Liége is the capital of the Belgian province of Province of Liége, and the main city of the Liége agglomeration. Liége can be considered the cultural capital of Wallonia, even though Namur is the official capital, and Charleroi is marginally bigger. And even though it is mainly famous for its industrial past – and infamous for the subsequent decline, it is a varied city with a lot of history and culture, a dramatic setting on the Meuse river and a large student population. The city is rapidly modernising, and as a result will become even more worth visiting in years to come!Liége has a population of about 200,000, while its agglomeration – which is also home to the towns of Ans, Herstal, Seraing and Saint-Nicolas – has a population of about 750,000, making it the third largest in Belgium, after Brussels and Antwerp. Liége is not far from the border, and the Dutch city of Maastricht and the German city of Aachen are about half an hour away.Liége has been an important city since the early Middle Ages, when it was the capital of the Prince-bishopric of Liége, which was to remain an independent state until the French Revolution in 1789. Liége grew to be the center of one of the world’s first industrialised (coal and steel) regions outside the U.K. in the early 19th century, which led to the immigration of many Italians – who make up 5% of the population today – in the 20th century. Nowadays, Liége is home to numerous nationalities.The central area of Liége is rather an interesting combination of a historic neighbourhoods (dotted with a few extremely brutalist buildings from the 1960s and 70s), rather elegant 19th century ones with wide boulevards, tall apartment buildings (including Art Deco ones), the Meuse river and a few pretty parks. The outskirts of Liége can be divided into three distinct areas: large, sprawling industrial complexes on the river’s bank around Herstal in the north and Seraing in the south, working class areas to the east of the river, and leafy neighbourhoods on the hills to the west and south-east.Liége has a dramatic natural setting at the meeting point of the Ardennes, Condroz, Land of Herve and Hesbaye regions. Part of Liége University is located at Sart-Tilman, which lies on a forested hill on the edge of the latter. The Ourthe flow into the Meuse in Liége, while the Vesdre flows into the former in the neighbourhood of Chéníe.Liége might not be the typical tourist destination, but many will be surprised to find a city with a special character and friendly, open inhabitants who enjoy their lives there. As is the case in the rest of Belgium, finding a good meal is no problem in Liége, and the 44,000 students who live there make sure that there is a significant nightlife, even on weekdays!French is the native language of most people in Liége, 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 Liége is German speaking. English is not widely spoken, but understood by some.The city’s main railway station – Liége-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 but there is no direct connection anymore, from Aachen take the train in direction to Spa, get out in Welkenrath, then change to one of the IC trains to Oostende or Kortrijk ) and Luxembourg, while regular regional trains serve Maastricht (30 minutes) and other towns.Liége-Guillemins is located 3 kilometers, or 20-25 minute walk from the city center. The cheapest way to get to the center bar walking, is to take a regional train to Liége-Saint-Lambert (previously known as Liége-Palais) station (6 minutes, direction: Herstal, Liers). The ticket you used on the train to Liége will still be valid on this train.Alternatively, you can take bus number 1, 4 (direction ‘Opera’) or 48 (direction ‘Place Saint-Lambert’) for 2.40 (one way), or taxi for about 8-10 euros.Liége lies at the crossroads of several major motorways. Its “ring” has 6 branches: Liége is signposted on many motorways. Simply follow the E25 to its end and follow the signs to the center when coming from Germany or the Netherlands. Exit at ‘Angleur’ and follow ‘Centre’, or take the exit ‘Liége-Centre’ when coming from Luxembourg. And finally, follow the signs to Luxembourg until you reach the ‘Liége-Centre’ exit when coming from Paris, Lille, Brussels or Antwerp. Take note that Liége is indicated as ‘Luik’ on motorways in Flanders and ‘Léttich’ in Germany.Liége is well-connected to the Eurolines network. Tickets can be bough online or at the Eurolines office on Rue des Guillemins, near the station.People arriving in their own boat are welcome at the Port des Yachts. Many organised cruises from Maastricht stop on Quai Van Beneden.Unlike in most Belgian cities, where the inner rings were built along the paths of the old ramparts, Liége’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: As in the rest of Wallonia, bus transport in Liége is provided by TEC .Most lines into Liége converge at on of the city’s central bus “terminals” – Gare Líopold, Place Saint-Lambert, Place de la Rípublique Française or Opíra – which are very close to each other. Therefore, all buses marked with one of these destinations are heading for the center.Line 1 (direction ‘Coronmeuse’) and 4 (direction ‘Baviére’) connect Guillemins