Liège is the capital of the province of the same name. For a long time, the city was associated with heavy industry and the associated pollution, but those days are long gone. This northernmost French-speaking European city has a beautiful historical center, various museums, trendy shops and enjoyable sidewalk cafés.
The city itself has almost 200,000 inhabitants, but including the suburbs 750,000 people live in the metropolitan area of Liège and surroundings.
Liège is located in the east of Belgium on the Meuse River and just south of the border with the Dutch province of Limburg. Maastricht in the Netherlands and Aachen in Germany are both a 30-minute drive from Liège.
As said in the introduction, Liège used to be a center of heavy industry, with many steel factories. Although much has disappeared, steel production and the manufacture of steel goods (including weapons) still play a role in local economy. Engineering (mainly aircraft engine and spacecraft propulsion) is derived from this industry. In recent years, many high-tech companies have also settled in Liège.
The city's airport, Aéroport de Liège-Bierset, is situated 11 kilometers west of the center. It's easily reachable by rental car via the A602 and A15. Maastricht-Aachen Airport also lies close to Liège, 50 kilometers north of the city. This airport can be reached via the A3 and E25/A2.
Liège has good public bus transport, but the system can be somewhat confusing. The different buses leave from different central bus stations: on Place Léopold, Place Saint Lambert, Place République Française, and from l’Opéra and the train station Liège-Guillemins. The bus stations are all close to each other.
It's quite difficult to find your way around, especially in the center. The city doesn't have an inner ring road; the main roads lie along the old and new course of the Meuse which can be confusing. Before you know it, you have missed an exit and end up in the wrong place. Buy a good map of the city and determine your route ahead of time. Finding a free parking place in the street is difficult, but there are several parking garages (signposted) where you can park your car.
Liège has a good choice of accommodations. There are basic guesthouses, family hotels and midrange accommodations, but also some four-star hotels. In general, hotels on the right bank of the Meuse (the eastern bank) are cheaper than those on the left bank, but you are then outside the city center. On the verge of the city, there are also some branches of budget hotel chains (Etap, Formule 1).
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