Dinant is a small city located in the province of Namur (the regional capital of Wallonia), in Belgium. The city and the fortified citadel is full of history related to the World War I – when it was practically destroyed -, and it’s famous for been the house of the saxophone’s creator, Adolphe Sax. Oh, Dinant is also the place where the Maison Leffe is located, important information for beer lovers.
The city was the second stop on our itinerary of a trip through southern Belgium and Luxembourg – the first stop was Namur, earlier that day. I was super excited to visit Dinant because a Belgium friend indicated the place (and local people usually know the best places to go), and also because of the pictures I had seen online.
Read more: Visiting the Citadel of Namur in Belgium
We got in Dinant around 1:30 pm, crazy hungry, so the first thing we did after parking the car (in an underground parking lot close to the center because parking on the street was just impossible), we started looking for places to eat. After checking out a few menus we ended up at Chez Nino, considering our options, our hunger, the location and the prices, it was good. I just wish I had ordered what the next table was having, but I didn’t know that till I saw the dish. Well, it happens!
The Bird’s Eye View
The attraction that I was more excited to see was the fortified citadel on the top of the cliff; it’s an important element in the city’s landscape. The citadel was built in the 11th century to protect the valley, and today the place is open for visitation. To get on the top you pay €8,5 (entrance + cable car), but there is a steep stair also, for the brave ones. The cable car is small, rises steeply and looks a little old; I was anxious to get out of it.
The views of the city and the valley are privileged (and pretty!), no wonder they built a fortress up there. In the citadel you’ll find a museum dedicated to Dinant’s Arms, where you’ll discover all the information related to the history of the city, how it was affected by the World War I, all the destruction that it suffered – Dinant was pretty much destroyed during the war. Besides the museum, you can also make a guided tour to see more of the construction and its tunnels. We didn’t make the tour, so I don’t know if it’s worth it or not.
The Maison Leffe
Leffe is one of the most known Belgian abbey beer, and since I enjoy visiting breweries and wineries, I was thrilled to see this one. The beers date back to 1240 when the canons of the abbey (Notre-Dame de Leffe) decided to create a brewery, pretty impressive date. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make the tour because of timing. It was late, and we’d have to drive to Luxembourg yet, but drinking a Leffe from the source was already great.
The tour (self-guided) costs €7 and includes a beer tasting in the end and also a gift (I don’t know what it is, but I want it). Well, as I said before, we couldn’t make the tour, we skipped straight to the tasting party. We tried an IPA and Triple, both really good, according to the official website the recipe is still the same since 1240. The bar of the Maison Leffe is beautiful, and they also have an external area for the warm days.
The perfect picture
What I really wanted to do was to see the city’s postcard view with my own eyes – which made me wanted to go there in the first place. The perfect picture includes the river, the church and the cliff (with the citadel on the top) behind it.
The sax city
It’s impossible to walk on the streets of Dinant without noticing that you are in the city where the saxophone was created. Details related to the instrument are all over the place. We didn’t know anything about it when we got there, but after a few minutes walking, we realized that the saxophone was something big in Dinant. They made it very clear! You can visit the sax museum, La Maison de Monsieur Sax (Adolph Sax’s house), or just take a picture with “him” on his bench in front of the house.
Extra: La Couque de Dinant
La Couque de Dinant is a local treat, known as the hardest biscuit of Europe, something that I wish I had tasted but didn’t have the time to visit a bakery (sadly!). The biscuit is imprinted with a carved wooden molding before the baking process. You can’t even bite it, you have to break it into pieces, put it in your mouth and wait till it melts. That sounds like an experience! Well, it’s a reason to go back there. Yes, I’d go back to Dinant only because of the biscuit.
Dinant was a place that I was happy to visit. One of the main goals for this trip was to see a few Belgium villages, and this one had to be on the list. It’s small, quiet and charming, a nice place to spend the day/half day during a road-trip.
The prices presented here are from October of 2016, and the currency is Euro