach Beauraing from Brussels by train: Train from Brussels to Namur or Dinant and change to another train towards Libramont (L line) which stops at Beauraing. The total time taken for the journey incl. transfer time is about 2 hours. 
Beauraing has a railway station and is served by SNCB-NMBS trains. Here are some ways to get cheap Belgian Train tickets

BEAURAING ITINERARY - ONE DAY TRIP TO BEAURAING
  • Morning - Quick trip to Vonêche (or) Château de Lavaux-Sainte-Anne
  • Afternoon - Sanctuaries of Beauraing
  • Evening - Walk around Parc Sainte-Marie & Parc Sainte-Pierre

BEAURAING ITINERARY - WEEKEND (TWO DAYS) TRIP TO BEAURAING
  • Day 1 - Vonêche, Sanctuaries of Beauraing, Walk around Parc Sainte-Marie & Parc Sainte-Pierre
  • Day 2 - Château de Lavaux-Sainte-Anne and Ferme de la Comogne (Comogne Farm)

VONÊCHE & BEAURAING HOTELS
There is the hotel l'Auberge for budget accommodation in Beauraing. The best place to stay in Beauraing, the best hotel in Beauraing is of course the Castle Saint-Marie. Of the very few buildings in Vonêche, there is also a holiday home called Le Cristal! Since I visited Beauraing & Vonêche as a day trip from Brussels, I do not have personal experience in any of these hotels. 

Where is Hotel Castel Saint-Marie, Beauraing (on Google Maps): Castel Sainte-Marie
What are the daily room rates of Hotel Castel Saint-Marie, Beauraing: €50 for a single room & €75 for a double room plus €8.5 pp for breakfast. 
Reservation of Hotel Castel Saint-Marie, Beauraing: via the offical website of Castel Sainte-Marie
Where is Le Cristal holiday home (gite) at Vonêche (on Google Maps): Le Cristal
What are the daily rates of Le Cristal holiday home (gite) of Vonêche: €220 onwards (entire house - can accommodate 6 -7 persons).
Reservation of Le Cristal Gite Vonêche: via the offical website of Gite Vonêche 

Things to do in Beauraing, Wallonia, Belgium Pinterest Voneche, Beautiful villages of Wallonia, Belgium Pinterest

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

8 comments:

  1. Although I am not religious, I really like to visit pilgrimage sites (no matter what religion) for the atmosphere. So I would definitely enjoy a visit to the Sanctuaries of Beauraing. Even if there a no must-see sightseeing spots the area seems great for aimless wanderings.

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  2. Oh, I've heard of this apparition story when I was in elementary level. You are lucky to have visited the place. In my culture, we have this belief that if it is our first time to visit a holy place, we can make a wish and it will come true. I'd like to stay at the Comogne Farm. The place looks so quaint!

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  3. Visit the UNESCO Geopark of Farmenne Ardennes would be a great reason to plan a visit to Beauraing. But I can see there are also other things to see in the town. I would love to just wander as you did from one mini waterfall to the next. I can imagine how serene it would be. I love the idea of renting an eBike and doing the ride through the countryside. Linda (LD Holland)

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  4. This is interesting. I have never heard about the APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY OF BEAURAING and would love to visit where it happened. Thank you for sharing. Will keep this in mind should we have a chance to visit Belgium again.

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  5. Thanks for taking us along to Beauraing (and for teaching us how to spell it)...I hate reading a full blog saying the name wrong in my head, lol. Looks like you and your daughter had a blast!

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  6. Your blog has so much information about Belgium! I love discovering new places in this country, like the beautiful Beauraing, and the beautiful Park of Castle Sainte-Marie. Too bad you can only visit the park and not the castle as well.

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  7. What a beautiful place Beauraing is, no wonder it is part of the UNESCO park. There is so much to see. I love visiting religious places and also would love to walk around the place and see the spectacular buildings. I did not know Belgium had so many amazing places, I will need to visit the country again and spend time there.

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  8. It would be a dream to rent Saint-Pierre Chapel for a night! I image the parc was part of the castle grounds long ago. I can image couples strolling past the waterfalls in their fancy clothing. What a great spot!

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