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Visiting Redu: book town in the Belgian province of Luxembourg
Books galore, in a town twinned with Hay-on-Wye
This village in Belgium is known as Belgium's book town. The used book industry has made this rural location a thriving centre for book-lovers.
I must confess that, when I browsed among the books of Redu, it was for me one of the highlights of my visit to Belgium.
To date, there are 22 bookstores from which to choose in this village. Redu reminded me of Hay-on-Wye, Wales; indeed, it is twinned with Hay. The Scottish town of Wigtown, which has developed as a centre for the book trade, is also comparable.
One memorable moment occurred as I was browsing in a bookstore and I came across a familiar face: the photo of Belgium's King Baudouin, with a typically warm, benevolent aura, against a backdrop of books, as he himself apparently had been visiting this book village.
Redu has a striking, stone church (Eglise Saint-Hubert ), completed in 1851.
At neighbouring Transinne, the Euro Space Center attracts many visitors also.
The geography of this part of Belgium is interesting: to travel a direct route to the sizeable Belgian town of Philippeville, 57 kilometres away, the road, the N40, suddenly calls itself the D949, and then, a few minutes later, via a Meuse River crossing, calls itself the N40 again. The reason? Because to follow the direct route between Redu and Philippeville, the traveller has to enter France, and cross the Meuse River, given that a substantial portion of which is in France, while the Franco-Belgian border curves on the map in an unusual way (1).
Redu is sometimes referred to as Redu-Libin, in reference to a neighbouring town to which municipality Redu belongs. It is situated in the Belgian province of Luxembourg (distinct from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
(1) This quirk of Franco-Belgian geography reminds me of the seemingly odd border between southwestern Ontario, Canada and the United States, where the area around Windsor, Ontario appears on a map to reach deep into US territory (historically, a practical effect of this was that the first railroad in Canada actually served to link two regions of US: the Buffalo/Niagara, NY, and Detroit, Mi., areas).
Also worth seeing
Dinant , Belgium (distance: 42 kilometres), a town of the Meuse River which has striking ecclesiastical architecture.
Bastogne, Belgium (distance: 60 kilometres) attracts may North American visitors because of its war memorial and associations with the Battle of the Bul
How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. Distance from Brusssels Airport to Redu: 128 kilometres. 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.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Hay-on-Wye, Wales: books galore and a ruined castle
- Visiting Dinant, Belgium: amazing, ecclesiastical architecture on the Meuse River
- Visiting Bouillon, Belgium: memories of Godefroid, styled King of Jerusalem, and his castle
- Visiting Lieler: multiple identities in a village of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where three coun
- Visiting Rocroi, France and its walls: impressive, fortified town