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The kilometre of culture

Architecture ,  Cultural in Mons
1.6 km
  • Modern architecture is at the heart of the Mons 2015 project and constitutes one of its main themes. The integration of architecture into a historic city is a daily challenge that we will always have to face. Discover the kilometre of culture!

  • As a flagship project of the 2015 year of culture, the kilometre of culture is led by a group of architects who believe in creating a link between the buildings of yesterday and the requirements of tomorrow. The headquarters of the Mons 2015 Foundation, Arsonic (a centre for emerging music, concert venue and recording studio) and some one hundred prestige apartments will be established around the Manège Theatre. The Maison Folie, just a stone’s throw away, is also part of this new momentum.
  • Difference in height
    22.29 m
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
Start on the Grand-Place facing the Hôtel de Ville. Head right towards the Rue de Nimy which you will see in front of you.
At the start of the Rue de Nimy, on your left at number 7 is the Royal Conservatory of Mons. This university of the arts of the French Community of Belgium trains artists, performers and designers in two fields: music, and theatre and the spoken word.
On your right, at number 12, is Plaza Art. This is a local cinema showing subsidised films to a wide audience. Mainly recent European productions in their original versions with subtitles. Every year, Plaza Art shows around thirty premieres and some sixty national releases.
Continue for a few metres and you will see on your right the Church of Sainte Elisabeth. This was the last parish created in Mons in the 16th century from the original parish of Saint Germain. The church built in Hainaut gothic style was consecrated in 1588. The nave and choir of the present church, rebuilt following the fire of 1714, are the work of a Mons architect, Claude de Bettignies. The bell tower above it was built in 1719/1720.
The Courts of Justice are at number 35 Rue de Nimy. Opposite is the public prosecutor’s office, the façade of which comprises in part a former abbey sanctuary dating from the 18th century and in part an example of modern architecture.

Go down the Rue de Nimy to number 76 where you will find Mundaneum (scheduled to reopen in June 2015), the central archives of the Wallonia-Brussels federation and a temporary exhibition space open to the public since 1998.
At the corner, turn into the Rue des Tuileries and go up as far as number 1 Rue des Passages, where you will find the Manège Theatre.
An astonishing construction in glass and concrete, the “Manège” Theatre was to be built in a former small riding school dating from the early 20th century. Pierre Hebbelinck’s architecture studio managed to get round the space constraint by designing an auditorium with almost 600 seats which was slotted into the old building.

Following the merger of different cultural institutions in Mons in April 2002, this venue has revitalised culture in the city, like a heart beating at its centre, through a high quality, diversified, daring programme focused on making culture democratically accessible to the greatest number.

A few metres further on in the Rue des Trois Boudins, you will find on your left the courtyard giving access to the premises of the Mons 2015 Foundation.
Théâtre Le Manège-salle.jpg Théâtre Le Manège-intérieur.jpg LeManège-rue-des-3boudins.jpg LeManège-Extérieur-parking.jpg
2 Mons 2015 Foundation
Accessible from number 106 Rue de Nimy and via the rear courtyard in the Rue des Trois Boudins, the building of the former Académie des Beaux Arts is the nerve centre of Mons 2015 and plays a symbolic role in welcoming the public, artists and the press. As well as a place of memories, the building is also the incarnation of the modernity of Mons in architecture; after being for many years the “Académie des Beaux Arts” …, its cultural role has simply evolved with the city.

Go to the end of the Rue des Trois Boudins and turn immediately left.
Then go back up the Rue des Arbalestriers and a few metres further on you will come to the Arsonic building at number 138 Rue de Nimy.
Maquette106-cour.jpg Salon106.jpg Intérieur106.jpg Extérieur-bâtiment106.jpg
On the corner of the Rue de Nimy and the Rue des Trois Boudins is a space unique in Wallonia, a place of dreams and creativity entirely dedicated to sound and mysteriously nicknamed the “House of Listening”. The building, on the site of the former cavalry and then fire fighters’ barracks, provides Mons with a production, promotion and concert venue for contemporary acoustic and amplified music, known as emerging music… and it even has a “chapel of silence”. Architects Holoffe & Vermeersch, in close collaboration with acoustic research scientist Eckhard Kahle, worked on an original idea of Jean-Paul Dessy, cellist, composer, conductor and artistic director of Musiques Nouvelles, the manège.mons ensemble.

Now go back down the Rue des Arbalestriers, passing the I love Mons project on your right.
Arsonic-grand gradin-visuel.jpg Arsonic-rue de Nimy.jpg
4 “I love Mons” apartments
The "I LOVE MONS" development project comprises 106 prestige apartments in two ultramodern buildings, with retail units and services on the ground floor, 150 spaces in an underground car park and two public squares. All close to the Valenciennois Tower, a vestige of the former Mons fortifications. In other words, the “Mons” of today alongside the medieval city…

Continue along the interior path and go to number 8 Rue des Arbalestriers.

This is the Maison Folie.
Originally a municipal school, then a cultural centre (the local television station was even based there for a time), it has now been converted into a theatre by the Matador architecture studio. The Maison Folie is keen to be as close as possible to those who use it, through innovative contemporary works. A space devoted to works too radical to be put on elsewhere! As well as being defined as somewhere outside the norms, in terms both of its constantly changing spaces and its artistic and cultural offerings, it is also a laboratory, a place of cross-disciplinary cultural and artistic experimentation, where new relationships between art and society are being invented. The public, therefore, does not just come to see the performances or exhibitions, but is invited to participate in the creative process and artistic happenings outside the conventional format. Activities at the Maison Folie cut across a range of disciplines, including theatre, sculpture, digital art, literature, poetry, architecture, etc.

Go up a few metres as far as the Rue des Droits de l’Homme, and you will see the Manège de Sury on your left at number 4.
Maison Folie-intérieur entrée.jpg Maison Folie-intérieur-étage.jpg Maison Folie-intérieur spots.jpg Maison Folie-escaliers.jpg
The Manège de Sury (1850) and the province’s Damoiseaux building, situated opposite the modern architecture of the Courts of Justice, have been renovated by the IDEA into start-up premises, reception facilities and offices for new businesses, with a view to integrating economic activity into the city centre. It is expected to attract small and medium sized businesses in the creative and cultural sectors. In 2015, the building will house one of the temporary exhibitions in the Mons year of culture, “Atopolis”, artists’ views of migration. To return to the Grand-Place, go back up the Rue des Droits de l’Homme and take the road on your left. Continue straight ahead to the RTBF building on the Esplanade Anne-Charlotte de Lorraine. Outside the RTBF building, take the Rue du Gouvernement on your right. Continue straight ahead and you will pass the Palais Provincial dating from the 1950s. Take the Rue de la Raquette directly in front of you. Then turn right and immediately left into the Rue du Miroir. Follow it…and you are back on the Grand-Place.
22 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 43 m
  • End altitude : 58 m
  • Maximum altitude : 58 m
  • Minimum altitude : 39 m
  • Total positive elevation : 22 m
  • Total negative elevation : -8 m
  • Max positive elevation : 14 m
  • Min positive elevation : -5 m