Hidden Belgium: Georges Simenon’s Liège

Hidden Belgium: Georges Simenon’s Liège

Not many tourists cross the Pont des Arches in Liège to explore the left bank. They are missing the most authentic quarter of the city, where writers, artists and anarchists have settled for centuries.

The crime writer Georges Simenon was born on the more respectable right bank, but spent most of his youth in Outremeuse, where he found inspiration for his Inspector Maigret novels.

“Liège is present in all my novels, even if they are set in Nantes or Charleroi,” he once wrote.

This ancient quarter is still a fascinating warren of narrow lanes, religious shrines and strange processions, its fierce independence kept alive by the Commune Libre de Saint Pholien des Prés.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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