Unlike most Belgian cities, Liège has no an inner ring built along the path of the old city walls. Instead, the main streets were laid out along the old branches of the river, which makes their organisation a bit obscure.
Leave your car in one of the city-center parking garages, especially if you have no map of to your destination.
Here are the main routes for cars:
- the motorway E40-E25 that crosses parts of the city
- the Boulevards “d’Avroy” and “de la Sauvenière”, the main route between the center and the train station
- the Quais “de la Meuse” and “de la Dérivation”, which link to/from the two branches of the E25
TEC is the main bus company. Most lines converge towards one of the city-center bus “terminals.” These terminals are located at Gare Léopold, Place Saint-Lambert, Place de la République Française, and around the Opéra/Theater (all the four are very close to one another). The names of these five sites are used to indicate the direction of the bus, according to the line taken.
Several other lines leave from the train station Liège-Guillemins. Among them, two lines link the station with city center: the #4, a circular line (direction “Bavière” to go from the station to the center, direction “d’Harscamp” for the reverse trip), and the #1 which runs train station to city center and on to Coronmeuse.
There also is a few lines that start from the intersection of the Boulevard d’Avroy and the “Pont d’Avroy”, the main shopping street.
You can ask for a free printed version of each bus schedule at the terminal of the line.
More and more bus stops now show the waiting time for the next bus on each line, and many busses are equipped to display the next stop and adapted for people with reduced mobility. Nevertheless, be aware that the next stop screens are not always synchronised with the bus stops. For people using a bus line they’re not familiar with, ask the driver to warn you when you are arriving at the bus stop you are looking for.
Unfortunately, however, few lines run after midnight.
Travelling by bike in the city center is easy, but the hillsides can be a bit steep (between 5 and 15%). Reaching the higher neighborhoods will require a bit of training and a multi-speed bike!
Cycling paths are regularly added and improved, though the main roads remain a bit dangerous. Most one-way streets can be travelled in the opposite direction by cyclists. A map of cycling paths is available at the tourist information office. In addition, there’s a “Ravel” (a path for walkers and cyclists) along the right bank of the river Meuse.
- La Maison des Cyclistes
Most of the areas in city center are easily accessible on foot, and walking provides an interesting perspective on the city itself. The trip from the train station at Guillemins to the city center requires a bit more timeL about 30 min.
- Place St. Lambert(Saint Lambert’s square)
- The Outremeuse district, notably the Rue Roture.
- ThePalace of the Prince-Bishops – Composed of the Palace of Justice (classic façade at Place Saint Lambert 18) and the Provincial Palace (lateral neo-gothic façade at place Notger 2). This palace is the heart of the city, and represents the political power of the old Prince-Bishops of Liège.
- The representation of their religious power was the largeGothic Cathedral of Notre Dame and Saint Lambert, torn down at the start of the 19th century after the revolution of Liège and today memorialized by metal columns and a design traced on the ground.
- There’s also an undergroundarchéoforum, an archeological site with the remains of the three (successive) cathedrals on the site, as well as a building from Roman times. (Open 10AM-6PM from Tuesday to Saturday, 11AM-6PM on Sunday, closed on Monday, €5.50 (Guided); €3.00 (Un-Guided), +32 (0)4 250 93 70.)
- AtPlace Saint Lambert 9-17, you can admire the neo-classic façades, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- TheTown Hall, Perron, and houses along the market square. The town hall (place du Marché, 2), also called “La Violette”, is an elegant classic building. It was built in 1714, during reconstruction after the French attacks in 1691. It can be visited on rare occasions only, except for the “salle des pas perdus” – “room of lost steps” which is freely accessible. The houses on the square, with their charming blue stone and brick faces, date from the same period. The Perron, symbol of the city’s freedom, is at the center of the square above the fountain that acts as its support. The perron is one of the symbols of the city and was used to render justice.
- Thestreets Hors Château and En Feronstrée are worth a visit for the architecture of the large villas and more modest houses, most dating to the 18th century. In particular, the Hôtel d’Ansembourg at Feronstrée 114, now a museum, is worth visiting for the well-preserved original interior (1-6PM except Mondays, €3,80, +32 (0)4 221 9402).
