Located at the heart of traditional events and festive occasions, the Grand-Place is lined with café / restaurant terraces and emblematic buildings. Both dynamic and convivial, it’s the ideal meeting point. People meet here for an outing, to go shopping, to take a stroll round town or just to relax over drinks.

A funny symbol...

To the left of the Town Hall entrance porch, you’ll make out the iron figurine of a squatting little monkey. Commonly called “Guardhouse Monkey”, it is undoubtedly the oldest and most famous in Mons. As shy as it looks, it’s just waiting for one thing: someone to stroke its head! Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at the top of its skull, which is shiny after being touched so much.
Legend has it that if you stroke this little creature with your left hand, then you will get least one year of happiness. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying! However, nobody knows how this monkey got there... Now the symbol of Mons, some think it’s the creation of a blacksmith (the monkey being a very popular animal in the Middle Ages), others the sign of an old tavern located in the Town Hall’s cellars or a kind of pillory for troubled children (didn’t they used to say in The Borinage: “Si tu n’es nié sache, ej’té mèn’rai au sinche dé Mons” (If you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the Mons monkey) ?). At any event, the people of Mons, tourists and distinguished guests happily greet this good luck charm when visiting the city!

The game arena of another species

The monkey is not the only animal to bring life to the Grand-Place. Once a year, on Trinity Sunday, the “Dragon” also goes there to confront Saint George during the so-called Lumeçon fight. An intense occasion that brings together crowds and marks the culmination of the Ducasse. And if you’re fearless enough to throw yourself into this crazy sea of people, you can try pulling some of the hair off the tail (del biète): it's also a good luck charm for the coming year!

Other points of interest

When the Grand-Place is not populated by drunken individuals, you can make out a ring of blue stones in its paving. Look at it from a distance or you may miss it! Measuring 12 metres in diameter, it’s better to see the big picture. It’s another symbol for Mons, that of the union of the 19 communes which make up the city.

A few steps from the Tourist Office, you’ll notice the fountain of the Grand-Place. Be careful! Like a geyser, we don’t always know when the water will shoot up from the ground! As the saying goes, don’t trust still waters! When the weather is nice, the kids will have a blast, crisscrossing the fountain under the mirthful (or irritated) gaze of their parents.

A quick photo session?

Among the long succession of facades (all dissimilar!) around the Grand-Place, the Town Hall’s will immediately catch your eye. Adorned with a Baroque bell-tower, it opens the way to a path that will lead you ... Well, go and explore it! If I can say one thing, it’s crazy how much is right underneath our feet and we didn’t know existed. Now it’s time to get your cameras out for a panoramic shot of the Grand-Place, a picture of the Town Hall, a zoom-in on the mascot of Mons, the little monkey, and ... Doesn’t this look like a dragon? Indeed! This outdoor ramp, a work by Garouste, bears witness to the Doudou and the traditional fight between Saint Georges and the beast.

Time for a break

After all, it’s thirsty work being an artist, especially in the sun (and yes, the sun does occasionally make an appearance in Mons). You’ll be spoiled for choice among the terraces spilling out in every direction. You’ve got so many options from the range of different chains. All that remains is to place your order, and if you’re unsure, it will be a good excuse to come back again.

But hold your horses! Before gracing your presence at the Grand-Place, take a detour to the official Mons 2015 store. There’s no better place to find a small souvenir bearing the city’s image.


Are you aware of the Town Hall’s special feature? Besides its secret passages and the sculptures on its facade? Well, would you believe that it should have had a second floor, but it couldn’t be built for financial reasons at the time. The town hall is still impressive and still dominates the neighbouring buildings. And if you go inside, you’ll be surprised by the charm of the different rooms and lounges it houses.