As I said in my post about Brussels, it’s been 13 years, since I’ve been to Europe. Lucky for me, I finally had a chance to return. From September 1-6, my friends and I traveled around Belgium to take in all of its beauty, many of the towns, the languages and definitely some of the food and drink. This travel itinerary will come in three posts: Brussels, Mons and Bruges, as there is just way too much to share! Many, MANY thanks to the Smith Family for hosting us!!!!
Mons is where our friends live. It’s a quaint town with lots of open fields and farms. According to Wikipedia, “The first signs of activity in the region of Mons can be found at Spiennes, where some of the best flint tools in Europe were found dating from the Neolithic period. When Julius Caesar arrived in the region in the 1st century BC, the region was settled by the Nervii. A castrum was built in Roman times, giving the settlement its first Latin name Castrilocus; the name was later changed into Montes for the hills on which the castrum was built.”
Like all other towns in Europe, it too boasts a market square, which includes a belfry, Town Hall, shopping and many cafes. However, it’s history is much more dark and ridden with peril along the way, including an arson in the 1990’s. It’s also much more expansive than Grand Place in Belgium.
On our first night in Mons, we ate at Le Saint-Germain Cafe – also known for their mussels. The view of the market square, from our outdoor seats, included the local street bands, the fountains and of course, the belfry.
On our last night in Mons, we headed to a hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant, named Ashok’s. It’s a beautifully decorated, authentic Indian cuisine spot that sits on the side of a quiet road, boasting breath-taking chateaus. Definitely a must-eat place if you ever visit this little town!
There is a ton of shopping, right off of Market Square. I popped into a store called Jacqueline Riu, which carries affordable French fashions. I scored a brand new outfit for about 82 Euros – picture to follow tomorrow.
Le Chateau d’Havre
Just outside of Mons in a town called Havre, sits a once elegant castle, which now stands in ruins. Le Chateau d’Havre has had a lot of unfortunate luck, over the centuries, and the families that once were responsible for its upkeep have now abandoned efforts to restore it and looters had set in to remove artifacts. Thus, it now serves as a public park and a site for events.
Although we didn’t spend a ton of time exploring Mons, we felt we got the true experience of such a quaint town. Next time, I’m popping into a few chateaus for tea 🙂
Stay tuned for my next most on Bruges!