The Belgian city of Dinant, idyllically located along the Meuse river, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Day tourists usually love to take pictures with the statue of Mr. Sax or one of the colorful saxophones on the Charles de Gaulle bridge. And of course, there are those colorful houses contrasting against the dark rock behind them: a picture perfect that everyone wants to capture. Yes, me too! It’s a classic image of Belgium. But there are more beautiful viewpoints hidden in the Meuse valley … Don’t miss them!
The view over Dinant from the citadel
The citadel as it looks today was built around 1820, but it seems like there were already established structures at this place far before this period of time. The first castle would have been built there in the 11th century! The castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The citadel of Dinant is a building with a turbulent past. You can reach the citadel in different ways. You can take the cable car, which is quite unique in Belgium or you can drive up by car. Parking is free. You can also choose for the sporty way, but then you have to climb more than 400 steps. It is up to you 😉 From the citadel, you have a good view over Dinant and the Meuse river. A combination ticket for the cable car and the citadel will cost you 10 euros (price 2020).
The ruins of the Crèvecoeur castle
Less than 2 kilometers away from Dinant, you’ll find the medieval town of Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, once a strong opponent of Dinant. On the small town square, the ‘Maison du patrimoine médiéval mosan’ is located, a history museum of the region. Standard ticket price is 4 euros (price 2020). Behind the church, a walking path leads to the ruins of Crèvecoeur.
You will reach the ruins within 15 minutes or so. They are freely accessible. You will be surprised by the beautiful view over the Meuse valley. On the right, you see the citadel of Dinant while on the left, you see the ruins of Poilvache in the distance. And just below you is the city center of Bouvignes, from where you started.
Curious about how the fort got its name “Crèvecoeur”, literally translated “heartbeat”? Well, that leads us to the legend of the ladies of Crèvecoeur … and that’s a heartbreaking story. The legend tells that three women of fallen knights threw themselves from the castle tower in the Meuse to escape the murdering soldiers of the French king Henry II.
Poilvache medieval ruins
Poilvache was once the largest medieval fortress in the Meuse valley. It was a castle with a fortified village, which was destroyed in 1430. Today, you can visit the remains of Poilvache for 2 euros. From there, you will have a beautiful view over the Meuse river and the island of Houx. It has inspired poets and writers in the past. Unfortunately, the historical site was temporarily closed (due to corona) during our visit to the Meuse valley. Another more reason to turn back, I guess!
A little further is the village of Anhée located on the banks of the Meuse, from where the ‘Rue de la Molignée’ starts. This road takes you away from the Meuse, straight through the green Molignée valley. There are lots of fun activities to do in this area. Read my previous blog post to discover more about it.
Viewpoint ‘Les 7 Meuses’
Les 7 Meuses in Rivière is a viewpoint at 15 kilometers from Dinant. There is a hotel located on this point, as well as a restaurant with panoramic terrace. The hotel has a few double rooms and cottages. I stayed in a panoramic room and loved to see the sun rise over the Meuse valley in the morning.