Cathédrale Notre Dame

Top choice in Wallonia

Dominating Tournai’s skyline are the five spires of its remarkable cathedral, which survived WWII bombs only for a freak 1999 tornado to compromise its stability. It'll remain a vast building site for another decade; though work on the five towers was completed in 2018. Despite the scaffolding, the interior remains a fascinating example of evolving architectural styles, from the magnificent Romanesque nave through a curious bridging transept into an early-Gothic choir whose soaring pillars bend disconcertingly.

The wood-panelled little Chapelle St-Louis is under restoration and its large canvases by Rubens and Jacob Jordaens are currently hidden, but there are some impressive paintings, tapestries and relics in the treasury.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Wallonia attractions

1. Trésor de la Cathédrale

0.01 MILES

There are some impressive pieces in the treasury in the heart of Tournai's cathedral, including a fabulous 'Last Judgement' châsse (casket), a striking…

2. Beffroi

0.06 MILES

Belgium’s oldest belfry is 72m high with a narrow 257-step spiral staircase that becomes even narrower higher up. There's a good multilingual display on…

3. Grand Place

0.09 MILES

Tournai’s gorgeous triangular main square is ringed with cafes in fine gable-fronted guildhouses merrily flying guild banners. Kids play in ‘dare-you’…

4. Halle Aux Draps

0.11 MILES

Tournai's former cloth hall is the Grand Place's finest building, with an elegant gilt-detailed facade and a brick-vaulted interior that opens for…

5. Musée de Folklore

0.13 MILES

This is a lovable and sizeable warren of fascinating city-relevant relics and ethnographic artefacts. It's all in French, but many of the cameo scenes are…

6. Église St-Quentin

0.16 MILES

Église St-Quentin is a hefty Romanesque church with a 12th-century nave, posterior Gothic features and a striking red-tiled roof. When viewed from near…

7. Tour du Cygne

0.17 MILES

One of two towers preserved from the original 1202 city wall, this is a surprising sight at the end of a nondescript lane.