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Visiting the Castle of the Counts, Mouscron, Belgium: Medieval memories
Castle near the Franco-Belgian and French-Dutch linguistic borders
The castle in Belgium is situated in the town of Mouscron, in the Walloon region, on the border with France; in fact, the town forms a conurbation with the city of Tourcoing in the Nord department of France. Having said this, it is also situated near another border: i.e., the French-Dutch linguistic border in Belgium.
Language matters again
Thus, in French the castle is known as the château des Comtes . But it also has another name, the Gravenkasteel : the Dutch form. Indeed also, the town itself has another name: Moeskroen, also the Dutch form. Mouscron is situated in the Belgian province of Hainaut; again, because a proteced Dutch-speaking minority exists in the town, the Dutch term Henegouwen is also used for this province.
The oldest surviving parts of the castle, associated with the Medieval Lords of Mouscron, date from the 15th century, although its origins were in the 14th century. My impression of the castle was that the part which looks most like part of defensive fortifications was the tower.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, is known to have stayed at the castle in May 1527.
Later, during the religious upheavals of the 16th century, followers of Luther occupied the castle for a few months. Formerly the castle contained sumptuous Louis XV-style interior furnishings, but nothing remain of these.
The d'Ennetières family undertook considerable work on the castle, including its frontage, and it was during this period that it took on the appearance of a stately home. While subsequently falling into relative disrepair, it has been refurbished in recent years.
Also worth seeing
In Mouscron itself, there is a fine, Neo-Gothic Town Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville ; Dutch: Stadhuis ) dating from 1880-1890.
Tourcoing , France (distance: 6 kilometres) has a striking City Hall, and early 20th century belfry and the Medieval church of St. Christophe .
Tournai , Belgium (distance: 27 kilometres) has 12th and 13th century Cathedral and a Medieval tower.
Antoing , Belgium (distance: 38 kilometres), has the Medieval castle of the de Ligne Princes.
How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. Brussels is the nearest large airport to Mouscron (distance: 113 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB/NMBS maintains a service between Brussels and Mouscron . Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. 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 Tourcoing and its City Hall: outstanding civic architecture in northern France
- Visiting Antoing, Belgium: with its Medieval castle of the de Ligne Princes
- Visiting Menen, Belgium: part of a cross-border conurbation, where everything suddenly changes
- Visiting Bruges, Belgium: dizzyingly high towers and powerful, Medieval memories