We drove from London to Belgium, crossing Essex, the southeast of England, a fair amount of France and then accidentally slipped over the border to Mons, Belgium.
As a reprobate island dweller (all the way from New Zealand to Grande Britannia) I still delight at how easy it is to slip between countries in Europe, so we took full advantage of this when spending a few days in France.
Wrapped from head to ankle in my cosy duvet coat, I traipsed around with my uncle, aunt and Mr Kiwi, exploring this lovely ancient town.
At the top of the hill that Mons crowns, lies the famous Belfry, one of the three UNESCO sites in this small but lovely town.
Victor Hugo wasn’t particularly impressed: “a huge coffeepot flanked by four smaller teapots,” wrote the giant of French literature to his wife, Adèle when he came to Mons in 1837.
The 87-metre high belfry has withstood wars and plagues over the centuries, without ever flinching.
Today it still marks the rhythm of life in Mons thanks to the chimes of its 49 bells.
Since being crowned the European City of Culture in 2015, Mons has put itself on the tourism map – and it was such a lovely way to spend an autumnal afternoon.
We were lucky to have lovely, crisp afternoon sunshine…
…and celebrated with a lovely crisp pint or two in the grande square.
The Canadian flags were hung with pride to commemorate World War I history – Canadian troops helped to defend the town from enemy forces.
We were intrigued by the modern art installations around the city…
…and the fact that one of the most famous citizens of Mons is a brass monkey.
And their ice cream sundaes are out of this world.
Have you ever found yourself accidentally in a town?
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