One of the great things about living in the Lille Métropole (Lille Metropolitan) is its great location. Lille is close to many lovely towns and cities, both big and small, with some located in Belgium, just a few kilometres away from the French border.

In this post, I’ll show you about how I did a day trip to the French-speaking Belgian City of Tournai, which is only a 45 minute train ride away from Lille’s Gare de Lille-Flandres, Lille’s main train station.

But, what to see in Tournai ? It’s much lesser known to an average foreigner compared to larger cities like Gent, Brugges, or Brussels.

Well, I’m glad you asked.

What to see in Tournai?

Let’s start by the time I got off from the train at Gare de Tournai.

At the time of this writing, which was on a cloudy day in Spring, there were plenty of construction works around the train station of Tournai.

The main train station in Tournai. There were plenty of renovation works around it.

As soon as I exited the Gare de Tournai train station, I saw two parks near it. First, the Parc Crombez (opposite of the train station) and the Parc Henri VIII.

Parc Henri VIII in Tournai, Belgium.

I always prefer to explore a new city on foot when doing a day trip. So, it was a pleasant experience to do the same along Tournai’s Rue Royale as I headed to the city centre. The further down I went, the more prominent Tournai’s most remarkable building appeared.

Tournai’s streets were very clean.
The 5 towers of Tournai’s town church are what the city have become to be known for.

Further down the Rue Royale, a river canal called Scheldt came into view. Both sides of this canal were well-paved. Obviously, I could easily imagine myself doing my runs or cycling along the banks of this river if I were to live in Tournai.

Tournai’s river canal called Scheldt divides the town into two parts.
Tourist in Tournai.
Clean and quiet. It must be so nice to have a walk here especially when the weather is better.

Shortly after crossing the bridge, the view of Tournai’s most popular building finally appeared: the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Tournai. This church looked incredibly huge in person.

The Cathedrale Notre Dame de Tournai looks so huge in person. This church is what Tournai is historically known for.
The Cathedrale Notre Dame de Tournai in vidéo.
This statue stands behind the large cathedral.
I can’t emphasize enough how big the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Tournai is.
The area near the cathedral and the belfry offers shopping options.
The door of the belfry Beffroi de Tournai.

After walking past the Beffroi de Tournai (Tournai’s belfry), the road forked into multiple directions. One of them leads directly to Tournai’s large town square.

The city centre of Tournai. This large town square is laced with many restaurants with outdoor tables, cafés, shops, and even a casino.
The belfry in Tournai stands at the corner of the grand square.
I can imagine how lively this square must be during days with sunshine.

I had my lunch in one of the fast food restaurants in the town square which sells French tacos. I chose it because there were power outlets available. Super important for travellers like me who needs to constantly charge their mobile phones.

Houses and buildings with the typical Flemish architecture surrounds the town square. The belfry and the church are visible from the town square.

After doing a pleasant tour around the town square to check out the shops, I walked down towards Rue de la Wallonie which took me back to the river canal Scheldt.

The avenue down Rue de la Wallonie near the river canal was impeccably clean and offers plenty of space for both pedestrians and cyclists.
I find Tournai to be a cute Belgian town.
Like many other European town, Tournai is dotted with so many churches.
Video: Tournai’s Scheldt river canal.
And back to Tournai’s river canal Scheldt.
Some of the pedestrian bridges were noticeably elevated.
The Flemish houses lining up along the streets of Tournai were notably larger and more spacious than those in Lille’s city centre.

What do you think about Tournai, Belgium?

Would you visited there? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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