Thursday, March 09, 2017

BELGIUM 2016: Leuven's Market Square

I know, I know.  Just when you thought I'd finished it, here it is again.  But seriously, did you notice that I showed everything except Leuven itself????  So, of course I need to end that early December trip with the one city we went to see:  Leuven.

It was the main market square we wanted to see because of the 3 landmarks facing each other: 
St.Peter's Church, the Town Hall, and The Fourth/Tafelrond Hotel.

Where to start?  It was our first day and we wanted to see it all!

Though it was Sunday, we grabbed the church first, not knowing when it would close that afternoon.
St. Peter's Church is a Gothic church from the 15th century.
Notice the golden bell ringer near the top!

As large churches go, this one was light and elegant on a sunny day.

There were the statues, of course, but not inordinately so for a Roman Catholic church.

I was more taken by the placements throughout of votive candles for prayers...

...and was particularly moved by this alcove.

The oak pulpit was transferred to this church from the abbey in Ninove, 68 km away.
You know I'm going to say it:  I wonder what Preacher Dad would think of it!

It so happens that after touring the church, we immediately crossed the square to see the Town Hall,
and discovered we could catch a tour of it in 5 minutes, which we did.

We don't normally take such tours because we're both inclined to wander off on our own,
knowing we can get the added information from the internet, right?
However, the only way to see inside this town hall is to take the tour.
So we decided to do it.

Like the church, this Town Hall is Gothic and built at the same time, in the 15th century.

Upon entering, this is what you see.

And then, wandering throughout, we saw all the "usual suspects" of town halls.
So much history, all related to Leuven itself.

But what I most wanted to see was the wedding chamber.
In Belgium, as in the Netherlands, marriage is made official at the town hall, in the wedding room.
Can you imagine sitting around that table for your marriage ceremony!

On that note, it was time for our main meal of the day, somewhere on the square.

When we finished eating and walked back outside, it was a fairyland.
Remember that this was the end of November, getting ready for the Christmas holiday.

The Town Hall and The Fourth/Tafelrond Hotel took on new personas all lit up,
the Town Hall being the greatest spectacle of all, changing every few seconds.

But the church across the square stood stalwart against time and change,
ready to ring its bell on the hours as they passed us by.

It made a good impression on us at the start of our Sunday - Friday mini vacation.
One last post coming up, God willing and the creek don't rise, is another Leuven landmark:
 the University Library.


  1. My faaaave thing about the whole tour was the PINK LIGHTS on the townhall... i wish we had pink Christmas lights here!!

    I know that's a silly thing to have as my fave amongst all that grandeur lol but i'm in a good mood today :)

    thank you so much for taking me with you :)

    1. Those lights were constantly changing between red, pink, blue and purple, Elaine. Simply spectacular. You would have been in heaven. So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. When I see many of your photos I think, look up. There is so much to see if we but raise our heads and gaze above. Beautiful photos, Ginnie.

    I always like your food photos too. Such fun!

    1. It does help being a photographer, Marie, as a reminder to always look up...and also behind. Sometimes I have to remind myself of both. But thank you. Over time I have learned to share the food photos as well, since they do appeal to our senses. HA!

  3. Europe is really rich in fabulous architectures and Belgium does not miss it. It is a very beautiful series Ginnie, the framings are very well and the places are interesting and beautiful photographed

    1. Thank you, Marie, for faithfully following me here. Your comments mean more than I can say. MERCI.

  4. That square is impressively imposing, in the best ways, wow! So special to be there just before the holidays when the gorgeous historical buildings are all dressed up in colorful lights.

    1. We are making a tradition of seeing a Christmas market somewhere in Europe (think Germany in particular, which has the best ones) at the end of November, beginning of December, every year now, Ruth. We already plan on Aachen, Germany, this year. It's such a festive time in so many ways. We love it.

  5. Those night time shots are amazing! Thanks always for sharing your discoveries!

    1. You're most welcome, Robin, of course. :) Thank YOU for coming by to see what I/we see!

  6. As always, a beautiful tour, especially the evening pictures. One of my fondest memories from childhood is stepping into St. Patrick’s on Fifth Ave in NYC with my mother and lighting a candle with her. The smell of the candles that filled the St. Pat’s is still with me.

    Your comment on the pulpit of St. Peter’s in Leuven reminds me of the trips I used take each year with high school seniors to visit the Cloisters Museum and St. John the Divine in NYC. One of my students was an extreme conservative who had recently found God and wanted to be a preacher. When we got to St. John’s he headed straight for the pulpit and climbed right up to get the feel of the place

    1. I love that you shared your candle-smell memory, Ted. Thank you.

      I have been to the Cloisters in NYC and can just imagine what your student did there. That place happens to be one of my favorite spots in that city!

  7. This was another city that I really liked. What an amazing Town hall and churches and so much to see. Also the 'night life' was a great experience. Thank you for all the so many details pictures that will make it much more easy to remember the things we saw. IHJV.

    1. And to think all of this was that very first day! So often we say that our first day has already made the trip worthwhile, and this was so true then. We are so lucky!

  8. You have reminded me of my enjoyable visit to Leuven. I love the Town Hall Tour and the after tour additional treat to visit the loft/attic area to see some stone sculptures that once were part of the outside decoration and also to see the roof structure.

    1. It was because of YOU, Cherry, that we went to Leuven in the first place, as you already know. But it sounds like you saw a lot more than we did...or let's say DIFFERENT things than we did that trip! YAY for all of us, getting to see these wonders of the world.