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Tournai Stopover

In May my wife and I are driving a rental car from Mont Saint Michel to Lille (turning the car in before we cross the Belgium border). From Lille we are headed to Bruges for a two-night stay with side trips to Ghent and possibly Antwerp - then on to Amsterdam.

We just heard good things about visiting Tournai just across the French/Belgian border from Lille. I'm interested in hearing any thoughts and experiences regarding a Tournai stopover (there's little or no information in any guide book that I have seen). Is it a worthwhile stop before we head to Bruges? How much time should we allocate? Should we stay overnight there? (We have time in our schedule before we are due at our Bruges hotel). Thanks for your any help and information you can give.

Posted by
11294 posts

I saw Tournai as a daytrip from Brussels and enjoyed it very much. However, in 2002 I found almost no English there. If you don't have at least survival French, you may not have as good a time as I did.

Posted by
1928 posts

Tournai, or Doornik in Flemish is certainly worth a visit. I think a daytrip is enough for enjoying the place, so you don’t need to overnight there. The good thing about Tournai is that it doesn’t suffer from the building rage you can see in many other places in Belgium especially Flanders, so it has kept it’s character well. Train travel from Tournai to Bruges takes about 1½ hour with a change in Kortrijk (Courtrai), you can arrive there in the (early) evening and enjoy it quietness after the flood of daytrippers is gone.

Posted by
12040 posts

Tournai doesn't take long to see. A few hours at the most. It has very few "sites" open for touring, but rather, it's just a nice city to walk around. By far the most attractive town in Wallonia.