Liège

Heading of 2017

In Liege, in terms of projects, all eyes are set on November 22, 2012, when Simenon’s hometown willl know whether it is chosen to host the 2017 World Fair. Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is the only other contender. With a universal theme – Connect the world to link people -, Liege’s bid received from the start the support of all Belgian political forces. The population remained to be convinced and the task is still underway in every street and quarter.

World Fair or not, Liege is on the move. It is already assured of seeing the tramway back to ease its mobility and other projects are underway. Before 2013, the city will host a new skating rink in Médiacité, a new theatre on August 20 Square and a completely refurbished opera house. Next in line will be a new swimming pool, replacing the old, boulevard de la Sauvenière, which will be home to “The Mirror City” and to the organisation “Territories of memory”, who make sur the horrors of the past are not forgotten today.

Web sites

The site of Coronmeuse, bidding to host the 2017 World Fair - © Province de Liège
10 previous finishes
192,000 inhabitants
Head of the canton of the Province of Liege (Belgium)
Specialties
: Jupiler beer, peket (aperitif), Herve cheese, white pudding, Liege syrup, boulet a la Liegeoise.
Economy
: metallurgy, transport, new technologies.
AKA
: the Ardent city
Celebrities
: Jean Lambert Joseph Fyon (politician), Georges Simenon, Cesar Franck (composer), Justine Henin, Dardenne brothers (film-makers), Marie Gillain (actress).
Sport
: Standard (football). Liege Basket. Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Festivals
: Liege festival, Jazz in Liege, International Crime Film Festival, Les Ardentes (electro)

Timeline

  • Prehistory

    For major sites, Torre de Ceccia, castellu de Tappa, Tiuolaghju and the Torre site reveal that the city was the centre of the Torrean civilisation (3000 to 2000 B.C.).
  • 6750 BC

    Discovery in 1972 of the Bonifacio Lady, a prehistoric woman aged 35 at the time of her death.
  • 1539

    First Genoese occupation and building of a fortress. Several occupation phases follow one another. The citadel is abandoned in 1600.
  • Late 18th century

    The end of the war of independence allows Porto-Vecchio to grow again in spite of the opposition of Bonifacio. The town become a cantonal capital.
  • 1803

    Election of the first mayor from the Rocca Serra family, who will give nine other mayors to the city.
  • 1848

    National Road 198 is open to service.
  • 1850

    Start of the rehabilitation of the marshlands, a task that will take a century.
  • 1920

    The town keeps growing and reaches 4,000 inhabitants.
  • 1950

    The final rehabilitation of the marshlands turns Porto-Vecchio into a tourist destination. Porto-Vecchio becomes Corsica’s third biggest city.
10 previous finishes
192,000 inhabitants
Head of the canton of the Province of Liege (Belgium)
Specialties
: Jupiler beer, peket (aperitif), Herve cheese, white pudding, Liege syrup, boulet a la Liegeoise.
Economy
: metallurgy, transport, new technologies.
AKA
: the Ardent city
Celebrities
: Jean Lambert Joseph Fyon (politician), Georges Simenon, Cesar Franck (composer), Justine Henin, Dardenne brothers (film-makers), Marie Gillain (actress).
Sport
: Standard (football). Liege Basket. Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Festivals
: Liege festival, Jazz in Liege, International Crime Film Festival, Les Ardentes (electro)

Web sites

Liege and cycling

The Province of Liege boasts an international experience that no other region in the world can lay claim to: it is the only community that has hosted three major Tours. It has frequently been visited by the Tour de France since 1948, with a stage win there that year for Gino Bartali, the future winner of the race. It also hosted the Official Start of the Giro d’Italia in 2006, at Seraing, as well as a stage of the Vuelta a España in 2009, at Liege.