- TheMuseum of Walloon Art (en Féronstrée 86), a bit further along in a modern building, has a panorama of works by regional painters since the Roman times. (Open 1-6PM Tu-Sa, 11AM-4:30PM Su, closed Mo, €3,80, +32 (0)4 221 9231).
- TheCurtius Palace, quai de Maestricht 13. This imposing 8-story building from the start of the 17th century was the store of a rich arms merchant. The nearby Hôtel de Hayme de Bomal (quai de Maestricht 8 and rue Feronstrée 122) was an official building under French rule and twice welcomed Napoleon. These two buildings and several other historic buildings provide the backdrop for the Museum Grand Curtius with its art and history collections.
- Saint Barthélémy Church(rue Saint Barthélémy 2) was the last of 7 “collégiales liégeoises” to be built, near the end of the 11th century. Recently renovated, it is home to the masterwork of the Liège goldsmiths from the Middle Ages: the baptismal fonts from the old parish church of the cathedral. (Open 10-12AM and 2-5PM from Monday to Saturday, 2-5PM Sundays, €1,25, +32 (0)4 223 4998).
- TheMuseum of Wallonian Life is an ethnological mueseum hosted in an old convent. (Cour des Mineurs, closed for renovation until spring 2008, +32 (0)4 237 9040).
- TheMuseum of Religious Art (rue Mère Dieu 1) will be integrated into the future Museum Grand Curtius, but can now be visited separately. (Open 11AM-6PM Tu-Sa, 11AM-4PM Su, closed Mo, €3,80, +32 (0)4 221 4225).
- TheMountain of Bueren and the slopes of the Citadel. Climb the imposing staircase of 373 steps, or opt for the smaller streets and stairways leading up to the Citadel’s slopes. From the top, you’ll have a lovely view of the city, from the Palace rooves to the ancient watchtower.
- Thestreets Fond Saint Servais, Pierreuse and du Péry are typically quaint and lead up to the remains of the old citadel, with an ancient well, a monument commemorating the Second World War, and in particular a superb view over the city.
On the opposite bank of the river, the Outremeuse district has few memorable buildings, but a welcoming atmosphere.
- TheFeast of the Assumption (15 August) is celebrated here by the entire city and countless visitors.
- Acircuit is dedicated to Simenon (author of the Maigret stories), and a museum will be opening shortly.
- The main buildings of interest in the district are:
- Convent “des Récollets”(rue Georges Simenon 2, 4, 9-13)
- Saint Nicolas Church(rue Fosse-aux-raines 7, open everyday 8AM to 12AM)
- “Sainte Barbe” hospice(place Ste Barbe)
- Thestable of the Fonck barracks and Bavière hospital (boulevard de la Constitution)
- Destenay school(boulevard Saucy 16)
- ThePhysiology Institute (place Delcourt 17).
- Two interesting museums: Grétry Museum (Rue des Récollets 34, 2PM-4PM Tu&Fr, 10AM-12PM Su, +32 (0)4 343 1610) and the Museum of Tchantchès, dedicated to the city mascot who is also the main character for the local marrionnette theaters (rue Surlet 56, 2-4PM Su except July, Tu&Th, +32 (0)4 342 7575).
- The most-visited museum complex in Liège and Wallonia is here, comprised of theAquarium, the House of Science, and theZoology Museum, all housed in a neo-classic University building, quai Van Beneden (aquarium and museum : 9AM-5PM Mo-Fr, 10AM – 6PM during school vacations, 1030AM-6PM on holidays, €5, +32 (0)4 366 5021 ; House of Science: restricted hours, €3 ; +32 (0)4 366 5015).
- Departing from the amphitheater along the quay, abateau-mouche (covered boat) offers river tours, from 1 Apr to 30 Oct (11AM, 1PM, 3PM and 5PM, €6, +32 (0)4 221 9221 et +32 (0)4 366 5021).
