A Day of Cultural Exploration in Mons

Fulbrighters get a tour of this historical center of the city of Mons
Fulbrighters on a tour of the historical center of the city of Mons

On Saturday, October 24th, current Fulbright grantees and alumni had the wonderful opportunity to explore the historic city of Mons, located in the western part of Belgium’s Walloon region. The occasion? Mons was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2015 – and numerous posters, ads, and banners around the city celebrate this fact! One of the most notable aspects about Mons is the city’s full embrace of artwork, which can be found in every corner of the place.

In celebration of the city’s title as European Capital of Culture, two Belgian artists collaborated on a project entitled “La Phrase,” which displays over ten kilometers of literary quotes all around the center city.
In celebration of the city’s title as European Capital of Culture, two Belgian artists collaborated on a project entitled “La Phrase,” which displays over ten kilometers of literary quotes all around the center city.
Traditional lunch with Fulbright alumni and current American grantees at Chez Henri
Traditional lunch with Fulbright alumni and current American grantees at Chez Henri

The Fulbrighters started the day off with a traditional Montois lunch, followed by a visit to Musée du Doudou. The Museum was an in-depth exploration of the Doudou festival, a week-long Montois tradition. Perhaps the most exciting event is the Lumeçon fight, which recreates the battle between Saint George and a dragon. Each year, the spectacle is held in the central square of Mons and features a choreographed fight and yes, a real life (model) dragon!

The entrance to the interactive museum, and the dragon’s tail.
The entrance to the interactive museum, and the dragon’s tail.

 

After our museum visit, the group had the opportunity to end the day with a walking tour of Mons, where we hit the city’s most beautiful and celebrated spots. Highlights include the city’s Grand’Place, the gatehouse monkey (who supposedly brings good luck if rubbed on the head with the left hand), and the picturesque belfry of Mons, which sits upon a hill with a scenic view of the city. Overall, our visit to Mons was beautiful, and the city definitely offers a variety of sights!

The belfry of Mons with some of the autumnal scenery in the background.
The belfry of Mons with some of the autumnal scenery in the background.

– Marisa Benitez, English Teaching Assistant in Namur, 2015-16

Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Marisa Benitez petting "le singe" (the monkey" for good luck!
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Marisa Benitez petting “le singe” (the monkey) for good luck!

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