Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose

Top choice in Wallonia

Founded in 1242, this is Belgium’s only medieval convent-farm-hospital complex to have survived reasonably intact. Laboriously restored, it demonstrates the development of medieval medicine from a beautiful herb garden via different eras of hospice to a collection of historical medical implements. Don't miss the bird-beaked plague doctor in his leather cape. The collection of religious art includes a curious 16th-century painting showing Jesus with a female breast. There's a decent restaurant here, so you can lunch before your visit (open noon onwards).

Admission includes an audioguide, which has a wealth of information on the collections and provides insight into medieval medicine and life in the convent.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Wallonia attractions

1. Geraardsbergse Musea

4.58 MILES

This simple, sweetly old-fashioned museum has no one distinct theme but features rooms with small collections of artefacts as diverse as matchboxes,…

2. Manneken Pis

4.64 MILES

Brussels isn't the only city in which a little boy statue relieves himself. Indeed, many locals insist that Geraardsbergen's Manneken Pis is the original…

3. De Permanensje

4.66 MILES

Combining the local tourist office and the former Manneken-Pismuseum, this compact museum has a variety of multimedia introductions to the trades and…

5. Muur van Geraardsbergen

4.87 MILES

For cycle-racing enthusiasts the name Geraardsbergen is inextricably linked with the 'Muur' (Mur de Grammont in French), a steep cobbled rise that…

6. Espace Gallo-Romain

6.17 MILES

A fascinating place to learn about the region's Roman roots, with audiovisual displays and a collection of objects from the distant past. Among the…

7. Maison des Géants

6.36 MILES

If you miss the giants' festival, you can learn more at the Maison des Géants, in a grand old mansion opposite the castle-style tower of Église St-Julien…

8. Pairi Daiza

8.98 MILES

Set on the grounds of a former Cistercian Abbey, this 65-hectare park is home to more than 5000 animals (including pandas, koalas, gorillas and lemurs)…