Liège

Recently we decided to go on a daytrip to Liège, one of the largest cities in Wallonia and birthplace of Georges Simenon, Justine Henin and (allegedly) Charlemagne.

But we weren’t interested in history or culture, of course. We wanted to see the fancy new Médiacité shopping centre. There has been much media hoopla about this project which, along with the equally fancy recently renovated train station is intended to spruce up the image of a rather glum city more associated in most people’s minds with unemployment and depressing movies by the Dardenne brothers.

Much to our surprise (imagine that last phrase with a sarcastic tone of voice) it turned out to be…just another shopping centre, with the usual selection of shops (and a lot of empty space which has yet to be rented). The roof is pretty, though.

We made our way into the centre of town which, by stark contrast with the gleaming modernity of Médiocrité was quite picturesquely run-down and full of “character” (i.e. dirt). We found ourselves in a series of narrow, quiet streets full of Turkish restaurants – a kind of Little Istanbul, I guess you’d call it – and so we stopped for lunch at Le Raki Turc, which turned out to be really rather good.

We had a tasty mezze with some meltingly tender veal.

Then we headed back into the streets for some window shopping, ogling the macaroons…

roasted meat and potatoes…

toy alligator warriors…

and “reality wear”…

So a mixed bag, but not unpleasant overall, and I wouldn’t rule out a return trip someday if I’m in the mood.

Oh, and at least we got to see Mickey Mouse: