| 8 min read
You’ve already visited the Brussels Christmas market and you’d like to try another one that’s not too far away? How about Mons Coeur en Neige? As we’ve noticed during the impressive Doudou festival, the inhabitants of Mons know how to create a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. That is not different for the Mons Christmas market! Read on to find out what makes this Christmas market so unique.
1. Small but full of life
Compared to Brussels, the Mons Christmas market might be relatively small, but size is not all that matters. Mons Coeur en Neige definitely makes up for it with a cozy and lively atmosphere. At the end of the opening night, there’s even a DJ who turns the event into a real party!
2. A magical Christmas setting
The Grand Place of Mons is at its best during the Christmas period. Upon arrival, you’re left wondering where to look first: the beautiful 20 meter high Christmas tree, the large Christmas tower, the fir carousel or the twinkling lights adorning the facades of all the buildings around the square. Although the Christmas stalls and activities spread out over the center of Mons, Grand Place is definitely the heart of the Christmas market.
Tip: Buy a ticket for the fir carousel if you want to enjoy a bird’s-eye view over the entire square!
3. International food
Grand Place is surrounded by Christmas stalls selling specialties from all over the world. The large tower mentioned above sells Alsatian specialties like choucroute and flammkuchen. Other stalls are specialized in local dishes from Canada, Argentina, Sicily, Germany… Especially meat-lovers will be in heaven as most of it is meat-based.
4. Mulled wine or beer?
Visiting a Christmas requires drinking mulled wine while warming your hands around the cup. In Mons though you’ll be tempted to deviate from this ritual since many of the Christmas stalls sell local Christmas beers. These are usually quite strong, and thanks to the added spices they’re among the most flavorful Belgian beers. Admit that it’s getting difficult now to choose between mulled wine and beer, right?
5. Original Christmas souvenirs
Apart from international dishes, other items you can buy on the Christmas market include woolen bonnets, scarfs, small figurines, miniature carrousels, candy as well as the typical cougnou bread (a sweet 'bread of Jesus' baked during Christmas time).
Make sure to spot the stall with Christmas decoration representing the different actors of the Doudou festival. If you want a unique and typical souvenir from the Mons Christmas market, this is what you’re looking for.
6. Lots of side activities
There’s always something going on at Mons Coeur de Neige. During the Gnomikys parade, a group of strange but happy creatures made us dance as they marched through the streets.
The snowman parade with Disney characters was especially fascinating for the little ones.
In the Saint Elisabeth church you can attend a series of enchanting Christmas concerts. Check out the program to find out at what time they take place.
Santa and his adorable helpers are available for a selfie in the kiosk on Grand Place.
And if you’re up for something more active, take a spin on the ice skating ring.
7. Local food
A visit to Mons is also a great opportunity to try some local cuisine. You could for example go to the La Vache à Carreaux and try one of their delicious camembert dishes. Combined with a local La Montoise beer, of course!
Also at L’Orphéo they serve delicious food, among which again local specialties containing cheese. (Think croquettes with three cheese types.) You could pair this with a local beer like La Vieille from Gosselies.
8. Rich in culture and history
Did you know Mons was the European capital of culture in 2015? Take your time to appreciate the culture and history of the city, and why wouldn’t you do so with the help of a Greeter? These are local guides who’re happy to show you around their beloved city. Must-sees include Mons' Gothic style townhall, the Belfry, the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru and the Decorative Arts Museum François Duesberg. On top of that, you could ask your guide about their personal favorites and discover hidden gems.
9. Beautiful street art
As you walk the streets, you'll discover many beautiful instances of street art. Obvisouly, some of them, such as Le Monstrueux from Blancbec (photo on the left) are also related to the annual Ducasse de Mons. This itinerary from L'Art habite la ville will guide you along the most beautiful and intriguing artworks.
10. Easy to get to!
If you’re coming from Brussels, you just need to hop on a train, leaf through a book or magazine and you'll arrive in Mons in under an hour. From the train station, you can easily walk to the city center and discover all its highlights by foot.
Where to sleep?
We stayed at Hotel St. James which is comfortable and is situated within walking distance of the Christmas market.
Do you have questions? Did you experience something similar? Did you notice a mistake? Please share!