- FRANCE AND BELGIUM -

GHENT Part 1

LINKS to pages in the France and Belgium site and to the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

     1 : Lille
     2 : Ghent
     3 : Ypres
     4 : Bruges

HOME PAGE : France and Belgium

HOME PAGE : Colin Day's Links

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We travel by coach from Lille to GHENT, a city with a population of a quarter of a million. Its size and position allow the inhabitants to enjoy a city with an interesting crossover between open cosmopolitanism and the quiet atmosphere of a provincial town.

"Ghent is thriving as many young people choose to live here instead of in the countryside or the crowded and disintegrating city centers of Brussels and Antwerp.

"Ghent is a city of history. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe, in some quarters considered second only to Paris (the Italian peninsula excluded). The impact of this rich past can be clearly seen when viewing the imposing architecture of churches and the houses of rich traders.

"The whole of the city centre is restored in this fashion, and still breathes the atmosphere of a thriving late-medieval city state. As the city council made the centre free of cars, it is now a very welcoming and open area, which does not fail to impress even the people who live there."

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"Ghent is also a university city with more than 50,000 students. As such, its streets are filled with young people. But, unlike Leuven, another university town in Flanders, youth is not the only category of people living there. There is an interesting mixture of foreigners who came to live there, or artists, amongst the native people of Ghent.

"Interestingly, other than the smaller provincial cities or the bigger city of Antwerp, this mixture makes the people more tolerant and open-minded.

"This atmosphere seeps into every aspect of city life. Many people of Ghent truly see the place like home, and are very proud to live there, seeing it as a place that will always welcome them back home."

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     A chocolatier (above).....

     ...... replenishes his stock (right).

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The Old Meat Market (left).

Situated on the west side of the market is the long Groot Vleeshuis, a medieval covered meat market with a guild house, chapel and numerous gables in the roof.

The building originated in 1406-1410 and was restored in 1912.

At the south end of the Vleeshuis is the "Penshuizeken" (Entrails cottage) where the poor were given the entrails of slaughtered animals.

More modern day refreshments may now be obtained there (below) !!

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