You know that it is beneath the coal that the hottest fire blazes. You have a nose for unearthing things that are on trend and your self-deprecation allows you to see through rose-tinted glasses. Well then, the Pays Noir is right up your alley.
A former mining town, those who have never been often sum up Charleroi by mentioning its slag heaps, its industrial past, its airport and its rather “particular” accent. If you can get beyond these stereotypes about the “Pays Noir” (“Black Country”), the Walloon city will open its coloured doors to you. There you will discover a flourishing and dynamic town, looking ahead to an age of modernity and ready to shake off prejudices.
With a whole host of new and atypical economic, commercial, art and citizen infrastructure, Charleroi is undergoing a metamorphosis at the same time as its architectural landscape and is becoming the town of tomorrow. It is not known by some as “the new Berlin” without reason (good to know: the clubs and bars in Charleroi are less selective than Berghain).
A cradle of the avant-garde and quirky, here we try things, explore, take things to the next level, and all this comes with the facilities, culinary offerings, heritage and transport network of a truly great city.
Its new shopping centre is the ideal spot for shopping addicts and its many green and cultural initiatives place it at the forefront of the international scene. It is a town that is pulsating, just like you.
Incredible as it may seem, these slag heaps – these immense artificial mounds made up of mining residue – have gradually become the town’s lungs. Walks, drinks, open-air events, ecological housing units... they have been reworked and rethought by and for the inhabitants, and their vantage point lets you see that the town is the greenest in Wallonia. With over a dozen parks and a good number of fields, you can even call it a somewhat rural landscape.
From a cultural point of view, we are not missing out. A theatre, creative spaces, cultural centres, dance and concert halls, museums and the urban arts are emerging and growing in prosperity with each day that passes. If you still thought that this town would undermine your good mood (get it?), you’re making a big mistake.
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