Famous for it`s 19th century citadel fortress on top of the cliff to protect the bridge over the Meuse, and for being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, there was quit a lot to see.
We stayed at the IBIS Dinant, a cosy little hotel with a room with view on the Meuse. It`s a cheap and clean hotel, and while the room wasn`t immense, it was more then comfortable enough for the night we spend in the city...
As it happens, and unbeknownst to us, past saturday a light festival started around the bridge, displaying various chinese works that lighted up spectacularly. While most where located on the riverbank, more of them where scattered around town as well.
At the base of the citadel, the impressive church Notre Dame de Dinant is located. Originally build in the 13th century, it`s pearshaped tower was a later, 16th century, addition.
Alphonse Sax House
Born in Dinant 200 years ago, the creator of the saxophone is one of the things the city is very proud off. This shows as saxophones are spread all along town, and the birthhouse is repurposed as free, small museum telling the tale of how the saxophone came around.
But first, time for a coffee and some sweets...
The famous brewery of the "blonde Leffe" features a virtual tour, where you use a card with a QR code that activates all kinds of panels with movie clips, pictures, and smell devices about the founding and history of the abbey of Leffe, and how the beer became known to the populace worldwide these days.
The tour also comes with a tasting, a Leffe of choice. Noshi picked the new member of the family, the Ruby, while I settled for the good old brown one.
So that concluded the visits for the first day, and we went to a local Hong Kong and Thai restaurant for a lovely meal... soup and a 5 flavours with rice dish.
The mighty fortress, build between 1818 and 1821 by the dutch, dominates the entire view from the city. We went up there to enjoy the two expositions that took place there.
Detailing the history of the first world war at Dinant, with the slaughter on the morning of the 23rd of august 1914 (where a young lieutenant, Charles DeGaulle, was amongst the defending garrison) as the germans captured the city for the tactical objective of the bridge. The exposition makes use of visual and audio items to emerge the visitor in the chaos and panic of that faithful day and the nights leading up to it.
History of the Citadelle
We took the free guided tour along the citadel to learn more about it's history and how it was build. The tour takes you along rooms normally closed to the general public, including some stunning views and recreations of places like the kitchen and armoury.
It also featured another small part of WW1, but this is a recreation of a trench from the Ypres saillant, these weren`t found in the vicinity of Dinant at all. The shelter that was all sideways after being hit by a bomb did play havoc with your senses...
And then we decended the 408 steps back to Dinant from the citadel (yeah, we went up using the teleferique, I`m not totally insane you know...)
A nice two days out trip, and at only 2.5 hrs with the train from Antwerp, closer then it might appear... and closed of the weekend with some wine and cheese.