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Visiting Liège, Belgium and the Quai de Rome and the nearby marina: considerable water traffic in a land-locked region
Ripples of trade and tourism
While the Walloon region (French: Région wallonne ) of Belgium, in which Liège is situated, is landlocked, it actually does have considerable water traffic which flows through it. The view in the main photo, above, may superficially resemble a coastline, but it is actually the western bank of the Meuse river at the quay known as the Quai de Rome , in Liège.
Even in Roman times, the Meuse river (Latin: Mosa ) was a well-known trade route; indeed. the crossing at the city of Maastricht, The Netherlands, less than 50 kilometres to the north of what is now the city of Liège was known as Traiectum ad Mosam .
While significant commercial traffic passes through Liège on the very familiar barges, yet also, north of the Quai de Rome , and close to Boulevard Frère-Orban , Liège has a marina. In French, the marina is known variously as the Port des Yachts (i.e., yacht port) or the Port de Plaisance (i.e., pleasure port). The marina has berth capacity for 120 vessels, including 113 berths for vessels about 10 metres long, 10 berths for those about 24 metres in length, and 3 berths for vessels about 30 metres long (1).
A restaurant at the marina, known as the Georges Truffaut Captaincy (French: Capitainerie "Georges Truffaut" ), specializes in fish dishes and sea-foods and is named for a Belgian political leader and member of the World War Two Resistance (2). It has fine views of the Meuse river.
Excursions are sometimes available from the marina as well as from other locations on the Meuse river in Liège province. Some of these excursions travel as far north as Maastricht, in The Netherlands, also situated on the Meuse (Dutch: Maas ) river. Others travel south-east along the Meuse to Huy. However, advance enquiry regarding river excursions is strongly advised for visitors.
For the visitor to Liège, it is thus easy to see how this great river has long been at the heart of much of the city's commercial and tourist activities. While the Walloon region of Belgium may technically lack a coastline, yet water travel is fundamental to the region's trade and to many of its visitor attractions also (3).
January 31, 2013
(1) For further marina berthing and other information, see: http://www.portdeliege.be/fr/port-yachts-infos (website information in French).
(2) Georges Truffaut (1901-1942), was born in Liège and prior to World War Two, served as a Parliamentary deputy; he was active in Liège municipal affairs; he died in exile in England.
(3) Interestingly, also, while the Belgian coastline is situated wholly in the Flemish region, yet particular resorts on Belgium's North Sea coast have long been identified as being especially popular with visitors from the Walloon region. Added to this is the fact that Francophone Belgians serve in the Marine Component of the Belgian Armed Forces (French: Composante Marine de l'Armée belge ); thus, despite the existence of strongly regionalist forces in the country, many Francophone Belgians are thoroughly familiar with the sea and with sea travel.
Also worth seeing
In Liège itself, other visitor attractions include: the Fine Arts Palace (French: Palais des Beaux-Arts ), in the Parc de la Boverie on Outremeuse Island; the Zénobe Gramme Monument close to the Fragnée Bridge; the Cointe Basilica and other, church architecture, some of it dating from the Middle Ages; the Perron; the Bueren Mountain; the equestrian statue of Charlemagne, and many others.
How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York (JFK) to Brussels Airport, where car hire is available (distance from Brussels Airport to Liège : 94 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains a service from Brussels to Liège . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to 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.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting the Citadel at Dinant, Belgium: centuries of defensive strategy overlooking the Meuse River
- Visiting Bouillon, Belgium: memories of Godefroid, styled King of Jerusalem, and his castle
- Visiting the Parliament Building, Brussels, Belgium: the Palace of the Nation
- Visiting Bruges, Belgium: dizzyingly high towers and powerful, Medieval memories
- Visiting Maastricht, The Netherlands: a tale of the towers of two churches