Bruges or Brugge in Belgium Flemish country!

I bring you north of me and France. The small country of Belgium hit me since first visiting in 1991, and with family close to the border France-Belgium it was an easy trip to the country. It’s a lot more than fries ,mussels and beers althought I can go there just for that ::)

A while back I wrote on the town of Brugge,  places to stay, eat, see, and anecdotes of my football/soccer times. I love history so will like to remind you of that post here, but also tells a bit more on the city this time.

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/1237

Well you know always your first stop or contact should be with the tourist office, here is Bruges in English:  https://www.visitbruges.be/discover

Bruges or Brugge is in the Flemish region of Belgium, principal city of the province of West Flandre. It has been call by many the Venice of the north, but you know how that goes… Bruges/Brugge is mentioned from the 9C as a stronghold of the Count of Flandre and by 1134 a huge wave open up breach to the sea call the Zwin, giving access to the sea and the developement of several canals, now making the city famous as before mention Venice of the north. This quasi natural breach of sea eventually by the 20C allows for the huge port of Bruges-Zeebruges. Now link with Bruges since 1907 by the Canal Baudouin,of 12 km long.

It is honor by Unesco World Heritage sites for 3 such as the historical center, the Beguine part of the Flemish Beguine and for its belltower as one of the Belgium and France. It has ,also an Unesco designation as a immaterial cultural heritage for its possession of the Holy Blood.

I have come here by car only, and the roads are good , easy on the park and relays parkings or in the hotels. The main roads here are the A10/E40,linking Gand to Brussels; A10 links with Ostende, the A18/E40, links Furnes with the French border; A17/E403, links Courtrai to Tournai;the national roads such as the N31/E403,links to the port of Zeebruges; and the N49/E34, links to Anvers/Antwerpen. We went from Versailles and took eventually the A1 autoroute into Roubaix then got on the A17 once crossing to Belgium; at exit 8 get on the road N31 to arrive by the train station area and link up with the beltway Buten Begijnenvest ,follow this to exit 4 Katelijnepoort, and it goes right into city center/Downtown, we parked at our hotel Novotel for free! Other than that you can use the parking relays such as Centrum-Station (railway station) and Centrum-’t Zand. Both are situated within walking distance of the Market square, but you can also use the bus transfer with ‘De Lijn’ between the parking Centrum-Station and the city centre (included in your parking fee for 4 passengers).

By train, not done, but it is link from France by the InterCity trains as well as other towns in Belgium and Lille. Of course there are connections with Brussels and other towns in Belgium. the train station also receive the Thalys Paris – Brussels – Ostende. More of that here: http://www.belgianrail.be/en/stations-and-train/search-a-station/13/brugge.aspx

The port of Bruges east-Zeebruges; its one of the most important in Europe. For the airport the closest one is at Ostend-Bruges at Ostend,about 25 km from city center Bruges. Many folks use the Brussels airport and then connect here by train. The Brugge airport here:  http://www.ostendbruges-airport.com/
The area local transport in Flamande ,the delijn can be schedule here:  https://www.delijn.be/en/?vertaling=true

A bit of history I like: On May 18 1302, during the festival of the Bruggian mornings the population revolts against the king of France Philippe le Bel and killed the supporters of the king, then take side with the Count of Flandre Gui de Dampierre and oldest son Robert prisonner of the king of France since 1300. Two months later the town takes part in the Flemish victory in the battle of des éperons d’or, against the king of France.

In the 15C the town is under the control of the dukes of Burgundy, by 1436 the militia of locals and Gantons returning from the sieges of Picardie in France, demand the independance of Bruges in the maritime port of L’Écluse. By May 1437 the locals revolt again against Duke Philippe III of Burgundy in a bloody revolt. The town of Bruges passed under Spanish domination and by the succession of the lower countries in 1584 the town reach its lowest point ; by 1600, Bruges is only a small provincial town.

By WWI ,Bruges was occupied by the Germans,but the city suffered virtually no damage and was liberated on 19 October 1918 by the allies. From 1940 in World War II the city again was occupied by the Nazis Germans and again spared destruction. On 12 September 1944 it was liberated by Canadian troops.

Some things to see I like are Grand Place; Place du Bourg; the palace of the dukes of Burgundy, and the Maison-Dieu from the 14C. The town has numerous museums and have been to a few; some of the ones I like are the Belfort or bell tower at a height of 83 meters and a structure of 47 bells. the gate of Gentpoort one of the four gates of the medieval town; the city hall (stadhuis) from 1376. The windmill of Koelewei from 1765 now near the gate of Damme since 1996; museum of arts and popular traditions housed in 8 maison dieu of the 17C; , Museum Groeninge; Flemish paintings from the 15C to our days; Palace of the franks de Bruges (Paleis van het Brugse Vrije) there were a council managing the region around the town and now houses the archives and in the renaissance room there is a monumental chimney of the 16C. And the Gruuthusemuseum is a museum of applied arts in Bruges, located in the medieval Gruuthuse, the house of Louis de Gruuthuse. The collection ranges from the 15-19C.

The town has huge number of religious buildings too numerous to mention but my favorites are the old abbey of Dunes , the monks of this abbey in the 17C came here and today there is a seminary on the quay de poteries with an undone façade. Basilica of the Holy Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed), a pilgrimage place from a long time, explain the procession of the Holy Blood. Monastery of the vineyard (béguinage de Bruges) founded by Marguerite of Constantinople, also countess of Flandre in 1245. The Benedictines were here since 1927. There is possible to visit a house of beguine, but we didn’t have time to do the house. Cathedral of Saint Salvador (Sint-Salvatorskathedraal); hospital of Saint-John of Bruges (Sint-Jans-Hospitaal) , an old hospital of the 12C located in the street Mariastraat, it is now of museums dedicated to the works of Hans Memling, including the famous shrine of Sainte Ursula, and the mythical marriage of Sainte Catherine. In the sick room there is showing the sick in a reconstitution and objects of arts and medicine showing the hospital life of the times. Notre-Dame de la Poterie Church (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Potterie) it was a hospital since the 13C and now a museum on its history. And the Jerusalem Church built in early 15C by descendants of Opice Adornes, a genovese shopper and one of the rare Churches in Belgium still in private hands run by the ASBL Adornes. And not to missed the procession of the HOly Blood dating from the middle ages that is held every year on Ascension day.

Some pictures I believe not in the first post but a couple badly taken with little light they are in the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

Brugge Brugge Brugge Brugge

There now the city of Bruges/Brugge is complete. Enjoy the north, the Venice of the North. Have a great Sunday y’all. Cheers!

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2 Comments to “Bruges or Brugge in Belgium Flemish country!”

  1. Bruges is very high up on my bucket list and hopefully will visit in the next couple of months. Everyone who’s been there loves it and I believe it is even better at night!. I can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

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