Charleroi Airport is 37 miles away from Brussels. The Airport Express bus will take you to Charleroi-South (Gare du Sud) train station. Trains leave the Brussels-Central station at 36 mins past the hour Mon to Fri, and 41 mins past the hour Sat and Sun- Eurostar trains between Brussels run around 10 times a day. The Inter City Train takes approx 50 minutes and second class single fares are only 6.80€ each. Most of the city is served by bus lines and the TEC light rail Metro system.
trains between Ebbsfleet International and Charleroi have average journey times of 1 hour, 41 minute; the route passes through Lille and Brussels. Highspeed rail is a popular form of transport when reaching Belgium, because its domestic rail network is so well-developed that visitors can reach any Belgian city via train. The best time to visit is in spring so the weather is not too hot.
Charleroi is the largest city and municipality of Wallonia, with a population of around half a million (inhabitants of the city are known as Carolos). It is located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium and was founded in 1666 by the Spanish as a fortress. It was named after Charles II of Spainat the site of a medieval village, following the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659). Charleroi was strategically important between the 17th – 19th centuries and was occupied by France, Spain, Austria, and Holland. The fortress was dismantled in the late 19th century but was still important- it was the scene of one of the first battles of World War I.
Charleroi was formerly the capital of the Black Country and one of the most prosperous basins of the Industrial Revolution, especially in the production of coal, steel and glass. It is now a commercial centre and rail junction in full urbanistic and environmental reconversion.
Points of Interest
Palais des Beaux Arts
The Palace of fine Arts is on the far side of the Place du Manège in the Avenue de l'Europe. It is a concert and theatre hall and home of the well-known Ballet Royal de Wallonie. The "Palais des Expositions" is also used for events, expositions, conferences.
Hôtel de Ville
The town hall is built in a neo-classicist style with internal art déco decorations, located at the most important square of upper town Charleroi, the Place Charles II. It dates back to 1936 and houses the Fine Arts Museum and the Destrée Museum. The tower is a UNESCO site, with a 70m/230ft-high belfry including a carillon of 47 bells.
The western suburb of Charleroi is crossed by two rivers making it a major industrial centre with a few attractions including the Chateau de Cartier, a swimming pool, a sports complex and the old ramparts.
Charleroi has a long tradition of military processions, a form of religious-turned-military festival where local societies and brotherhoods parade through the area to the music of brass bands and the noise of guns in brightly coloured uniforms. One of the most renowned is the Marche de la Madeleine, when 1,500 "infantry", 150 horsemen and 30 bands march 20km/12mile starting from Jumet.
Musée de la Photographie
This museum is in the former Carmelite convent, located in the south-western suburb of Mont-sur-Marchiennes. It displays the development of photography as well as exhibitons of cameras and photographs, both modern and old.
Musée d'Histoire, de Folklore et d'Archéologie Industrielle
The Museum of Local History and Industrial Archaeology is located in Place des Martyrs and depicts the history of industrial development in and around Charleroi.
The 18th century chateau with symmetrical French botanical gardens is framed by a lake and rocky hill.
The ruins of the Abbaye d'Aulne are approximately 12km/7.5mi west of Charleroi. The abbey was founded in the seventh century by St Landelin of Lobbes and taken over by the Cistercians in 1147. Although it was burnt down by French revolutionaries in 1794, the remains are nonetheless impressive including the Great Court and Prince-Bishops' reception hall, the 14th to 15th century choir and transepts of the ruined abbey church.
Musée du Verre
The Glass Museum occupies part of the Institut National du Verre on the Boulevard Defontaine. It is made up of two large departments, concerning both the history and production of glass internationally, and the development of the Belgium glass industry in particular. Examples of the glass-maker's art from Antiquity to the present day are on display, and a permanent exhibition on the ground floor shows current glassware manufactured in Belgium.
The belfry, listed as a World Heritage Sites.
The Maison Dorée built in 1899 by Art Nouveau architect Alfred Frère.
Statues in Charleroi Lucky Luke at the entrance of Astrid Park, Marcinelle (famous for its comic strips). Jules Destrée, famous Walloon politician. Le Mineur (the miner) on the Place Buisset.
St Christopher Basilica
Nightlife Restaurants and cafés: Polyphonic Café, Le Luxembourg, The Star Rock Cafe, Robert La Frite, Restaurant Shanghai (Asian cuisine), Chez Raoul (Turkish kebabs), L'Empire Ottoman (Turkish cuisine), La Bruxelloise (Belgian specialities). Bars and clubs: El Gringo, La Cour des Miracles, La cuve A Biere, La petite scène, The Irish Times, Route 66, La Nova, l’Impasse, Le Corto.
The Claire-Fontaine Leisure Centre/strong> which offers boating, swimming, dry tobogganing and mini-golf.
Social Center of Relaxation with its leisure and youth center, a swimming pool and a sports facility.
Shopping in Charleroi Rue de la Montagne for international and chain shops. The Dog Market on the Place Charles II and in the Rue Vauban. Ville 2 shopping centre with Carollywood cinema. Galeries de la bourse for bookshops.