© Philippe AWouters
© Philippe AWouters

20.000 candles light up this Belgian medieval city once a year!

3 minutes to read

What says "romance" better than candles, right?

This year the Wallonian community has decided to declare and dedicate itself to bringing out its strangest sides. All year round, monuments, spaces and events will center around the weird and mysterious sides of the southern region, bringing to light decades of uniqueness.

To most, Liège rings a bell because it is a student city. In fact, I remember it personally since my student years too – going over on the weekends, going from bar to bar around in the “Carré” having beers with drunk locals all night, and stumbling my way back to the station only to wait for the first train back to Brussels. But aside from late nights out and bar hopping, Liège has a much more of a romantic and historical edge that we actually think. Liège is one of the major Walloon cities and ranks as the third most populated urban areas in Belgium.

Although there is proof that Roman settlements existed in the city, Liège was first mentioned in the medieval periods, and specifically in 558. Christianised, the city of Liège was built like many other Christian towns, with a castle serving as a nucleus and surrounded by fortified walls, sitting atop a steep hill, allowing that way a better view of the possible incoming enemies. The central fortification of the town was known as the citadel, and is still to this day one of the highest points of the city and a main tourist attraction to visitors looking to wander into its history.

A unique date with the city of Liège

© Axel Pics/La Nocturne des Coteaux

Every first Saturday of October, (this year on October 6th, 2018) the city prepares itself for a romantic date, polishes up her staircases and lights herself up for the whole night. Some 26 years ago, the city came up with the idea of trying to attract visitors to its main 60 monuments and 5 classified landmarks; the result of it was an annual festival, which the whole region looks forward to. Families, students and couples are attracted to this unique festival during which, over 20.000 candles burn well into the night.

A mixture of old and new

Set to the backdrop of a medieval city, Liège also innovates every year by bringing out the latest in mapping technologies. Last year alone, MOVIGO (who is part of the festival this year again) came up with the idea of dressing up 40 sheep with 4000 leds. The result of that was a night performance seen from the hills, where spectators could view the movement of the sheep in a ballet of lights, rhythmed by the natural flow and leadership of prairie dogs. A way of mixing old traditions with the latest technologies.

(© image/video : Movigo)

What to expect

As of 20 o'clock, tales for old and young – puppet shows - live music – fireworks – fire performances and local beers will be on the program. And all of it with a particular friendliness, only proper to the city of Liège. Handmade posters, cheap and locals beers, smiley faces, pékèt (a local fruity brandy) and not to miss : the Montagne de Beuren – 374 steps (or was it 375…? Oh well, I guess you’ll have to find out?) lit up with thousands of candles, ranking it as one of the most extreme staircases to climb in the world.

(© Axel Pics/La Nocturne des Coteaux)

(© Axel Pics/La Nocturne des Coteaux)

(© Patrick Brouir)

La Nuit des Coteaux is a free event, open for all. Expect to walk through narrow streets, corners and endless staircases, and see live fire performances, as well as the closing firework show. And as usual, remember to bring an umbrella since the Belgian weather might hit again !

For more information and a view of the official program visit here.

Coteaux de la Citadelle (Liège)
Coteaux de la Citadelle (Liège)
4000 Luik, België

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The author

Lauren Klarfeld

Lauren Klarfeld

Hello, I'm Lauren - born in Belgium and raised in a multi cultural family. I have been a freelance tour guide and writer for many years, writing about the psychology behind travel but also about the most authentic places I have visited!

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