The first signs of people in Mons date back to the Neolithic period, but wasn’t made a town until the 12th century. Though in its early days, it was a mining town, it has changed dramatically. Since that time, this city near the French border has also grown, though still not the size of Brussels.
We had a few hours one afternoon while visiting a nearby village and decided to go into Mons and see what was there. Our first views were typical of many towns or cities in Northern Europe until we turned a corner to find a sculpture shadowing the road. On rue de Nimy, an enormous arrangements of sticks was designed by artist Arne Quinze. You drive through on the street below.
We found parking on a side street. When we paid, we thought we put in money for 3 hours, but it turned out that we covered our parking until the next morning. After shrugging it off and putting the ticket in our window, we walked until we happened upon a church. I always love to look around the churches here, so we stepped inside.
Sainte Elisabeth has had several churches since people first began worshipping there, but the latest Baroque structure was built in the 18th century. It was a lovely church and definitely worth the walk through with the 16th, 17th, and 18th century artwork inside as well as the architecture.
When we departed Sainte Elisabeth, we continued down rue de Nimy until we reached Grand Place. Most towns in this region have a Grand Place as it was their market centre and most still remain with quaint restaurants with outdoor tables and great architecture. In this case, it was no different.
We continued on until we hit the end of the pedestrian only roads and then doubled back. My son was aching for a waffle, so we stopped at a small stand to indulge his whim. They aren’t quite the same as in Brussels, where they are a waffle smothered in fruit, whipped cream, chocolate, and all other forms of the decadent, but a simple glazed sort of waffle you held in a piece of paper and if you wished, they shoved long strips of chocolate into the thicker parts.
We couldn’t resist but to duck into a store with the sign Fromagerie. If you don’t like the smell of aged cheese, you won’t care for the smell of this store. They had an amazing selection, though, and we ended up buying some beer cheese for my husband and apple cheese for the rest of us that I apparently ate way too much of, much to the dismay of my daughter.
Of course, we couldn’t have cheese without bread and a bakery next door had baguettes as well as an amazing seeded gluten free loaf I couldn’t resist trying. We stopped at a local grocery store for some more gluten free goodies and a bottle of wine (to go with the cheese and bread of course!!!) before heading back to the quaint farmhouse where we were staying.
Because we overpaid for parking, we passed on our parking voucher to someone else, who was incredibly grateful 🙂
I wish I could say that I practiced more of my French, but the minute I spoke in most places, they reverted straight to English whether I spoke in French or not. 😦
Next stop… Bruges