The quiet delights of Dinant

The quiet delights of Dinant

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-05-31 12:55 When the bicentenary of Adolphe Sax was celebrated throughout the world in 2014, the attention of the music lovers was directed to the quaint little town of Dinant in Belgium, the birthplace of the inventor of saxophone. Indeed, Belgians celebrated the event throughout 2014 and on November 6th, his birthday, with the pissing mannekin at Brussels was shown holding a saxophone and google marked the day in memory of the great inventor. Located on the river Muese, Dinant is in the French speaking province of Namur in Belgium and is only 100 kms away from Brussels. On being told about the beauty of Dinant, I decided on an impulse to visit Dinant. The train journey from the Midi Train Station in Brussels to Dinant took me only 90 minutes, and as I came out I could see the blue Muese river. On being told that Sax’s museum is located across the river, I walked over to the bridge to cross. The first thing that struck me was the colourful saxophone statues all along the footpaths of the bridge. On crossing the river, I noticed a lovely church with onion shaped dome. Built in Gothic style in 10th century, the Notre Dame church was renovated thrice in 13th, 15th and 16th centuries. Dinant bridge on Muese river  Notre Dame Church and Port On noticing a cable car and stairs leading to a hillock behind the church, I climbed 400 steps to see the fortress called the citadel of Dinant. Built in the 12thcentury to control the Muese valley, this fort saw many wars and hence was destroyed and rebuilt many times.  The fortress has now been converted into a Military Museum and houses many armaments of the past. My guide told me that on 15th August 1914, German army laid siege to Dinant and in the war between the French and the Germans 674 persons died and several injured.  One of the injured was a young army man called Charles de Gaulle who later became the French President.  The view of the river and the town below from the citadel is breathtaking. House of Sax On climbing down, I entered the main street of Dinant and after walking a few steps was in front of the house of Adolphe Sax, which is now a museum. Sax created the famous musical instrument in 1846. Later, he migrated to Paris and died there.  A statue of Sax sitting on a bench can be seen outside his house, with most visitors sitting there to take pictures. I too followed suit. Another place of interest in Dinant is a huge rocky formation called Rocher Bayard, a large cleft rock formation that was said to have been split by Bayard's mighty hooves. Bayard is a legendary horse which carried the four sons of Aymon. On its journey it is said to have stepped on this rock resulting in the rock developing a crack. Some people say that the rock developed a crack in 1698 due to an explosion nearby. Whatever maybe the truth, this rock attracts thousands of visitors each year. Another notable place in Dinant is the Leffe abbey. Founded in 1152, the missionaries of this monastery established a brewery in this abbey in 1240 and started making a golden coloured beer and called it Leffe. Over the centuries this beer became wildly popular and today Leffe is a premium brand in Belgium.  The abbey is now a beer museum and a visit there can be invigorating. The town is also famous for a biscuit called “couques de Dinant’. Its honey flavour makes it distinct. Dinant is a quiet, quaint little town and one can just enjoy its beauty. Boating is available on the river Muese and one can travel five kilometres to see the confluence of the rivers Lesse and Muese. Dinant is ideal for a day trip from Brussels. Author: Dr.Guruprasad is presently the Chief Executive of the Gokula Education Foundation (Medical) which works in the field of education and health care.