Midi and Geel, Belgium!

Got you! the title is a bit odd even for my creative ungenius but is all I could come up with! As I brag so much about my road warrior pasttime all over Europe, many times I have to encounter folks who think that weird I do not take public transport in France. Well ,if you live in Europe you know that cannot be true.

I have done many many train rides (grand voyager frequent traveler lol! )all over not to mention riding on tramways, buses, metros, and taxis to know and be able to speak about transportation. Of course,not to forget my educational background is aviation ::)

So this is as good an opportunity to tell you about one train trip took several times to our neighboring Belgium. The title should be longer as I started the journey always at Gare du Nord in Paris but have written before on it so will spare you the sermon lol! However, from Paris Nord took Thalys to Midi train station in Brussels and there rented my Avis car rental to reach Geel just outside Anvers or Antwerpen. The places are very familiar by now…. Let me tell you a bit on the trips, briefly!

The train; the Brussels Capital-Region has three main train stations: Brussels-South (Sud), Central (Midi) and North (Nord).  I have walked by the others, but the one used has been always Midi. From Paris Nord station (Gare du Nord) you can take off on the Thalys to Brussels Midi . At Brussels-Midi, the main station of the Brussels agglomeration, Thalys high-speed trains take you comfortably and quickly back to Paris with 23 daily Thalys trains ensuring the connection in just 1h22 without intermediate stops.


Brussels-Midi station, more commonly known as Gare du Midi, located on the territory of the Brussels municipality of Saint-Gilles. This station, which was a terminus when it was inaugurated in 1869, and the second station was inaugurated in 1949, and  covered with a yellow and smooth brick facing and is surmounted by a square clock tower became a station of passage from the junction Nord-Midi in 1952. The station has 22 lanes, including two dedicated exclusively to Eurostar trains. It is located at Avenue Fonsny 47B ,Brussels main entrance and back side is Place Victor Horta, 26 Saint-Gilles side and where I get my car rentals Avis!

Belgium train webpage in French on the Midi

Thalys train webpage in French on Paris Brussels

The different is here went by train an odyssey, first TGV Vannes-Paris Montparnasse, change to metro line 4 but was block, police intervention so needed to take alternative line 6 to Denfert-Rochereau then switch again to RER B to reach Gare Paris Nord; running not to miss my thalys to Brussels Midi train station. There had reserved an Avis rental car Citroen C3 to reach destination on the ring road of Brussels all with traffic jams to stand still!!! Went around on the E19 straight to Anvers, there took the ring road R2 to final destination. The return was not easier, rental car to Brussels Midi train station was fine, but the thalys was delayed 30 minutes !! by the time reach Paris Nord took line 4 alright this time to Paris Montparnasse, arrive late the train TGV was ready to leave, spoked my way to train folks until finally called me back and allow me into the train, reach Vannes, no taxis, tourist had taken them all, needed to wait 15 minutes to have one arrive and finally reach home! Never again by train here!

Geel is a Dutch-speaking city of Belgium located in the Flemish Region in the Province of Antwerp. The central point is the pleasant market (markt)  square, facing the Saint-Amand  Church. With its attractive terraces and easy parking . The oldest part of the city hall dates from the 17C. Not far away, the Sint-Dipna Church marks the place where the saint was buried.

A bit of history on Geel, briefly !

In 1795, the Duchy of Brabant was dissolved and Geel made part of the French department of Deux-Neuves, the precursor of the present province of Antwerp. Geel actively participated in the Belgian Revolution of 1830, resulting in the award of an honorary flag from King Leopold II.  A major occurrence in the history of Geel is the battle of Geel (also referred to as the “Gheel bridghead”) in September 1944, one of the heaviest and bloodiest fights during the liberation of Belgium. Eventually the territory of Geel, and the smaller villages around it, were finally liberated on September 23 1944.

One big event taking place here is the Reggae Festival. The Reggae Festival, one of the larger reggae festivals in Europe, takes place usually early in August just outside the city center. More info in English here:  http://www.reggaegeel.com/en

One nice monument I always like to have my beer looking at it is the Church of St Amand.

The Sint-Amandskerk or St Amand  is the oldest parish church in Geel. It is located near the Markt square in the center of the city.  It is a late Gothic church that was built from 1489-1532. The predecessor burned down in 1489. This was built in Brabant white sandstone. The rebuilding of the church took place in 1490 in brick. A few parts of the sandstone structure remained. The tower has a substructure from around 1400, partly also from 1489, and was raised to 59 meters in the mid-16C. In 1567 most of the works of art in the church were destroyed by the iconoclasm. Only images of Saints Dimpna and Gerebernus were spared, as well as two paintings, including an Adoration of the Three Kings.  The interior of the church, as it is revealed today, dates from the Baroque. It concerns the paneling of the side aisles and the confessionals. In addition, the choir stalls from the end of the 17C, a pulpit from around 1715 , the high altar from 1748. Furthermore, on the pillars the statues of the Apostles and the marble choir enclosure from 1693.  The stained glass windows can be seen in the south facade.

Tourist office of Geel on the Church in Flemish


The market square,(Markt)  facing the St-Amands Church and bordered by attractive café terraces, is the focal point of the city  Stroll through the shopping streets Nieuwstraat, Pas and Stationsstraat and end your shopping with a relaxing terrace on our traffic-free market!  The annual fair takes place from 22 to 26 June. The autumn door is on 2 October and during the weekends of 10, 11, 17 and 18 December you can come for Christmas shopping.  An overview of all stores and events can be found here: https://www.geelcentrum.be/winkelen-in-geel/

One excellent hotel to stay here and walking just around from the main square with excellent personal service is the Hotel Verlooy.

Hotel Verlooy , at Pas 117,(street address) Geel  . The 12 rooms are luxuriously furnished with comfortable beds, unique light design and spacious bathrooms. Oak parquet floors and the use of natural materials create a comfortable space for body and soul.The rooms take their name from the world of pastry with a nod to the neighboring bakery-pastry Verlooy, renowned in the region. Your morning starts in the best possible way with a crisp breakfast in the veranda, overlooking our winter garden. Possibility to rent bicycles and e-bikes only with prior reservation. Parking, WiFi and minibar in the room are free. Hotel Verlooy is a comfortable base just 200 meters from the main Market (Markt) Square.

Hotel Verlooy webpage


I ate at the market square Het Podium and the Irish pub there with a nice Guinness.

And the overall tourist webpage for Geel is here: Tourist office of Geel in Flemish

There you go a nice train ride which as said can be taken all the way to Anvers but much better the ride from Midi into the side roads of Anvers to reach wonderful picturesque Geel. Hope you enjoy the ride.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Midi and Geel, Belgium!”

  1. Geel! Qu’est-ce qui vous a amené a Geel? 😮 😛


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