My pretty Mons, a small French-speaking town of 94,981 inhabitants located in the province of Hainaut. Officially designated cultural capital of Wallonia in 2002, it was elected European Capital of Culture in 2015. Every year, multiple events are organized. Here is my list with the top 5 cultural activities not to be missed while in Mons.
Arriving in Mons, it is almost impossible not to see the Belfry, built at the top of the city. It is the city's real lighthouse; in the evenings, it is enlightened with beautiful colors and can be best admired from the Grand Place (Main Square). It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only one in Baroque style in Belgium. It is located in the park of the “Square des Comtes du Hainaut”. To reach it, you have to go up a small paved street. This is the perfect place to have a great view over Mons and its surroundings. In the summer, everyone loves to enjoy the park around it, sit with a book or have a picnic.
The Plaza Art is a small cinema located just a stone's throw from the Grand-Place, which mainly stands for a European-quality cinema with an original version subtitled. It houses 3 rooms that play movies in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. At times, you might happen to be alone in the movie theater , especially if you go there during day time. This is an unexpected place and hidden gem to discover, for those who love author's films.
The BAM is the Museum of Fine Arts of Mons. It is also located 2 steps away from the Grand Place. It hots temporary world-famous exhibitions. The Rooftop is a reception venue. In summer, concerts are organized and DJ's come to play. It's a great place to go for a drink.
My top pick for culture in Mons is the site of Grand-Hornu, dear to my heart. It is located in Hornu, 20 minutes from Mons by car. It is a former colliery industrial complex that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. This neoclassical monument is today regarded as one of the most beautiful of the industrial era , and includes one of the oldest working class cities in the world. There is no longer any trace of these old coal mines and the site is now home to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Art called MAC'S, a new fresh side has invaded this site and attracts many people every year. It is a magical place that captivates people who are passionate (or not) about art. The museum is interested in both masterpieces of big contemporary art's names, and those of young creators.
The theater surprise is “Le Manège”, a new theater mainly dedicated to contemporary creation. This room was built from the former armory of the Leopold military barracks. Concerts, shows, festivals and various events are organized such as the music festival "Santa Claus is a rocker".
If you ever get to be in Mons, I invite you to visit my top 5 activities, you won't be disappointed!
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