Here is the walk we suggest surrounding the history of the hiking trail.
Our starting point is Guillemins station. Why start at a train station? Because we discover beautiful walks from station to station, combined with tourists coming from far away by train for a nature getaway in Liège.
The station has undergone numerous transformations to become this monument by the Spanish architect Calatrava.
When leaving the station, we head towards the Meuse river, along the Belle Liègeoise, a footbridge linking Guillemins to La Boverie park.
We pass the Tour Des Finances and the evolving new district.
It is a historic walk because we talk about the birth of the hiking trails in Belgium, and of Vieux Liège, created in 1894, by Charles Comhaire...
Social tourism like Amis de la Nature (friends of nature), whose Liège section is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2022.
We follow La Boverie park, the creation of which dates back to the Liège World Fair in 1905 as does the construction of Fétinne bridge and the renovation of Fragnée bridge.
We are at the monument to Zénobe Gramme, the inventor of the dynamo.
This place is historic for all hiking historians and lovers of heritage within the broadest sense of the term: the paths and trails of yesteryear.
It is here that Charles Comhaire and the volunteers from Vieux Liège started the hiking trails through the principality of Liège.
Three walks departed from here to go to Namur and Dinant and the longer walk to Luxembourg and Germany. The project ended with the First World War.
Charles Comhaire already embodied the spirit of today’s hikers with the hiking trails.
Our route may take us via Quai des Ardennes or Quai de Condroz to Belle Ile.
We can stop here for a drink and to use the toilets.
There is also the option of continuing along the Ourthe RAVeL hiking trail towards the Chênée lock and returning via the old Ourthe canal towards the footbridge behind Belle Ile.
A walker can easily reach the old canal.
We are in Angleur.
A place of remembrance for the pioneers of social tourism such as Arthur Haulot who was a Young Socialist, a journalist in Wallonia, director of the annual holiday office, member of the cabinet at the Ministry of Communications and then created the government tourism advisory service before 1940.
We mustn’t forget the role and action of the Amis de la Nature, created in Vienna in 1895 to bring workers out of everyday life: work, work and sleep.
Berg Frei is the slogan of the AN, meaning Free Mountains.
An entire programme....
Angleur is well known for its Ourthe canal connecting the Meuse to the Rhine.
This project took place in two parts, firstly from the time when Belgium was Dutch under William of Orange, then the Belgian revolution happened and Belgians resumed the project, but the arrival of the railway stopped the project due to the competition.
Angleur, known for its châteaux such as that of Nagelmakers and Kinkempois, which became Château Péralta with its magnificent Théâtre de Verdure where the first tourist trail was created in 1936, going up the hill towards Sart Tilman with the first viewpoint over the hills between the Ourthe and the Meuse.
A few years later, Liège locals created the first long-distance hiking trail leaving from Angleur through the Belgian Ardennes stopping at the Amis de la Nature establishments, youth hostels, etc.
Our walk takes us along the old Ourthe canal passing the Rivage en Pôt lock and taking us towards the Meuse.
There are numerous information boards telling us about this little-known history.
How calm it is here, yet so close to civilisation.
Follow the Val Benoit railway viaduct to return to the left bank of the Meuse.
We head towards Cointe taking the street passing over the railway.
We come to a street rising towards Cointe.
We take rue des Cailloux, a road passing through a pretty wood with a preserved environment. Such silence.
During part of the year, we can smell the wild garlic.
Rue des Cailloux and why is it linked to the history of hiking?
The answer is simple: the founding brothers of long-distance hiking trails are the Cailloux brothers. A name predestined for today’s hiking.
We come to the Inter-Allied Memorial in Cointe which you can visit and enjoy a magnificent view over the Liège region.
We can visit the inside of the memorial as a group and enjoy the amazing 360-degree view from the top of the tower.
We can choose to head straight back to Guillemins station via rue Saint Maur.
Or extend the walk to Place du Batty de Cointe and the magnificent Cointe park with its observation post created in the 1910s by the Belgium touring club.
The history of Cointe park also dates back to the 1905 World Fair.
We head back to Guillemins station.
The walk can be adapted to the visitor’s preferences.
At the footbridge and at Fragnée bridge, we can take the river shuttle to discover the city of Liège.
Final word from the greeter:
We hope you have enjoyed this unusual walk.
We can only advise you to discover the Liège guides on foot; these guides have been prepared by Liège volunteers, the greeters.
We hope you enjoy your unique, historical walks discovering Liège.
This walk can be enjoyed by yourself without a guide or accompanied by a Liège greeter.
The site www.greetersliege.be will give you more practical details about the activities supervised by volunteers so you can visit the city of Liège and its region.
We also encourage you to take public transport to join us in the Fiery City.
Jean Pierre Englebert.