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Visiting the Ourthe river and Quai des Ardennes, Liège, Belgium: peaceful, urban riverside scenes

Updated on February 26, 2013
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Quai des Ardennes beside the Ourthe river, Liège
Quai des Ardennes beside the Ourthe river, Liège | Source
Ourthe river and Belle-Ile bridge, Liège
Ourthe river and Belle-Ile bridge, Liège | Source
Fétinne Bridge, by the confluence of the Ourthe and Meuse, Liège
Fétinne Bridge, by the confluence of the Ourthe and Meuse, Liège | Source
Map location of the Liège area
Map location of the Liège area | Source

Gracious and leafy fluvial prospects

The city of Liège, in Belgium's Walloon region (French: Région wallonne) is historically known as one of the country's great urban centres located on the Meuse river. Various of the Downtown and suburban areas of the city are almost literally perched overlooking this great river, with many high-rise buildings having replaced other, less space-efficient but more gracious, older buildings along the various quays which

However, there is also another great river at Liège, and this is the Ourthe which flows from the Ardennes hill country to Liège's Fétinne suburb, where its confluence with the Meuse occurs. Unlike some of the quays alongside the Meuse, high-rise real estate development has not been as relentless along the Ourthe, and pleasing avenues align its quays, providing scenic walks and fine views of the Ardennes.

Interestingly, in the early 19th century, there was an ambitious canal project to link the Meuse and the Moselle rivers via the Ourthe river, but the independence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg put an end to this undertaking.

The main photo (above) is a general view of the Quai des Ardennes, by the Ourthe river in Liège. The second view (right) shows the Quai des Ardennes, to the left of the photo, the Quai des Vennes to the right, the Belle-Ile Bridge (French: Pont Belle-Ile) and the hills of the Ardennes in the background. The third photo (right) shows the Quai des Ardennes, to the right of the photo, the Fétinne bridge (French: Pont de Fétinne)(1) in the centre of the view; looming above the trees on the Quai des Ardennes is the dome of the Church of Saint Vincent (French: Eglise de Saint-Vincent) (2).

Historically, the Ourthe department (no longer in existence) was the name given to a wide area in the Ardennes under French Revolutionary administration; this was before the existence of the Kingdom of Belgium, the independence of which dates from 1830.

February 26, 2013


(1) The Fétinne Bridge was built between 1901 and 1904; executed in steel, it was originally made ready for the Universal Exhibition (French: Exposition universelle), Liège, 1905.

(2) Built in 1930, its architect was Robert Toussaint (1900-1975); features include the use of reinforced concrete, and conspicuous arching in stylistic keeping with its landmark domed roof, executed in copper.

Also worth seeing

In Liège itself, other notable sights include: the nearby Fragnée Bridge; the Zénobe Gramme Monument; the marina at the Quai de Rome; the 'Perron' steps; the Bueren Mountain; many examples of fine, church architecture; the former Prince-Bishops' Palace;the Cointe Basilica and many others.

Séraing (distance: 9.1 kilometres)has a striking City Hall (French: Hôtel de ville); also at Séraing is the former summer palace of the Prince-Bishops of Liège; Renory Bridge (French: Pont de Renory) is a massive, 680-metre structure crossing the Meuse.


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. It is also advisable 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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