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Belgium’s third largest city, Charleroi, sits at the gateway to the Ardennes and is located only 30 miles south of Brussels. This cosmopolitan city attracts hordes of tourists each year with its museums, pleasant squares, parks and shopping malls.
The Museum of Fine Art, located in the town hall, has expansive collections of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The photography museum, which often has thematic exhibitions, is housed in the neo-Gothic Carmelite Monastery in Mont-Sur-Marchienne.
Exploring Charleroi, you’ll find an abundance of interesting sights. On rue de Dampremy you’ll find houses dating from 1694 and 1731. The remains of the old fortress, the Escalier des Rames, are a bit further down on the right. In place Buisset (Buisset Square) there are a collection of noteworthy statues.
Charleroi, a pedestrian friendly city, is filled with restaurants and pleasant street side cafes. Try rue de la Montagne or the rue de Dampremy for a taste of the city’s cuisine. The Social Leisure Centre of Marcinelle, on avenue des Muguets, offers sports facilities, a swimming pool and occasionally hosts events and festivals.
Take a tour away from the city and and visit Waterloo, Napoleon’s last battlefield, 30kms to the North of Charleroi. There is a well-presented visitors center there, covering the battle.
Charleroi is easily accessible by road; it’s only half an hour’s drive on the E 19 from the airport via Brussels. Brussels Airport is in Zaventem. There are train links from all big European cities to Charleroi; by road you can take the E 42, which is linked to the Euro tunnel.