Travel and discover the major academic cities of French-speaking Belgium

A land of culture and diversity, Belgium is simply bursting with places to discover and cities to visit. Whether it is for their museums, gastronomy or simply their atmosphere, we have chosen five major academic cities for you in Belgium.

Travel in French-speaking Belgium

The capital of the Kingdom of Belgium and of Europe, Brussels is a foodie cosmopolitan city that lives in its own style. Sometimes rebellious and mischievous, sometimes thoughtful and composed, it has its very own style and is always very enjoyable. Despite its European dimension and the numerous languages spoken on all street corners, Brussels retains its “village” spirit.

If its Grand-Place, its Atomium, its Manneken-Pis, Gueuze and Kriek, its waffles and its unmistakeable pralines have earned it great fame, its inhabitants and visitors also love to take the time to immerse themselves in the absolutely unique atmosphere that exudes from its numerous districts. So take a stroll down Rue Dansaert, Halles Saint-Géry and place Sainte-Catherine, walk alongside Saint-Boniface, Châtelain or Flagey… Totally in vogue, Brussels is a capital city at ease with itself and with its past and present. Very fashionable. Very chic. Very creative. It is a city well worth discovering.

And much more besides. Hosting the headquarters of the European Union and those of NATO, Brussels is also an international financial hub where more than 2,000 multinational firms are based. Brussels has a high level scientific potential and flexible economic infrastructures that enable it to adjust to make the most of the major technological changes of the 21st century.

The economic capital of Wallonia, the city of Liège stretches out over a territory of approximately 70 km2 and numbers just under 200,000 inhabitants.

Its strategic position in Europe, its inland port (the 3rd largest of Europe), its high-speed train station and its airport (the 8th largest European freight airport) have helped this city develop its transport and logistics businesses. Apart from this strongly growing sector, Liège is also home to world famous businesses, like AB InBev, Mittal, Umicore, FN Herstal, Techspace Aero, EVS Broadcast, Amos or Eurogentec…

Considered as Wallonia’s leading tourist city, Liège is home to countless wonders. The Meuse River, which runs through the city from north to south, the steep wooded hills which surround it, as well as its own undulating landscape with its countless vantage points. And its traditional districts give it an astonishing appeal. Add to this a very heartfelt folklore maintained by a warm, welcoming population and you have buzzing districts, a large number of restaurants, an intense cultural and artistic life and a wealth of architectural heritage. All aspects that make Liège an unmistakeable city of French-speaking Belgium. 

Half the population of Louvain-la-Neuve is made up of students. This modern city, built in the image of old cities, offers a pedestrianised, green, accessible delight, on a human scale.

Its districts, which spread out in a cloverleaf formation from the town centre, feature sinuous streets leading from squares to courtyards, setting the tempo for walkers and providing spaces for encounters. This town “on stilts” also sets an example in sustainable development. Built in the middle of the countryside, it blends seamlessly into its environment.

Louvain-la-Neuve is a bustling town where the different cultures and styles mix in harmony. Over 125 nationalities rub shoulders at student and town events and activities.

Called the city with the big heart, Mons is ideally located in the south of Belgium, just a short distance from the French border on the Brussels-Paris route.

Mons has always welcomed numerous cultural events over the seasons, in the old heart of the city: folklore festivals, plays, cinema festivals and plenty more besides. And all these earned it the title of European Capital of Culture in 2015.

In 2009, Google decided to open its first data centre in Europe near the city of Mons, before then establishing a second one too, in 2013. In 2018, following new investments made of several million euros, a new solar installation and a 3rd data centre were installed. In 2019, Google then announced further investments of 600 million euros to build a 4th data centre on site. To date, in all, Google has invested 1.6 billion euros in the Mons site.

With its river, citadel and magnificent green oasis, Namur is charmingly peaceful. It is a city on a human scale where quality of life is everything: enjoy a stroll through town or along the banks of the Meuse and the Sambre, or take part in one of the many activities and events…

Like discovering new foods? Namur is renowned for its local produce and specialities, such as Wépion strawberries, Namur beers and wines, and snails! So treat yourself to a taste of Namur and the surrounding region!

A town of art and history, rich in culture and magnificent landscapes, Namur offers the opportunity to explore host of unexpected walks and adventures, sometimes off the beaten track, but always with an atmosphere of timeless charm.

Belgium: the ideal starting point for travelling around Europe

French-speaking Belgium is also ideal for giving your study stay a new twist, making it into a real adventure. London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Rome: most major European cities can be reached in around 2 hours by train or plane.