Normally, winter isn’t the time of year I think about visiting castles in Belgium. Cold stone walls, drafty windows and desolate, frozen gardens don’t make for an ideal Château experience. However, Christmas at the Château de Modave makes this Belgian castle a worthwhile winter visit.
The Château de Modave sits, perched on a rock, 60 metres (200 feet) above the Hoyoux river in the province of Liège, Belgium. The oldest parts of the castle date from the 13th century, but the building you can visit today was primarily rebuilt in the mid 1600s.
The Château was owned by Jean-Gaspard-Ferdinand de Marchin throughout the 1600s, and is also known as the Château des Comtes de Marchin. Over the years, Château de Modave has been owned by numerous noble families until, in 1941, it was purchased by the Intercommunale Bruxelloise des Eaux (“Brussels Intercommunal Water Company” or Vivaqua). The company opened Modave to the public and has been conducting restorations with Wallonia Heritage ever since.
The Château de Modave is off the beaten path in Wallonia. First you pass through the city of Huy and continue to the village of Modave, where you drive up to the top of the rock the castle is perched upon.
As we parked our car and headed toward the main gate, the size of the Château and its outbuildings was imposing. We stepped through the gatehouse and crunched down the gravel, past a fountain and up to the front door. A sign in four languages told us to ring the bell and enter.
Stepping inside the main foyer, we were at once transported to an ancient castle interior and modern Christmas wonderland. It was a strange juxtaposition but beautiful nonetheless.
At the ticket desk we paid our admission and were given audio guides (available in 5 languages) and began our tour.
The Château de Modave is filled with beautiful furniture, tapestries, stucco work and art which you can enjoy year round. In addition, at Christmastime, each room is decorated in a different holiday theme. Some of the themes worked better than others, and a couple came off as a bit too tacky for the lovely Château surroundings, but overall it was festive and lovely.
Here are a few of our favourite rooms:
The tour includes a step out onto the balcony to enjoy the view of the river below, as well as a look into the many bedrooms, drawing rooms and the cellars below the castle. There is also a bistro on site if you need a snack.
The Christmas decorations are in place in 2017 from December 9th until January the 7th. If you miss them this time, don’t hesitate to visit the Château de Modave when it opens April 1st for the season. Even without the Christmas theme, this Belgian castle is well worth a visit.
Looking for even more festive ideas? Don’t miss our Christmas Markets in Belgium and Europe page – compete with a Christmas Market schedule.
Château de Modave
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For more great castle articles, be sure to visit our Castles in Belgium page where you’ll find links to all of the castles in our little country.
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