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Visiting Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, Belgium: a tale of borders and historic rivalry

Updated on October 8, 2012
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, Belgium
Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, Belgium | Source
The 'Maison Espagnole' (Spanish house), Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, Belgium
The 'Maison Espagnole' (Spanish house), Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, Belgium | Source
Map location of Dinant in Namur province (Bouvignes-sur-Meuse is situated in Dinant municipality)
Map location of Dinant in Namur province (Bouvignes-sur-Meuse is situated in Dinant municipality) | Source

Memories of past prosperity

Dinant and the neighbouring, former town of Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, in which municipality in the Walloon region it is now situated, were known in the Middle Ages for their metalwork industries. Surviving from this period are various quality artefacts. I received the impression of a locality which previously enjoyed a large measure of prosperity.

Interestingly, Bouvignes-sur-Meuse was formerly a commercial rival of Dinant in the Medieval period. Although only 2 kilometres apart, the boundary between the spheres of influence of the County of Namur, to which Bouvignes belonged, and the Principality of Liège, to which Dinant belonged, passed between the two towns, situated on opposite sides of the Meuse River.

Noted structures

Bouvignes-sur-Meuse has a number of historic structures; these include:

The Masion espagnole (Spanish house), in the style referred to as Dutch Renaissance, this building was erected between 1568 and 1578. It was modified or restored in the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The building has been classified in Belgium as an historic monument since 1948 and formerly served as the town hall and a school.

St. Lambert church is a large, stone landmark noted for its solidity. The church building dates from the 13th century and was restored in the 20th century.

Near Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, overlooking the river from a nearby hill are the ruins of Crèvecœur castle, a Medieval fort. While the site is known to have been used by the Romans, the counts of Namur built a fort in the 12th century. It served as an important defensive structure for the counts of Namur, whenever conflict broke out with the neighbouring Principality of Liège, to which the town of Dinant belonged.

Crèvecœur castle ceased to be used for military purposes after the 16th century, and some of its ruins have disappeared over the years.

Also worth seeing

Dinant (distance: 2 kilometres) ; this town is mainly noted for its unusually designed Medieval collegiate church, its citadel and the Bayard Rock.

Annevoie-Rouillon (distance: 11 kilometres); there are gardens dating from the 17th century at this noted castle.

Namur (distance: 27 kilometres); situated at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers, this city has been a population centre since Roman times. For a number of centuries, the city's Medieval Citadel was a stronghold strategically. There are many distinguished old buildings and churches. The Walloon region of Belgium has Namur as its capital.

Bouillon (distance: 65 kilometres); this Medieval castle overlooking the Semois River at this town was once associated with Crusader Godefroid de Bouillon .

Givet , France (distance: 22 kilometres); this stronghold on the Meuse River has a strategic fort which overlooks the town and some civic and ecclesiastical architecture of distinction.

Charleville-Mézières , France (distance: 75 kilometres) has an historic and picturesque grand ducal square.

...

How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. The Belgian railroad company SNCB - NMBS maintains a service between Brussels and Dinant. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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