Mons Travel Guide

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Doudou Festival

Doudou Festival

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On the slopes of a small hill lies the city of Mons, the capital of the Belgian province of Hainaut.  The city is sometimes overlooked by tourists, but without reason.  Mons offers all the splendors and historical richness that so typifies most of the cities in Belgium.  Mons is certainly worth a visit during the frequent processions that take place here during the year.  For the British Mons became the scene of their first battles in the war as well as the last.  In modern times SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers in Europe) has been located not far from the town at Maisieres.

Located near the French border, at the junction of the Canal du Centre and the Condé-Mons Canal, it is the processing and shipping center of the Borinage district, and the closing of most of the coal mines has caused economic hardship

Mons was established at the top of a hill, around a 7th century monastery founded by St. Waudru.  Mons has expanded over the centuries, outgrowing its fortified walls more than once, and engulfing surrounding communities.  The central core of the town is not large, and runs in a number of rings.  There is a concerted effort to keep vehicles out of the narrow streets, and parking regulations are strictly enforced.

The Cathedral dedicated to St. Waudrau is now Mons' chief tourist attraction.  Mons is located 50 kilometers southwest of Brussels.  It has a population of 91,000.  The Canal du Centre, the E42, and the E19 all pass through it.  Unlike some of the other towns in Belgium where the Flemish and French names for the towns are the same, the Flemish name for Mons is Bergen (though both mean "mountains").

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