Geraardsbergen (Grammont in French; pop. 31,000) is a small Flemish town between Brussels and Tournai, lying close to the linguistic border. It is known for its wall that is climbed every year by cyclists during the Tour of Flanders (early April).
The town in itself has not much to offer, except a 15th-century Manneken Pis - yes, almost identical to the more famous one in Brussels, but 160 years older ! The peeing boy stands in front of the town hall, on the Grote Markt (this, at least, is different from Brussels).
It is also famous for its Mattentaart (or tarte au maton in French), a sweet pastry made with cheese curd, eggs and almonds. The oldest known recipe dates from 1510. The mattentaart was granted Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Union in 2006, indicating they can only be made in Geraardsbergen or in the nearby municipality of Lierde.
The last Sunday in February, Geraardsbergen holds the Krakelingenstoet and Tonnekebrand festivals. They consist mainly of a colourful cortège passing through town, above the Oudenberg hill, with wine served in silver cups with a gudgeon (small fish) inside.
How to get there
Geraardsbergen is a bit in the middle of nowhere (for tourists), on the N42, roughly between Ath and Ghent. More specifically, it is between the E40 (Brussels-Ostend) and the E429 (Brussels-Tournai).
There are no direct trains from Brussels. You must change at Denderleeuw or Aalst (40min), which takes 1h or more. Coming from Tournai (45min) or Mons (1h10min), you must change at Ath.
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