- Themarket “Marché de la Batte” is where most locals visit on Sundays. The one of the longest markets in Europe stretches along the Meuse River by the Université de Liège and attracts many visitors to Liège. The market typically runs from early morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon every weekend year long. Produce, clothing, and snack vendors are the main concentration of the market.
- Flea Marketsat Saint Gilles (every Saturday morning on Boulevard Louis Hillier) and Saint Pholien (every Friday morning on Boulevard de la Constitution) also attract many visitors.
- Thecelebrations of 15 August in Outremeuse welcome more than 300,000 people each year.
- Thefair, held since the city was established, has become a fun-fair. It takes place from the first weekend in October to the second weekend in November (6 weeks).
- TheChristmas Village, one of the biggest and oldest in the country, has more than one million visitors each year.
- TheCelebrations of Wallonia (2nd weekend in September), the nuit des Coteaux (night events in the historic center), the Secret Gardens and Corners Day (la journée Jardins et Coins secrets – 3rd Sunday in June), and the heritage days (les journées du patrimoine – end September) are other key dates in Liège.
- Visit theCarré District, where you can celebrate or party on any day, at any time. It’s the preferred district of students, alternating shops and cafés, many of which allow dancing (sometimes on the tables!).
- TheFestival of Walking, in the second half of August, offers urban walks.
- ThePhilharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera, and Theater de la Place head up the cultural life in Liège.
- Liège is the European city with the most theaters per person. Liège has an international reputation especially for itsmarionnette theaters, whose performances often involve the traditional folklore character Tchantchès in an unbelievably wide range of situations. The most-known marionnette theaters can be found at:
- Museum of Wallonian Life (Wednesdays and school holidays at 1430 and Sundays at 1030, Cour des Mineurs, +32 (0)4 237 9040, open even when the museum is closed.)
- Museum of Tchantchès (Oct to end Apr, Sundays at 1030 and Wednesdays at 1430, rue Surlet 56, +32 (0)4 342 7575)
- TheaterAl Botroule – literally, “in the belly-button” – (Rue Hocheporte 3, +32 (0)4 223 0576)
- Theater Denis (Rue Sainte Marguerite 302, +32 (0)4 224 3154)
- Theater Mabotte (Rue Mabotte 125, Seraing +32 (0)4 233 8861)
- Movie theatersinclude Le Parc and Le Churchill for European films; Le Palace and Kinepolis for big-name blockbusters; and soon UGC Longdoz in the future “media city”.
- Le Forum(rue Pont d’Avroy 45), a small but exceptionally-decorated venue, offers concerts, comedy performances, etc. Country Hall (in the outskirts) is a relatively new venue for huge shows and sporting events.
- Le Trocadérois the most Liégeois of Parisian cabarets, or the most Parisian of Liège cabarets, depending on how you look at it, while two other venues (La Bouch’rit and le Comiqu’Art) offer dinner-show combinations.
- La Zoneis the place in Liège for alternative and underground music and arts. Opens only on events, check their program on the web before going there. Non expensive bar with plenty of soft drinks, beers and wine.* La Zone (Music club), Quai de l’Ourthe, 42 – 4020, ☎ +32 4 3410727, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. e
- There are numeroussports clubs including, oddly enough, three different rowing clubs. RCAE, a university club but open to everyone, offers a range of sports from parachuting to spelunking. The sports fields at Xhovémont, Cointe or Sart Tilman are ideal for practice, while the soccer stadium of Standard (the Liège team) is the place to show your enthusiasm as a fan. The ice rink, dating from the water exposition of 1939, is in its last seasons before being moved, while a new swimming pool with modern facilities including a diving tower will soon be constructed in the center. (The previous one is being converted to a museum.) Other pools are spread throughout the city, notably in Outremeuse.
- For those who prefer a calmer sport,cycling or jogging is perfect along the quays of the Meuse. The woods at Coteaux de la Citadelle, Chartreuse, and Sart Tilman are all close, as are the magnificent countrysides of the Ardennes (with Condroz, Hesbaye, and Herve lending themselves particularly well to hiking and mountain-biking).