station to the center, while the return journey is marked ‘d’Harscamp’. Some lines depart from the intersection of Boulevard d’Avroy and Rue Pont d’Avroy, near to the main shopping streets.Take note that few lines run after midnight.Bus stops and buses alike are currently being equipped with digital signs indicating departures or next stops, though travelers should be aware that they are not always well synchronised. The bus service is also becoming increasingly better suited to the needs of disabled travelers.Free schedules and maps are available at the bus termiminals and at Guillemins station.The city center can be traveled by bike, though one should be aware that most main roads are a bit dangerous. Cyclists can use one-way streets in both directions when it is marked ‘sauf (bike symbol)’, which is usually the case.The steep hills make cycling outside the center is a bit more difficult, and reaching higher neighbourhoods requires both training and a multi-speed bike! Cycle paths are regularly added and improved, and parts of the Wallonia-wide network of foot and bike-paths (Ravel)pass through the city, most notably along the river. A map of the Ravel is available at the tourist office.Walking is the best way to see the city, and most of the central part of Liége – including some green areas – are within walking distance.Though too messy for the tastes of some people in neighbouring countries, Liége 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, Liége is also home to numerous stairways – that often lead to spectacular views.The city center can be roughly divided into two halves, with Place Saint-Lambert and Rue Líopold between the two: The northern part of the center – which goes by the name of Hors-Chéteau – is the best preserved, and contains numerous listed buildings as well many of its main sights:The southern end of Hors-Chéteau is marked by Place du Marchí, a square lined with cafe’s, 15th century houses and the elegant town hall.The ‘salle des pas perdus’ (room of lost steps) is open to visitors, though the rest of the town hall – which was destroyed by the French in 1691 and rebuilt in 1714 – is usually closed. The Perron – the monumental fountain that is the symbol of the city’s freedom – stands in the middle of the square.Place Saint Lambert – which is adjacent to Place du Marchí, and at the front of Liége-Saint-Lambert station – is considered the heart of Liége. The square was home to the Our Lady of Saint-Lambert Cathedral until it was demolished by the citizens of Liége in the wake of the French revolution in the late 18th century. The cathedral is commemorated today by two rows of metal columns and tracings of its former contours on the ground. Sadly, Place-Lambert and the adjacent area around the Opera were further damaged by planners in the ’70’s, resulting in it being no more than a hole in the cityscape for years to come. Nonetheless, some tasteful new buildings have been built in recent years, and some old ones still remain:One of the most beautiful historic parts of Liége – the area that lies beyond Ilot Saint-Michel, around Saint-Martins Basilica (1506-1542) – is not actually part of the historic center, but a 16th century ‘faubourg’ (suburb). There are a number of stairways over the remains of the faubourg’s ramparts: Rue du Montagne Saint-Martin itself (and its extension Rue Saint-Laurent) are lined with old houses and a number of other notable buildings, such as Sainte-Gertrude’s church and Saint-Laurent Abbey. Rue Monulphe is a pleasant, steep street leading down from Rue Saint-Laurent to Liége-Carrí (previously known as Liége-Jonfosse) rail station.The southern part of the center – to the south of Place Saint-Lambert and Rue Líopold – is slightly larger, and home to the neighbourhood of Saint-Denis and the area around the cathedral. Though more rundown, Saint-Denis – which lies directly to the south of Rue Líopold along Rue de la Cathídrale – is just as old as Hors-Chéteau, and has a certain charm of its own. The area boasts a myriad of architectural styles, with the highpoints being the 10th century Church of Saint-Denis, the adjacent square, and the monumental 19th century (former) post-office.The area around Saint-Pauls Cathedral, Boulevard de la Sauveniére and Opíra is the part of the center with the most to do, eat, drink and buy (see the respective sections of this article), but has a mixed cityscape that also hosts more ugly buildings than the rest of the center. It nonetheless contains a number of interesting buildings, among others:Outremeuse – which lies on the eastern bank of the Meuse, on an island between the former and the Dírivation de la Meuse – can be considered Liége’s second center. It is a ‘quartier populair’ (even though some parts are quite middle-class) with a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere, and a ‘Haussmann’ style street layout that also accommodates narrow, medieval streets between the main Boulevards. Crime fiction writer Georges Simenon, who is best known for the Maigret series, was born in Outremeuse, and the atmosphere of his stories can still be felt in some parts of the neighbourhood. Boulevard de la Constitution, Boulevard Saucy and the area around Place