Beloeil (literally "beautiful eye") is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in Belgium. It was founded in the 13th century as a medieval fortress, then was progressively transformed into a residential palace in the 17th and 18th century. The central part of the castle was devastated by a fire in 1900, and rebuilt 2 years later.
Since 1394, the castle has belonged to the Princes of Ligne, one of Belgium's highest ranking noble families. The family has its roots in the village of Ligne, eight kilometres north-east of Beloeil.
The castle has a pleasant French-style park expanding on 120 hectares - the greatest part of which runs across the village of Beloeil, outside the property's boundaries. A rectangular artificial lake faces the castle, with classical statues at each end. Take a look at the enormous carps that swim in the moat surrounding the castles.
The 18th-century classical interior reminds of Versailles and is certainly in accordance with the princely status of the proprietors. It contains an impressive collection of art from the 15th to the 19th century, including an impressive library with some 20,000 books.
It could be deplored that the castle is in a state of slight disrepair, with the window frames and wall painting showing their age. The park is not trimmed like an English garden either, although reasonably well kept.
Every year for one week in Spring (usually late April-early May), the castle holds a floral show, with some 2,000 amaryllis and 600 orchids exhibited in the various rooms of the castle open to the public.
Opening Hours & Admission
The castle is open from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm everyday from 15 May to 30 September, and on weekends and holidays from 1 April to 14 May, or everyday from April to 15 October on demand for groups.
Entry to the castle and park with audio guide is 8 € for adults 6 € for seniors, 5.5 € for children, and free for children under 6 years old.
Admission to the park only is 4 € for adults and 3 € for children and seniors.
How to get there
Beloeil has to be accessed with your own transport. It sits on the N526, between Mons and Ath, not far from the French border.
Coming from Brussels, take the western side of the Ring until Halle, then follow the E429 to Tournai. Take exit 30 for Ath, then follow the signs to the castle on the remaining 15 km.
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