Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
September 24, 2003
This seems to be a place which can be reached easily by people who have difficulty with walking, as long as they can use the local minibus, so I thought it was worth providing the details - even though the opening and closing times ruled it out for me.
It is a get-on/get-off service which only costs €2.00 ad runs from the tourist office near the station on the hour from 10am to 5pm.
I console myself with the thought that it was almost 5pm before I could actually see the top - the weather was slow to clear. However, I was awfully tempted to go in the morning when the sun was shining, but it would have set me back three hours at least, and I had yet to enter the Ardennes.
From journal Namur partly accidental!
by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
September 25, 2002
After finding a parking place, we walked in the direction of the City Center. It was quite difficult getting past all the vendors on the street, and of course, we had to stop and watch the parade. We reached the cable car, purchased our tickets and up we went to the Citadel.
The complex is large; at the top there is a restaurant, gift shop and restrooms. The only way to really appreciate the Citadel is to take a free, guided tour; many areas can only be reached with a guide.
The only problem we encountered was that there are so few English-speaking tourists, the guide only gave the tour in French and Dutch. He was very kind and apologized to us and gave us a small booklet written in English that we could follow as we went along.
Starting in the Central Courtyard we walked to the Main Gallery in the middle of a large passageway, past the Powder Magazine, a small room used to store ammunitions and then we moved into the Corridors of Time. Here are rooms with scenes recalling the history of the Citadel including the "sacking" of Dinant in 1466 by Charles the Bold, and other battles up to 1914. Luckily, all written descriptions were in English, as well as French and Dutch. We also visited the Dungeons and the torture room.
Stop # 8 was by far our favorite. We exited the stone structure, into the bright daylight and onto grassy terrace, where there before us was a breathtaking panoramic view-100 meters above the River Meuse with the entire town of Namur at our feet.
The tour continued through a series of rooms entitled "Life in 1820" including a forge, kitchens and bakery. Another interesting section was Number 16- a replica of what it would have been like in the Trenches in 1914 in a collapsed shelter cave. It was complete with simulated gunfire and flares.
If you are really adventurous, skip the cable car and walk up the 408 steps to the top, or ride up and walk down. The cost is the same. After our tour, we followed the path down the steps for just a short way, but the rain clouds were building quickly and we decided to take the easy way down.
The Citadel is open 10:00 to 6:00 all year except January when it is open on weekends only. Allow one hour for the tour and a little more time on your own.
From journal Namur Discovered
It was one of the largest strongholds in Europe until Napoleon ordered parts of the Citadel demolished when he felt he no longer needed its protection. The constant changing of hands continued until the Independence of Belgium in 1830. But its history didn’t stop there. It was used by the Belgian Army in the 1860s and again it saw action during both world wars.
Today, The Citadel still stands guard over Namur and is a wonderful place to spend the day. In its brochure, there are several walking tours laid out ranging from 40 minutes to 2 1/2 hours. The walks and direction markers are color coded to help you find your way. The Citadel is divided into three areas, Medieval, Mediane and Terra Nova.
The Medieval area is the oldest part of the Citadel and the location of the Chateau Des Comtes (Castle of the Counts), a restaurant and restrooms. Here we saw the remains of the stone walls, which once held the massive main gates and enclosed the beautiful grounds. There are underground tunnels to explore and many footpaths with briefings on history (written in English, French, and Dutch) at each point of interest about Europe’s most impressive citadel.
On the day we visited, there was a group dressed in medieval costumes, demonstrating the fighting techniques and lifestyles of the Middle Ages.
The Mediane was built by Charles V between 1542 and 1555 and was planned to function as a city in itself, housing the soldiers who protected it. The Guy Delforge Perfumes Workshop occupies a beautiful old building that is open to the public for tours.
And finally Terra Nova, with its beautiful park and several excellent viewpoints. Make sure you have plenty of film. The views from here are spectacular.