du Congrés and Rue Jean d’Outremeuse, have an elegant 19th century look, while Rue Gravioule, Rue des Tanneurs, Chaussíe des Prís, Rue Puits-en-Sock, Rue Roture, Rue des Rícollets, Rue Beauregard and Rue Fosse aux Raines have a more “medieval” look. The latter is home to the beautiful 18th century Church of Saint-Nicolas, the immediate neighbour of the youth hostel. (the church is open every day from 8AM to 12AM)The southern point of the (Outrmeuse) island is occupied by Parc de la Boverie, a beautiful park that is flanked by the river on two sides, and by the Palais des Congrés and a street of art-nouveau and art-deco houses on the third side. The Museum of Modern Art – which is currently closed for renovation/expansion – is located in a neo-baroque building in the middle of the park. The park is also home to an aviary.Liége’s neo-Byzantine Synagogue – which is usually closed – is located close to Parc de la Boverie, on Rue Líon Frídíricq, an otherwise rather uninteresting street., the Secret Gardens and Corners Day (la journíe Jardins et Coins secrets – 3rd Sunday in June), and the heritage days (les journíes du patrimoine – end September) are other key dates in Liége. The people of Liége like to celebrate, and as result there are numerous festivals throughout the year, many of them with roots going far back in history. Most of them are crowned by spectacular firework displays, as these are another passion of the Liégeois. Festivals are free unless otherwise indicated.A university city with some 80,000 students, Liége has plenty of educational possibilities. For more, see eat & drink.The best options for shopping are around Place Cathídrale and Place Saint Lambert, and in particular at Vinéve d’Ile (Celio…), Saint-Michel (Van den Borre, Delhaize, C&A), the Opera Galleries (Zara, Springfield) and the Saint Lambert Galleries (FNAC, Mídia Markt, Inno, Champion), as well as along the roads towards the center (rues Fíronstríe, Saint-Gilles, Puits-en-Sock in Outremeuse, Grítry in Longdoz…) Several large commercial centers are located on the outskirts of the city: Belle-Ile (North-American style shopping mall with Carrefour on site, take bus 377 from the Opera) (Angleur), Mídiacití shopping centre – 126 stores, easily accessible by car (with on-site carparking) or bus – 4, 26, 26, 31, 17, 29, 33, 35, 38B (Pont Longdoz stop), Rocourt, Boncelles, Herstal…The Liégeois enjoy eating, and visitors are likely to follow suite when in Liége!Typical foods and drinks include: The boulet even has its own culinary critics! (in French: the “Guide du Boulet frites sauce liégoise” ). Local recipes are available here .Unfortunately, restaurant prices are fairly high, as they tend to be in most Belgian cities. Budget restaurants will cost about 12-15 per person, including drinks, while mid-range restaurants will cost between 25 and 50, and splurge restaurants more than that! Snack-bars, take-aways and bakeries are probably the best options for people on a budget. A Dé¶ner kebab typically costs 3-5, and a sandwich about 2,50-5. Note that most ‘friteries’ charge a 50 cent supplement for sauce or extra vegetables. IndianThe area known as “Le Carrí” offers numerous options to drink and party 365 days per year, with a young, vibrant, student atmosphere. Also worth a visit: the Place du Marchí, more “connected”, and the area around Place Cathídrale, to see and be seen. In addition, many of the cafís in the Le Carrí area are a good alternative, with plenty of dancing and typically no entrance fee.Liege is generally a safe city during daytime. However, be cautious at night especially for single females. It is not recommended for women to walk alone in the evenings as many foreign female students have experienced being followed late at night. Harassment to single females occurs often, mostly verbal but some travelers have experienced assaults in off-downtown area even during daytime. If where you’re staying is more than a 5-min walk off the centre, it is suggested to take a cab (they have a line-ups around The Opera and Pont d’Avroy bus terminal) after 10PM.Take care in the city, especially at night. As with all cities there is a level of theft and you should ensure that all valuables such as cash, wallets and phones are kept safe. If visiting the Carrí ensure that you take only what you need and watch your pockets. Theft is extremely common in and around the bars. Also take care at cash machines in the Carrí as many strange people seem to congregate there.Liége’s surroundings are extremely varied and worth visiting in there own right. The city sits on the borders of a number of geographical regions:People who find themselves captivated by Liége will enjoy its closest eastern neighbour – Verviers – as well, as it feels like a smaller version of Liége (even though Liégeois deny this). See the respective article for more information on the Province of Liége.Liége is well positioned in Europe, and it is not difficult to find an interesting next destination:In Belgium:In the Netherlands:In the Germany:There are also direct trains to Luxembourg (130 kilometers, 2,5 hours), and direct high speed trains to Lille (203 km) and Paris (370 km).
Airport: LGG Liege Airport Cities in Belgium