Tournai has many strings to its …harp!
Tournai is a city of about 70,000 inhabitants. Located in the extreme west of Belgium and Wallonia, it can be defined as a medium-sized city with a regional vocation, but also as a city in the countryside. It is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. As the cradle of France, its history is rich and eventful and many of its buildings, civil, military and religious, still bear witness to its rich past. The origins of Tournai date back to the 1st century BC. A royal city under Childeric, it became the first capital of what was to become France under Clovis. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
The city has been undergoing major urban transformation since the mid-1990s. Urban development work has been carried out on the left bank of the Scheldt, from the Place de Lille to the Scheldt quays, in order to create pedestrian or semi-pedestrian areas.
The cathedral is one of Tournai’s major tourist attractions. Even if its visit is limited to the accessible parts due to the works, its restoration, which should be completed by 2025, is a titanic project that is well worth a visit.
Apart from its cathedral, which combines Romanesque and Gothic styles, Tournai’s assets include a second UNESCO World Heritage monument, namely its belfry, the oldest in Belgium.
In addition to its UNESCO heritage, Tournai boasts nine museums, including seven municipal museums, the Puppet Museum of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Cathedral Treasury.
But the list of Tournai’s assets as a city of art and history does not end there. Here are some more:
- many civil, military, industrial and religious witnesses to its long history,
- a beautiful range of architectural styles from Romanesque to contemporary and many listed buildings,
- a city accessible by road, rail and the river Scheldt, which links Tournai to Antwerp,
- activities and festivities throughout the year,
- a city that gives pride of place to culture with, in particular, various high quality festivals: the Ramdam (cinema), the Jazz Festival, the Rencontres Inattendues (philosophy and music), the Festival Découvertes Images et Marionnettes (images and puppets), the Piste aux Espoirs (circus), the Festival Next organised by the Maison de la Culture, etc.
- a city in the countryside, surrounded by 29 villages, which makes Tournai the largest municipality in French-speaking Belgium. Tournai offers many possibilities for walking, cycling and horse riding,
- many shops, local products, restaurants where you can eat very well
- a wide range of accommodation options: hotels, youth hostels, gîtes, bed and breakfasts, camping, a reception area for motor homes and a nautical stopover,
- a leisure centre offering a swimming pool with indoor and outdoor slides, a cafeteria, a club house, a 17-hectare lake where pedal boats can be used
- 1,600 km of cycle network across the 23 communes of Wallonia-Picardy, interconnected with neighbouring Flanders
- a city that has embraced new technologies, offering its visitors the possibility of receiving tourist information on their I-Pad or Smartphone via QR codes scattered around the city.
Our Scaldéan city is also a partner city of the Eurométropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai, a European grouping of territorial cooperation created in 2008, which brings together 147 French and Belgian municipalities.
Proud of its past, a crossroads of cultures, Tournai is open to the world and believes more than ever in its future.