Liege will be on a par with Brussels at the top of the list of foreign cities that have hosted the most Tour de France stage finishes (9). Among the first eight winners in Liege, seven have worn the Yellow Jersey during their career: Gino Bartali, Fritz Schaer, André Darrigade, Rik Van Looy, Henk Lubberding, Johann Bruyneel and Fabian Cancellara. Moreover, it was here that the promising Swiss champion, who had already excelled in the time-trial for young riders, revealed himself to the general public, by beating Lance Armstrong in the prologue in 2004. That is how Cancellara spent his first day on the Tour de France.

In the history of cycling, Liege is above all the starting and finishing point of the oldest of the Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. During the Tour, the stage starts which have taken place there have led the riders to Lille or Roubaix for the most part. The last time, in 2004, the peloton travelled to Charleroi where Jaan Kirsipuu won his fourth stage of the Tour. In 1948, another stage set off from Liege, the day after Bartali’s victory: on that day, France’s Bernard Gauthier won the stage ahead of a certain… Jaan Kirsipuu, the namesake of the former rider from the AG2R team and an Estonian like him.

Philippe Gilbert, the local hero, won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2011
10 previous finishes
192,000 inhabitants
Head of the canton of the Province of Liege (Belgium)
Specialties
: Jupiler beer, peket (aperitif), Herve cheese, white pudding, Liege syrup, boulet a la Liegeoise.
Economy
: metallurgy, transport, new technologies.
AKA
: the Ardent city
Celebrities
: Jean Lambert Joseph Fyon (politician), Georges Simenon, Cesar Franck (composer), Justine Henin, Dardenne brothers (film-makers), Marie Gillain (actress).
Sport
: Standard (football). Liege Basket. Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Festivals
: Liege festival, Jazz in Liege, International Crime Film Festival, Les Ardentes (electro)

Web sites

Places to see

Prince-bishop Palace

The first bishopric palace was built by bishop Notger (972-1008) in the same time as the cathedral opposite. The half-timbered building was destroyed by fire in 1185 and rebuilt three years later. The buildings, flanked by four towers, spread around three courtyards; the south-eastern side was in Romanesque style while two keeps protected the lot. In 1449, the Romanesque front was enriched by a Gothic staircase.

The palace later fell victim to the ups and downs of Liege History. It was ransacked in 1465 and 1488. A new fired destroyed it in 1505. It was rebuilt by Cardinal Erard de la Marck, close to king Louis XII, between 1526 and 1536. The restoration was inspired by the plans drawn by Leonardo da Vinci for Francis I’s Romorantin castle. Three courtyards were lined by galleries forming an uninterrupted peristyle. Erard de la Marck’s work will be pursued by his successors, especially Gerard de Groesbeek and Ernest of Bavaria. Fire destroyed the south wing in 1734. The front was then rebuilt in classical style, while the pediment was adorned with the armouries of the prince-bishop of the time. Most of the current inside decoration dates from that period.

During the Liege Revolution in 1793, the cathedral was destroyed and the palace ruined. A major restoration campaign was launched in 1849, favouring the Gothic elements of the complex. A neo-Gothic wing was erected to host the Provincial Palace. The whole palace is now a World Heritage site. 

Town hall and Perron

The Liege City Hall, of classical style and period, was recently restored and repainted in its original red colours. It still remains called La Violette (Violet) because a store nearby used to bear that name in the 14th century.  The Perron on the nearby Place du Marché was once the symbol of justice in the Prince-Bishopric and is now the symbol of the city. It symbolised the attachment of the Liege people to their freedom. From the perron were proclaimed the new and the acts of the province. The original monument was adorned through the years by several additions. A cross, a pine symbolising eternity, the three Graces, lions and a fountain are now part of the Perron.

Liege-Guillemins railway station

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls was selected in 1996 to carry out the project of a new TGV railway station in Liege-Guillemins. He was chosen for his experience in the conception of three other important railway stations: Zurich Stadelhofen station, Lyon St Exupery station and the Orient station in Lisbon, built for the 1998 World Fair.

