Leaving Dinant and going north, towards Namur we have two options: To catch the western or the eastern Meuze coastal road. There is also the theoretical option of the A4 motorway, but I don´t suggest it. Actually I hate motorways, I think that motorways are only for truck drivers and people who are in a hurry and not for travellers. But this is another discussion.
Well, I decided to follow the western road and make a deviation at Yvoir. So, we drink a cup of hot Belgian coffee and we eat a freshly baked croissant (I adore “les escargots” with raisins) and we follow the signs to Anhée, which is just 6 km away. Passing Anhée, we turn left following the signs for le Château de Bioul. Don´t worry, in 10 min we will be there.
The Bioul castle is a 16th century structure in a vineyard which also offers accommodation and eating facilities during spring and summer. You can visit the castle, wander at its marvellous gardens, eat at its prime class restaurant, have a pic-nic with local delicacies you can find there and, of course, buy the Château’s wines at very reasonable prices.
Don´t miss Bioul castle and, above all, do not underestimate Belgian wines, they may not be as famous as the French ones, but they are at least decent (especially the white and the sparkling ones).
If you haven’t drunk a lot of wine, continue the route to Yvoir, otherwise stay there for some hours, drink a double black coffee and delay your departure from the castle. Belgian police is strict and the alcohol tests are very frequent, even during day time.
Yvoir is a small medieval town built on the right (eastern) coast of the Meuze river, at its crossing with a smaller (and more beautiful) river, the Bocq. Leave your car outside the town and have a splendid walk on its streets.
Drink a beer at “La Brasserie du Bocq” an almost 200 years old brewery, where the famous Blanche de Namur is made. During summer you can also visit a small island (l´ île d´ Yvoir) situated on the Meuse river and have a really good time.
The next stop towards Namur is Wépion. Wépion is, maybe, the most beautiful of all municipalities found on the banks of the river Meuse and the place of the Strawberry Museum.
Don´t overpass this museum, it is found right on your way to Namur and there you can find everything about strawberries. But the most serious mistake you can make is not to try Wépion’s strawberries, the absolutely best in Belgium – you will find them at many kiosks on the river side. Wépion strawberries are enormous, very hearty but also tasty and aromatic.
If you don´t wanna overnight in Namur (just 6 kms away), I can suggest a small hotel at Wépion at the same building with the Corean Grill restaurant (Chaussée de Dinant 924). The hotel offers quite cheap rooms with fantastic views at the river Meuse. We have stayed there for 3 nights. It was splendid.
Namur is Wallonia’s capital, a very beautiful city with a famous fortified castle “La cittadelle”, built by the famous engineer Vauban. La Citadelle is found at the highest point of the city, offering a unique view of it and of the whole Meuse valley. It is a must for every Namur visitor. There you can visit apart from the castle, the underground galleries and a small museum. You can also catch the tourist train or eat something special at a restaurant or a self-service of local products or a brasserie, all found inside La Citadelle.
If you love arts I would suggest that you visit the Musée Félicien Rops, where you can find the works of Rops, a Namur native painter and sculpture. If you don´t like classical painting and you are a more modern type, I would propose a visit to the Computer museum, where you will meet the PC evolution from the typewriter till today´s extremely fast and complicated machines.
In any case, walk on Namur´s beautiful streets, visit its famous breweries and brasseries, pass at the other side of the river and visit Gambes, the newest part of the city.
You will love Namur, I am sure.
(to be continued)