Quiévrain owes its development to the creation of the railway line linking Brussels to Paris. For decades, trains and travellers were subject to customs inspections before continuing their activities. The town is still a major crossing point today.
But now people walk round it on weekends for the shops and to enjoy its taverns and restaurants.
The term “Outre-Quiévrain” (“Beyond-Quiévrain”)
Situated on the French border, Quiévrain is a neighbour to Quiévrechain. There was a time when the two communes functioned as one before the border separated them! Belgium had not yet been born. In France, it’s customary to use the term “Beyond-Quiévrain” in reference to Belgium. Unlike older expressions “Outre-Manche” (“Beyond the Channel”, for the United Kingdom) or “Outre-Rhin” (“Beyond the Rhine”, for Germany) designating the natural geography of the border, “Beyond-Quiévrain” refers to the border town, an old rail crossing point between the two countries. Customs made it mandatory for trains and passengers to stop. Once through the station and inspections, you were “Beyond-Quiévrain”.
The railway line, a commercial development
Quiévrain’s station was commissioned on 7 August 1842 upon the opening of the line from Mons to Quiévrain in the presence of Léopold I, King of Belgium. The link with France would be possible only in 1846, after works to the line from Valenciennes. Therefore, the line connects Brussels to Paris via Mons, Quiévrain and Valenciennes. The transport of goods and import and export transits encourage many companies to set up on both sides of the border, to limit duties.
A destination for the weekend
Today, Quiévrain is still imbued with this past. Activity is concentrated and there are still many visitors. Shops, snacks and restaurants await you for an enjoyable time of relaxation. People come from France to buy drinks and chocolate. You can eat delicious chips throughout the year, but also during the Belgian Beer Festival. Held annually, the festival promotes local products and local know-how. Fans of good food gather to taste high quality products in the spirit of tasting. By way of anecdote, it’s in Quiévrain that Paul Verlaine leapt from the train to join Rimbaud and leave his wife, who was bringing him to Paris!