Travelogue Belgium, Luxembourg and France

Travelogue

Belgium, Luxembourg and France

A short campertrip that we made in April 2024, abroad, but still close to our home

Period 10 april 2024 – 14 april 2024.  Distance 875 km.

In April we made a short camper trip not too far from home. We visited Mechelen in Belgium, Clervaux in Luxembourg and the surroundings of Verdun in France. 

Please note that when you click on the green headings above the paragraphs, you will be directed to the photo series on our photo website SmugMug. The Family of Man has not yet been published.

Route

  •  Zeeland – Mechelen (BE)
  • Mechelen (BE) – Sankt Vith (BE)
  • Sankt Vith (BE) – Clervaux (LUX) – Damvillers (FR) – Charny-sur-Meuse (FR)
  • Charny-sur-Meuse (FR) – Verdun (FR) – Douaumont (FR) – Sedan (FR)
  • Sedan (FR) – Zeeland

Highlights of this trip

Mechelen 

Mechelen was one of the Flemish cities we wanted to visit. Mechelen is only 90 km from where we live, incomprehensible that we didn’t visit this city before. During this period there was also a photo exhibition of Lieve Blancquaert in Mechelen, thus an extra reason to visit Mechelen.

Mechelen is located on the river Dyle in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The city has about 87,000 inhabitants.

What a beautiful city Mechelen is! Historical monuments, gems in the green, charming places. The highlight was the Grote Markt, but there are more highlights worth mentioning: Het stadhuis , Sint-Pieter-en-Paulkerk, Het Schepenhuis, Haverwerf, Ijzerenleen

  • Grote Markt

Which made it extra festive the first day we were there, that it was Eid al-Fitr. A day of celebration for the many Moroccans who live here. Especially the women looked beautiful with their festive clothes.

Veemarkt

Veemarkt

At the end of the afternoon, we visited the photo exhibition “We are Europe” by Lieve Blacnquaert in the Cultural Centre. See my short report of our visit in our Blog (click).

  • Lieve Blancquaert

  • Lieve Blancquaert

The walk on the first day was entitled: “Walk along the Burgundian toppers”. The second day we made two walks through Mechelen:

  • One step further through the beguinage
  • One step further along the Dyle path.

The walks are mentioned in the booklet: In the footsteps of Margareta. You can buy this booklet in the tourist office.

  • Mechelen

The Family of Man – Clervaux

One of my wishes was to one day visit the permanent photo exhibition “The Family of Man” in Clervaux in Luxembourg. The exhibition was curated by Edward Steichen in 1956 for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the 1950s and 1960s, it attracted more than 9 million visitors. Since 1964, the exhibition has been in Clervaux.

A wish of mine has come true. I think it’s a wonderful exhibition. A picture of the time with iconic photos. When you click here, you will be directed to a post that we wrote about our visit to the exhibition.

The Family of Man

The Family of Man

The Douaumont Ossuary

The Douaumont Ossuary is a monument that houses the remains of 130,000 unidentified French and German soldiers. All were killed during the Battle of Verdun during the First World War.

In 1919, a wooden shack was erected on the battlefields around Fort Douaumont to give the unidentified soldiers found on the battlefield a final resting place. They were stored in wooden boxes bearing the names of the sectors on the battlefield where they were found.

The Bishop of Verdun, Mgr. Charles Ginisty, began a fundraising campaign to build a more permanent resting place. Finally, on August 22, 1920, the foundation stone was laid by Marshal Pétain. On August 7, 1932, the monument was opened by the French president. The monument itself is 137 meters long. The walls are decorated with the coats of arms of the cities that donated money for its construction. The center of the monument, where the entrance gate is located, stands under a 46-meter-high tower with a 200-step staircase. At the top is a bronze clock weighing almost two and a half tons and a beacon with four rotating lights in the colors red and white. 

The corridors of the monument contain 18 niches, each with two tombs. There are five other tombs at each end. Among the tombs are the bones of the unidentified soldiers. There is also a Catholic chapel in the monument. At the rear of the monument, small glass windows offer a view of the bones that lie underneath.

In front of it is the largest military cemetery in the region with 15,000 graves. A separate section is reserved for Muslim soldiers, the graves are facing Mekka. The whole complex is impressive, especially with the knowledge that even today thousands, hundreds of thousands of people die in useless, insane wars. More information can be found on these websites: https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/42826/Ossuarium-van-Douaumont.htm and https://www.verdun-douaumont.com/nl/brochure/

  • Monument to WW I dead at battle of Verdun

  • Monument to WW I dead at battle of Verdun

The Family of Man
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