The monumental vault of glass and steel makes the Guillemins station one of the most spectacular in Europe. Calatrava made the best the natural light generated by the structure to give the new building the aspect of a modern cathedral. The project also involved a rethinking of the whole Guillemins area linking the station surroundings by a gangway to the adjacent Boverie Park and Congress Hall on the Outremeuse Island.

The new station was inaugurated on September 18, 2009 by Prince Philippe.

Grand Curtius

Liege’s past shines anew since last March in the new Grand Curtius museum built on the banks of the Maas River. Liege owns one of the most beautiful archaeological collections in the world comprising arms, religious art and paintings.  

The palace of the Princes-Bishops - © Province de LiègeLiege-Guillemins railway station - © Province de LiègeGrand Curtius - © Province de Liège
10 previous finishes
192,000 inhabitants
Head of the canton of the Province of Liege (Belgium)
Specialties
: Jupiler beer, peket (aperitif), Herve cheese, white pudding, Liege syrup, boulet a la Liegeoise.
Economy
: metallurgy, transport, new technologies.
AKA
: the Ardent city
Celebrities
: Jean Lambert Joseph Fyon (politician), Georges Simenon, Cesar Franck (composer), Justine Henin, Dardenne brothers (film-makers), Marie Gillain (actress).
Sport
: Standard (football). Liege Basket. Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Festivals
: Liege festival, Jazz in Liege, International Crime Film Festival, Les Ardentes (electro)

Web sites

Simenon and Liege

Liege’s most famous son was born in 1903 but left his hometown at the age of 19 to conquer Paris. And it is in the French capital that will take place the adventures of his most celebrated character, Maigret. However, Simenon’s native city deeply inspired his works and Liege later repeatedly paid homage to his genius.

A humoristic columnist for the Gazette de Liege under the nickname of Georges Sim, Simenon published his first novel, Au pont des Arches in 1920 and its subtitle (humoristic novel on the Liege ways) makes it clear it deals about the city. After his departure for France in 1922, Liege would inspire several other books, among which Pedigree, an autobiographical work seen as the greatest novel ever written about Liege. Three other novels, Maigret and the 100 gibbets, Maigret at the Gai Moulin and Les trois crimes de mes amis are based at least partly in Liege. Specialists also stress that Simenon often changed the topography of towns in his books to describe the setting of his own birthplace.

In 1977, the novelist donated his literary archives to the Liege University where professor Maurice Piron created a Georges Simenon Studies Centre.

In 2005, Simenon was nominated in a shortlist of celebrities to be awarded the title of Belg der Belgen (the most Belgian of Belgians). He finished 10th in French speaking Belgium and only 77th in the Flemish speaking part of the country.

The spirit of Liege

Everyone coming to Liege is struck by the unique spirit giving Liege such a special flavour. A mixture of outspokenness, rebellion, a widely accepted cultural variety and, above all else, a generosity that leads visitors to think that Liege people  are open-handed and strong-headed. It is not by chance that the city’s official slogan is “A town, a spirit”. More than a mention it is a way of life. And a way of sharing.

Georges Simenon in 1963 - © ErlingMandelmann.chGeorges Simenon created the character of commissaire Maigret - © Province de Liège
10 previous finishes
192,000 inhabitants
Head of the canton of the Province of Liege (Belgium)
Specialties
: Jupiler beer, peket (aperitif), Herve cheese, white pudding, Liege syrup, boulet a la Liegeoise.
Economy
: metallurgy, transport, new technologies.
AKA
: the Ardent city
Celebrities
: Jean Lambert Joseph Fyon (politician), Georges Simenon, Cesar Franck (composer), Justine Henin, Dardenne brothers (film-makers), Marie Gillain (actress).
Sport
: Standard (football). Liege Basket. Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Festivals
: Liege festival, Jazz in Liege, International Crime Film Festival, Les Ardentes (electro)

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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