Namur is dominated by an immense citadel, perched on the cliff above the river Meuse.
There are extensive views up and down the river.
Its easy to see why, in this frequently war-torn part of central Europe,
that the King decided to build this immense fortress..
The old castle fortifications were swallowed up by Vauban's new ditches, tunnels and walls..
The citadel is so enormous that it took us a good 2 hours just to walk round the walls
and read all the information boards.
Eventually we made our way out onto a huge, cliff top parade ground.
This area was used by the military and the town for sports, royal visits and other
out door entertainments.
This stadium was built around the end of the 19th Century to give a commanding view over the arena. I was fascinated by the building because it is basically a multi-purpose, dual faceted structure. The other side was an outdoor theatre. Sadly the whole building is suffering from age and neglect and it was difficult to take photos of the theatre side. There's an auditorium of concrete steps and even some little gothic ticket booth and entrance gates. I love this kind of quirky, unexpected stuff!
Beyond the parade ground complex there's a further palace - now a really beautiful hotel.
They have a really talented gardener who has been organising the grounds through scent, colour and mood. It's a beautiful place and completely free to anyone who wants to wander round.
Eventually hunger got the better of us and, about 4 hours after we'd climbed up into the citadel, we walked back down into town.
Namur does street cafes and squares really well. There was lots of choice for the starving explorers!
Two huge pizzas later, we had the energy to start exploring one of the churches of the town...
This ornate, Baroque church replaced an earlier medieval one (which had presumably suffered during one of the many periods of fighting in the region)
It was as spectacular on the inside, as it was on the outside.
The carving were heavy and detailed..
And the sunlight fell just right for me to be able to take this picture...
For me, this was probably the best photo of the holiday.
I am REALLY pleased with it!
(An hour or so later Mark received his 'best car compliment' of the holiday, when she was described by a Belgian Aston Martin owner as an 'objet d'art'. He was SO chuffed! All in all, a great day out!)