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Liège is the capital of the Belgian province. Liège can be considered the cultural capital of Wallonia, even though Namur is the official capital, and Charleroi is marginally bigger. The city is rapidly modernising, and as a result will become even more worth visiting in years to come!
French is the native language of most people in Liège, and there are more Italian and Spanish speakers than there are speakers of Dutch, Belgium's other major language. Some students are native German speakers, as a small part in the east of the Province of Liège is German speaking. English is not widely spoken, but understood by some.
Liège airport specialises in freight and is Europe's 7th larges cargo airport. It nonetheless serves passenger destinations such as: Agadir, Alicante,Bodrum, Catania, Corfu, Djerba, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Izmir, Las Palmas, Malaga, Monastir, Palma de Mallorca, Pristina, Rhodes, Tel Aviv and Tenerife. Reaching the city center by public transportation is a bit tricky.
Brussels Airport is your most likely point of entry into Belgium, and Liège can be reached by train via Louvain/Leuven or Brussels-North station.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which is located in Charleroi, 60 kilometers to the south of Brussels, is a hub for low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Wizzair. Take city bus Line A from outside the airport departures hall to Charleroi-Sud train station.
The city's main railway station - Liège-Guillemins - is located in the south-western part of the city. The station is served by Thalys and ICE high speed trains to and from Brussels, Paris, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt.
Direct intercity trains run hourly from Brussels (1 hour), Namur (50 minutes), Aachen (50 minutes) and Luxembourg, while regular regional trains serve Maastricht (30 minutes) and other towns.
Unlike in most Belgian cities, where the inner rings were built along the paths of the old ramparts, Liège's main roads were laid out along old branches of the Meuse, which sometimes makes navigating them a bit more difficult.
There are many parking garages in the city center.
The main routes for cars are:
the E40 and E25 motorways, that cross parts of the city
the Boulevards "d'Avroy" and "de la Sauvenière", which connect the center to the Guillemins station
the Quais "de la Meuse" and "de la Dérivation", which connect with the E25 in the north and south
Walking is the best way to see the city, and most of the central part of Liège - including some green areas - are within walking distance.
What to see
The Aquarium which is housed in the same neo-classical building as the Maison de la Science and Zoological institute is the most visited museum in Wallonia, as well as one of the cheapest places in Europe to see a man-eating shark! (Quai Van Beneden, aquarium and museum
Archéoforum- an archeological site showcasing the remains of the three (successive) cathedrals that stood on the site, as well as those of a building from Roman times. (Place Saint-Lambert.
BAL (Beaux-arts Liège, formerly ´Museum of Walloon Art´). Housed in an ugly 1970´s building that disrupts the streetscape of the Hors-Château area, this museum notheless houses both an interesting permenent collection of art from various periouds as well as exhibitions.
Cité des Miroirs - a recently renovated art-deco swimming pool that host exhibitions on photography.
The Curtius Palace. This imposing 8-story building from the start of the 17th century was the store of a rich arms merchant.
The Hôtel d’Ansembourg is now a museum, and can be recommended for its well-preserved interiour. (En Feronstrée 114.
Musée Grétry - (Rue des Récollets 34.
The Museum of Religious Art (rue Mère Dieu 1) will be integrated into the future Museum Grand Curtius, but can now be visited separately.
Museum of Tchantchès - dedicated to the city's mascot, who is also the main character in local puppet theaters.
The Public Transport Museum is located in the Vennes area (Rue Richard Heintz 9.
The Museum of Walloon Life is an ethnological mueseum hosted in an old convent. (Cour des Mineurs, closed for renovation until spring 2008.
Cityscape and architecture
Though too messy for the tastes of some people in neighbouring countries, Liège offers a fascinating mix of buildings to people who are passionate about all styles of pre-war architecture. For as well as the industrial wastelands, motorways and occasional brutalist monstrosity that gave it its bad name, the city's long history of both ecclesiastical and industrial power have left it with an an impressive heritage that encompasses medieval and Victorian architecture, art-nouveau, art-deco, early modernism and everything in between.
As it is located in the steep-sided valley of the Meuse, Liège is also home to numerous stairways - that often lead to spectacular views.