Mons In Your Pocket

History lovers, you are in for a treat. The capital of Belgium’s Hainaut Province (and the fourth-largest city in Wallonia), Mons has been the centre of attention so very many times since it was established in the 12th century by the marvellously-monikered Count Baldwin IV, who we presume was no relation to Alec, William and the rest. The city was occupied by a who’s who of European leaders until the Industrial Revolution made it an even more desired prize, although such thoughts were far from the minds of British soldiers during World War I’s Battle of Mons, the first battle the Brits were involved in during the Great War.

Lovers of gorgeous cafes on quaint cobblestone streets, you also happen to be in for a treat. The history of Mons is pockmarked with battles and violence but such things are a million miles away from the convivial chatter of the city today, an alluring town where days slip by in a haze of tender tranquillity and quiet inspiration. It was here than Vincent van Gogh decided that he might give that painting lark a good go, after all. Here’s hoping your own bout of inspiration doesn’t lead to insanity and 50% fewer lobes than the average person.

Throw in a thrilling Latin Quarter and one of Belgium’s most exciting festivals (the weekend-long DouDou festival, for the record) and you’ve got yourself a winner. A deserved recipient of the European Capital of Culture gong in 2015, Mons is a city of guarantees that still manages to bust out a surprise from time to time, be it the oldest masonic lodge in Belgium or an abundance of charming beer-heavy pubs for when the sun goes down, or at least when the sun begins to hint at possibly going down at some point soon, maybe.

Full city guide coming soon!

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