Haut-Pays

Stuck along the Franco-Belgian border, about thirty kilometers from Mons, the Haut-Pays remains a little-known region of the general public.
Close to the old mining area and far from the main communication routes, the Haut-Pays Nature Park1 has more than one asset. Covering an area of 15,700 hectares, there is still a beautiful biological diversity.

One of the attractions of this natural park is the Bois d'Angre. Crossed by the Great Honnelle (which gave its name to the merged municipality), there is a geological curiosity : the Caillou-qui-Bique, which would have a satanic origin...
Another place, the museum Emile Verhaeren2, at the edge of the woods. All along the trails through the woods we found stelae bearing poems by Verhaeren.

After the Haut-Pays, I made a quick detour through the Jemappes Park and the Baudour-Ghlin industrial area, in order to radically change the scenery.

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Town hall of Baisieux. This village is part of Quiévrain, a few steps from the border.

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The Grande Honnelle.

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Typical road of the region, between Baisieux and Angre.

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The church of Saint-Martin in Angre. Cited since 1075, it has undergone many transformations over the centuries.

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The square and the church of Angre.

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Priest's house of Angre.

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The Saint-Amand church of Angreau. Placed on a promontory, it dominates the street about ten meters. The sanctuary is in poor condition.

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Cited in 1139, the current church was built by the monks of Cambrai Abbey in 1778, the tower dating from 1598. Its spire is unique in the region.

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Effigy of Emile Verhaeren at the entrance of the museum dedicated to him.

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Requiring heavy renovations, the museum is currently closed to the public.

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The bell tower of Saint-Brice in Roisin.

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If the neoclassical building built in 1822 was recently renovated outside, this is not really the case of the interior.

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The church remains worthy of interest.

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Vestige of the early church in Gothic style.

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Almost adjacent to Saint-Brice, the park of the castle of Roisin...

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... here is the entrance gate, on the Rue de la Place.

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The ponds of the park are the rendezvous of many fishermen.

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Location of the castle totally demolished in the 1990's. Going back to the 13th century, it will experience several destructions. Its last reconstruction dates back to 1907.

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Presenting the face of a neoclassical pleasure mansion, it will be dismantled little by little from 1960 to finish as a parking of the restaurant in the former outbuildings (18th century).

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View of the park and the tower; the castle was to the right of the image.

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The entrance to the park.

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The bridge of the old railway line 98A, connecting Dour to Bavay in France. It crosses the Grande Honnelle and the road to Autreppe.

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One of the rocks with a beautiful pareidolia. This rock, more than 300 million years old, is called puddingstone.

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In the middle of the Thier du Diable, precisely the Caillou-qui-Bique. He was planted there by Satan after he wanted to destroy Stavelot Abbey.

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Disgruntled by the distance remaining, he would have dropped his weapon after meeting with Saint-Remacle, patron of the abbey.

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At the foot of the rocks, we find the Grande Honnelle.

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"Do you hear him, do you hear him, The little flow over the pebbles? He passes and runs and slides, And gently to the branches, Who on his course bend over, His song smooth" Les blés mouvants

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Much of the wood was once threatened with destruction by an unscrupulous logger. Obviously, this threat has disappeared.

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Erosion in action.

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Angre's woods.

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Facing a large clearing (a must for all youth movements in the region), a very nice bistro.

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A little away from the road, a tunnel passing under the old railway line.

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The masonry of the tunnel in (too) close-up.

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Some tributaries swell the course of the Grande Honnelle in the middle of the woods.

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An old ford doubled today by a modern footbridge. We say goodbye to Bois d'Angre.

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Located almost outside the village, the church Sainte-Aldegonde of Baisieux. Behind her is the imposing Ferme du Mayeur.

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Rebuilt in 1759, after the ravages provoked by the troops of Louis XIV. Only two houses survived the massacre.

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On the way back, I stop at Quiévrain.

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The church of the city, dedicated to Saint-Martin, dates from the 16th century.

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Its elegant tower can be seen from afar.

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Built in a mixture of stone and brick, it testifies to the transition from Gothic to more modern styles (for the time).

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While a religious service was going to begin, the priest allowed me to take a few snapshots. Thanks to him.

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By getting closer to Mons, new stop at Parc de Jemappes. Created in 1785, it spreads over 20 hectares with a particularly varied flora. The park is unfortunately next to the noisy highway E42.

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The park is dotted with several buildings, all unfortunately dilapidated.

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Here, a Greek pseudo-temple. In ruins, its columns are also strongly degraded.

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From afar, appearances are intact.

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At the end of the park, a neo-Gothic ecumenical chapel.

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Too forgotten, windows are stoppered.

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Collapsed roof. The region is economically devastated and it shows.

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The Roseraie, formerly housing a restaurant. Today, a perimeter of security prohibits access to it, the building being in lack of stability.

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A few kilometers from the park, the huge industrial estate of Baudour-Ghlin. A road that wouldn't have denied the former USSR.

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The entrance of the deceased coke factory Carcoke-Tertre. Opened in 1928, it was the largest in Belgium. Former paradise of the followers of the urban exploration, it was dismantled by SPAQuE from 2003.

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Industrial railway line serving Kemira, chemical factory near Carcoke-Tertre.

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The old Carbo-Tertre train station.

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Sunset on a dead end. End of visit.

8

March 2009

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Notes

  1. See official website.
  2. Flemish poet and playwright of French expression (1855-1916), he will travel throughout Europe and will be admired by people such as Seurat, Rodin, Maeterlinck, Mallarmé or Gide.
    Verhaeren spent each of his summers between 1900 and 1916 in Roisin.
    See the museum website of Sint-Amands.