As you approach Dinant, it is the citadel on the high rock overlooking the town and the river which dominates. It is, however, the pear-shaped spire of the Collegiate Church of Our Lady that will attract your attention.
In 1227 a large slab of rock detached from the rock face, destroying a previous church on this site. It was progressively rebuilt during the 13th century. Additions were made after 1466 (the year of the attack by Charles Bold).
The characteristic bell-tower, referred to as onion shaped or pear-shaped and often compared to a tulip bulb is more Byzantine than Walloon and was its designers probably took influence from the crusades. The church contains many vestiges of 13th to 15th century religious art.
The Citadel: the fit and able will want to climb the 408 steps to the top. If you prefer though, a cable car is available (the shortest and steepest cable-car ride to be found anywhere in the world!). If all else fails, there is a road which climbs to the citadel! It is the Prince-Bishop of Liege who built the first fortress during the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1466 and rebuilt in 1530 on the same site. A visit takes in the prison and torture room. The military museum explains more about the life and history of the citadel. The high point of the visit (quite literally) is the terrace 300 feet above the river. A view to remember!
Not to be missed in the area: The Bayard rock. Less than a mile to the south, this 100ft. high needle stands between the road and the river and is another characteristic feature of Dinant. It is here that the British stopped the advance of the German troops in December 1944 and a memorial stone and plaque reminds us all of the important part played by the British troops in the Battle of the Bulge.
The kayak canoeists of Anseremme: three miles down the road from Dinant, the impetuous River Lesse joins the Meuse.
The Lesse and Anseremme are known for the thousands of blue and yellow canoes that leave Houyet and Gendron every day with their precious cargo to end up in Anseremme where showers, changing rooms and restaurants await the drenched and famished canoeists.
The small village of Anseremme also boasts a 16 th Century Bridge over the Lesse and the Abbey of Saint-Hubert (15th -16th Century) with its church and square limestone tower.