To the south and southwest of Mons stretches the coal field of the Borinage. In spite of the decline of Belgian mining, there are still winding towers and a workers' settlement to be seen amid the high slag heaps, the so-called "terils".
Typical Visit: 4 hours
Vincent van Gogh lived in Cuesmes, 3km/2miles south of Mons, as a worker-priest among the miners of the Borinage from the summer of 1879 to the autumn of 1880 before he finally turned to painting.
Van Gogh House
On the edge of the forest stands a little mining cottage where van Gogh occupied a room; this is filled with documents and reproductions of his paintings (no originals).Van Gogh lived here from 1879 to 1880.
Hornu lies 10km/6miles to the west of Mons and is the oldest mining village of the Borinage. Here between 1814 and 1832 the industrialist Henri de Gorge put into operation his ideas, which were revolutionary for that time, for the unity of work and residence. The working complex of "Grand Hornu", now a protected monument, consisted of the mine, iron foundry, engineering offices, schools, a hospital, public squares, and 400 houses for workers. With an elliptical central square, around which were grouped the offices. Each worker's house had its own garden and the whole complex was financed by Henri de Gorge. In 1829 there were 2,500 people in "Grand Hornu".
Right in the southwestern tip of the Borinage lies the village of Roisin and nearby in a house by the rock "Caillou-qui-bique" the poet Emile Verhaeren spent the last 15 years of his life. Mementos of the poet can be seen in the house.
The finds in the "Camp à Cayaux", 6km/3.75miles from Mons near Spiennes, which can be seen in the little museum, prove that coal was being dug in the Borinage as long ago as the Stone Age.
Casteau, 10km/6mi northeast of Mons, has a 13th C. church and the remains of a castle. The place is well known as the seat of the headquarters of NATO in Europe, SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe).
The airfield serving SHAPE, the NATO headquarters in nearby Casteau, lies to the southeast of Chièvre.
The little town of Beloeil is situated about 30km/19miles north-west of Mons. Beloeil's Baroque château and park have the reputation of being the finest of their kind in Belgium.The Beloeil castle was founded in the 13th century as a medieval fortress, and transformed into a residential palace in the 17th and 18th century. The grounds include 120ha of a French-style park.
Built in the 12th Century, Chateau de Beloeil is a palace encompassing beautiful french-style gardens, Beloeil Park and the Parcs des Attractions for children.
Aubechies - Archeological Site
An open-air museum and reconstructed village that covers the ancient history of Belgium from the Neolithic age to Gallic era.
Map of Mons Attractions