Marche-les-Dammes is a Belgian climbers paradise were I had already gone for some adventurous hiking.
Just a stone throw away lies the city of Namur. The inhabitants of this provincial capital of Wallonia are called les escargots because they are said to be … well … a bit slow. So I decided to adapt to the local custom. Time for some slow travel in Namur!
Slow travel for me meant that I didn’t set up a vast plan. I was just going to stroll around the city, eat, shop, eat and emmm eat some more?
Le Temps des Cerises
I don’t fancy escargots but I won’t say no to a delicious classic french meal. Le Temps des Cerises is a cosy and romantic little restaurant in the old city. The walls are covered with charming red mirrors, signatures of french movie stars who dined here and kitch galore.
The starter dish of Coquilles Saint Jacques with mushrooms and an onion pastry was incredibly good.
I felt bad I couldn’t stuff myself with another desert because the tarte tatin flambé à table the neighboring table had sure looked like a showpiece.
La Maison des Desserts
The reason I couldn’t stuff myself with another dessert is because I had already filled myself up with patisserie pastries at La Maison des desserts.
I went for the special Rops pastry which was filled with chocolate mousse and drunken cherries. Yum!
Les Bietrumé de Namur
If you are into a little extra to fill your sweet tooth than you should try les Bietrumé de Namur.
It’s a local specialty of soft caramel made with fondant chocolate, butter and grilled nuts. You can find them at La Maison des desserts.
Marché des Anciennes variétés horticoles
I was lucky and stumbled upon the Marché des Anciennes variétés horticoles.
The market was filled with forgotten or unknown varieties of vegetables as well as local cheeses and sausages up for tasting. I however decided to taste the ‘fancy cherry fruit punch’ which was spiked with jenever.
Though the Old city of Namur is pretty small there are still a couple of sites to see.
The citadel of Namur didn’t look very impressive to me until they told me there was a 7km underground tunnel network. €5 later I had a guide who took me down to the to the citadel souterrains.
Dutch staircases, spanish doors, french tunnels, … The souterrains are filled with war fare stories and master military plans. They didn’t do the citadel any good though. The citadel lost all of the 20 battles fought.
Namur is also the home of 18th century artist, Félicien Rops. Sounds boring right? This artist however combines eroticism, sadomasochism, Satanism and criticism on society in his prints. Fascinating and provocative art. A rebel with a cause.
You can actually see most of the city in one day but if you got tired from hiking, shopping or eating you can always spend the night at the Ibis Hotel. The hotel is located near the old city centre.
The ground floor, covering the lobby and dinner area, has been recently refurbished giving it a very modern and young look & feel. It actually reminded me a bit of common rooms in hostels. It’s very inviting to sit down and have a drink or check your Facebook because they have free and easily accessible wi-fi over here !
The room had a little less character. It was basic but had a large double bed, a large shower and a satellite tv (with malfunctioning dutch channels).
The super-friendly hotel staff however make up for that. Oh and the breakfast ! Who doesn’t love breakfast buffets with croissants and scrambled eggs.