Things to Do in Tournai, Belgium

According to, Tournai is a city located in Wallonia. Tournai is also known by its French name Tournai. Tournai is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. The city was once founded by the Romans. Tournai’s great heyday was in the Middle Ages, when the cloth trade and industry ensured prosperity in the city. Beautiful remains from old Tournai are the belfry, the Grote Markt with the Cloth Hall and the imposing Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral. Tournai has a fairly compact historic center that is easy to walk on. Most of the city’s attractions are located within the city’s ring road. Keep in mind that cobblestones (cobblestones) are often used as pavement.

Top 10 Things to Do in Tournai

#1. Belfry
This beautiful characteristic building from the twelfth century is for many the symbol of the city of Tournai. If the walls could talk here, they would certainly tell some very interesting stories. The Belfry of Tournai, which also symbolizes municipal freedoms, has withstood the test of time excellently. Even the First and Second World War has not had a hold on this oldest Belfry in Belgium with its dozens of bells. After climbing some 257 steps, you will be treated to an impressive panoramic view of the city of Tournai and its surroundings.

#2. Cloth
hall In the French-speaking part of Belgium, the cloth hall of Tournai is called Halle Aux Draps. The Cloth Hall of Tournai is located on the Grote Markt. The current building, which has different architectural styles, dates from the seventeenth century. Cloth halls were formerly used as a trading and storage place for cloth fabrics. The fabrics mainly consisted of wool that was processed in different ways. Today, the Cloth Hall is only accessible during special events. The most beautiful event here is the Christmas market. During this period, the atmospheric city of Tournai is transformed into winter scenes.

#3. The Red Fort
As part of the first city wall of Tournai, the Red Fort was an idea of ​​the reigning king of France Pilips II Augustus. From this spot, possible attacks could be detected early and defended excellently. During various redevelopments, the city wall has undergone various adjustments and extensions. However, the Red Fort has remained authentic. The limestone from which the tower is built is therefore a reference to what the city must have looked like once. Today, the Red Fort presents the history of the city.

#4. Our Lady’s Cathedral
The five high towers of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Tournai can be seen from afar. The cathedral, also known as Notre-Dame de Tournai, was far ahead of its time with its Gothic details. In the cathedral you can admire a Romanesque three-aisled nave, a painting by Peter Paul Rubens and a beautiful Gothic choir. The most special, however, is the reliquary of Nicholas of Verdun. This beautiful work belongs to ‘the seven wonders of Belgium’. In addition, this imposing building is full of beautiful statues, stained glass windows and other special details that are definitely worth a visit.

#5. Pont des Trous
This military bridge over the Scheldt has its origins in the Middle Ages. The Pont des Trous was built at the end of the thirteenth century and was then part of the city walls of Tournai. The right tower was built slightly later than the left one from 1281. The narrow passages under which shipping can pass were raised around 1948. A special detail are the flat and round sides of the towers.

#6. Grote Markt
For centuries, the Grote Markt (Grand Place) of Tournai, formed in a kind of triangle, has always been the place where something is happening. In the past, people were executed here, trade was conducted or important announcements were made. Today it is mainly a gathering place for all kinds of fun and a bit of culture. Historic buildings are located on and around the Grote Markt that have had a major influence on the history of the city. You will find the Cloth Hall, the Belfry, the Grange Tithes of St. Martin and the beautiful bronze statue of Marie-Christine de Lalaing, daughter of Count Charles II and wife of Pierre de Melun, governor of Tournai.

#7. Town hall
In a former abbey palace, parts of which date from 1763, the town hall (Hôtel De Ville) of Tournai is now located. The town hall is beautifully situated in a beautiful city park. The park used to be part of the Saint Martin abbey. It was not until the nineteenth century that the gardens were transformed into a city park. Especially during sunny days, the park around the fountains is frequently visited. A number of sights deserve a separate mention. Namely the two oldest trees in the city, the ginkgo biloba and the diospyros lotus and the Gothic-style monastery wing in the Kloosterhof.

#8. Museum of Fine Arts
This art museum of the city of Tournai is located on the Enclos Saint-Martin. The building was designed by the Belgian architect Victor Horta, who was known for his progressive approach to Art Nouveau. The commission for this was obtained from the art lover Henri van Cutsem. The opening of the Museum of Fine Arts took place in 1928. Since then, it has received many visitors who see works by Vincent van Gogh, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Peter Paul Rubens and Édouard Manet, among others.

#9. Saint Jacques church
As part of the pilgrimages to Saint James of Compostela, the Saint Jacques church in Tournai has received many guests. The oldest parts of the church date from the thirteenth century. Every year in September, the procession for the deliverance from the plague is celebrated in this church. Various architectural styles can be discovered in the building. You can see both Romanesque and Gothic influences in it.

#10. Porcelain
Museum The porcelain museum was created thanks to the passion of Raoul Warocqué, son of MP Arthur Warocqué and one of the richest persons in Belgium. The museum was opened in 1922 and now has an impressive collection of porcelain and ceramics. A walk through this museum gives you an excellent idea of ​​the different episodes in history that played a role in the decoration and technique.

Tournai, Belgium

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