How can we say this? How can we tell you about a walk, a hike, an excursion in the great outdoors when the weather is good?Our hometown is lucky enough to have a particularly breathtaking landscape to explore. Its name makes us think of the south… Panisel: the word alone makes you feel like you’re getting away from it all!

An enchanting site

Mont Panisel revels in an unbelievable romanticism that is bound to charm walkers. Nobody can remain untouched by this peaceful place. It offers visitors enchanting views of Mons and the surrounding hills and valleys.
You need good shoes to tackle the paths up Panisel.
The starting place is somewhere that all the locals are familiar with:the Vieux Puit. Opposite this bar, the Chemin de l’Ermitage is ready and waiting for you.
This is where the adventure begins.
Almost immediately, on the left, we pass a building surrounded by fences. It’s the former home of Jean Houzeau de Lehaie (1867- 1959), an eminent naturalist who dedicated his life to studying bamboo and introducing new species from Japan, China and India. He studied the acclimatisation of all of these species in Europe and in Belgium, in his home at the Ermitage near Mons. If it means anything to you, he is the man who provided the land that was used for Saint-Symphorien Cemetery.
Before long, we’ve arrived at a stony path that gradually gets steeper and steeper, but don’t worry, the slope is long and gentle, it’s totally doable. After a few steps through some bushes, an amazing view is revealed… The city of Mons, its Belfry and its Collegiate Church, in all its majesty.

Time to climb!

Up and up we go… then all of a sudden, without any effort, we’re at the top of Mont Panisel.
On the left after the water tower, we arrive in a small clearing. We’re 107 metre up at the highest point. We take a breather under the beech tree and savour the moment as a ray of sunlight caresses our faces.

After a short break, we go back about a hundred metres, past the water tower and just on the corner, to the right, we set off on our way.
There’s some undergrowth with a few ditches that can be muddy in damp weather, but after that we can see some fields lined with hawthorn hedges. Here we are on the eastern side of Panisel.

On the right, towards the slope going down, the path is steeper. It goes past a chalet built on the slope from which the owners have an amazing view of the hills and valleys. We go down to the end of the path, with hills on one side and woodland on the other. What a delightful place.

Homeward bound through the countryside

Lower down, there is a memorial to the 1914 /1918 Battle of Mons at the crossroads between the dirt track and the paved path called the Chemin de Bethléem.

We turn right and find ourselves on a paved path. We carry on along southern slope of the hill. On the right, we go past the river, straddled by a pretty bridge, but we don’t cross it. The walk continues on the paved path, which leads to two attractive 19th century buildings. The only witnesses are a few horses and cows in the fields. It feels like we’re in a country setting far, far away.

After a few hundred metres, a sign reminds us that we’re in “MONS –BORINAGE – MONS”. The city seems such a long way away. The remains of a former windmill, a nearby waterfall and lovingly restored farmhouses provide a pretty backdrop to our walk. We wander along Rue Maurice Flament and admire its handsome town houses. Here the only traffic jams happen in spring when the frogs are laying their eggs! They come down from the hill in their hundreds to get to the damp areas on the other side of the road. Volunteers supervise the migration of our little green friends.
We’re now at the Vieux-Puit where the walk comes to a close.
So if you have a free hour or two and the weather is good, come to this magical place and enjoy the peace and quiet. I have no doubt at all that you too will be enchanted by the Mont Panisel.


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