Tournai is an ancient city sitting on the banks of the river Schelde, which terminates in Antwerp and there subject to some mighty tides. Recently a large barge capsized, killing the captain. Here there is just a gentle current.

Dating to Roman times, fortified in the 3rd century. It was the capital of the empire of the Franks in the 5th century. The next capital was Paris.

I am in awe of Notre Dame de Tournai. What a magnificent structure and so old – construction began in the 12th century. Its five towers stun the observer with their beauty, soaring high, dominating the skyline. The square towers rise to 83 meters/272 ft. It is a World Heritage Site.

The building was hit by a strong tornado in August 1999, revealing underlying structural issues. Repairs and and archaeological work continue.

Tournai main square
The Gran Place

We revisited our favorite restaurant here. L’Imperatrice (The Empress) is traditional Belgian cuisine, heavy on the meats, also featuring rabbit and duck. Sauces and gravies are a big deal in the cuisine, and these they do superbly, as with the fries. The same waitress served us. She’s a pro, making sure we understood what was on offer this day. Peg did, and loved the duck with its rich dark sauce. I did not quite get it. They served a substantial amount of smoked salmon on my plate, with two stuffed tomatoes, their version of the diet plate. I liked it but it was not what I came here for, which in this case I believed was a sauteed salmon. I also failed to order one or more of their many Belgian beers on tap and in the bottle, opting for wine, good but not Belgium. But beer with fish? Maybe with deep fried, on the menu as Fish and Chips, but not salmon in any configuration.

L’Imperatrice in Tournai

Previous visit to Tournai

cathedral tournai
Notre Dame de Tournai from the Grand Place
mons jesus sculpt
Jesus giving the keys to Peter. The most effeminate Jesus I have ever seen.

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