Liege, Belgium travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE CONVENT

Inside a former convent, the Museum of Walloon chronicles the story of French-speaking Belgium. This involves coal mining, the glass industry and weird festival costumes, while also looking at the inventor of the saxophone and George Lemaitre, who first suggested the Big Bang Theory. However, the stars are the dozens of tiny-scale model buildings and dioramas. See provincedeliege.be/en/viewallonne

THE ONE MUSEUM

It's tempting to say Le Grand Curtius is the city's major museum, but it's more a collection of different museums congregated in the same building. The range is impressive, though. If pressed for time, concentrate on the History of Liege section, and the Musee de Verre, which showcases some extraordinarily beautiful pieces of glass art. See lesmuseesdeliege.be/grand-curtius

THE ONE OLD HOUSE

A few steps away from Le Grand Curtius is the Musee de la Ansembourg, which is your classic Impressive Old European House. Built in a showy opulent Louis XIV style by a banker and leather merchant, there's utterly gorgeous wooden furniture, but it's the painted leather used as wallpaper that really wows. See lesmuseesdeliege.be/ansembourg

THE ONE MARKET

The Sunday market spreads down the embankment of the River Meuse, and seemingly everyone in town piles in to make it a social occasion as well as a chance to buy fruit and meat. It is eclectic to say the least – one stall might be selling cheap clothing; the next, breads and olives and the next, live geese.

THE ONE SHOPPING STREET

The shopping scene is arguably Liege's strong point. The little lanes of the old town are absolutely packed with interesting, independent one-offs, all doing their own thing and usually with high quality control. En Neuvice is a particularly good street to start browsing with luthier Renzo Salvador selling classical guitars and "slow design shop" REstore specialising in jewellery and wood carvings. See restoredesign.be

THE ONE BAR

This is Belgium, the greatest beer country on earth, and coming without serious plans to spend a few hours around a table in a pub should be regarded as negligent behaviour. The BeerLovers Cafe is, unsurprisingly, a good place to start, with about 300 brews to choose from. These include several of the country's famous abbey beers, plus some weird and wacky fruit and sour options. See beer-lovers.be

THE ONE DISH

Liege's culinary speciality is unashamedly meaty, and the Brasserie Liegeois near the Guellemins train station is as good a place as any to tuck into boulets a la liegeoise. These humungous meatballs come in a rich, chestnut and tomato sauce and, because this is Belgium and it's practically the law, chips on the side. See brasserieliegeoise.be

THE ONE HOTEL

The Hotel Neuvice is a real charmer. It's across three 18th century buildings – the wooden beams left in place give that away – but it has worked with the setting to give it an impressive modern makeover. Big super king beds, dashing-looking black-tiled bathrooms and multiple light settings easily controlled from the bedside add to the appeal. Doubles  from €115. See hotelneuvice.be

THE ONE DETOUR

Easily the best attraction within a short trip of the city is the Blegny Mine, where visitors can don hard hats and head deep into the guts of a former coal mine. There's also a mining museum on site, but the more visceral experience comes wandering through the claustrophobic tunnels underground. See blegnymine.be

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ONE MORE THING

Arrive by train if you can – Guillemins station is a visually stunning, free-flowing architectural marvel from Santiago Calatrava. And, despite the city having several stations, this would-be landmark is the one that almost all intercity trains (including those from Brussels) arrive at.

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traveller.com.au/belgium

visitezliege.be

David Whitley travelled at his own expense.

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