Five museum visits to escape the sweltering heat

Five museum visits to escape the sweltering heat
Visitors admire a painting of Belgian Flemish Primitive painter Jan Van Eyck at the exhibition "Jan Van Eyck, Early Netherlandish painting and Southern Europe (1430-1530)", Thursday 14 March 2002 at the Groeninge Museum in Brugge. BELGA PHOTO OLIVIER MATTHYS

During periods of hot weather, we sometimes wonder what we can do to keep busy and entertained during the holiday without sweltering under the relentless sun. Some museums provide good opportunities to enjoy a day out in comfortable environments.

Here are five addresses in Wallonia and Brussels where you can spend some time during the summer without turning into a

sweaty mess.

The Bastogne War Museum and the Bois Jacques

An exhibit at the Bastogne War Museum. Photo credit: Wallonia Tourism

With its theme of the Battle of the Bulge, this museum is already immersed in winter and the freezing cold of this chapter of the Second World War. In July, the Bastogne War Museum opened a new exhibition area called "Generation 45,” a section that looks at the end of the war and the post-war period in Belgium.

In addition to this museum extension, a new dynamic animation in the shade of the nearby forest is now available. A guided tour of the Bois Jacques, complemented by a series of videos featuring historical information, is accessible via an application. There are codes to scan in specific points to hear stories from the forest.

Made famous by an episode of the historical series "Band of Brothers," Bois Jacques once suffered under a deluge of visitors. It is now only accessible via a ticket from the Bastogne War Museum.

What: Bastogne War Museum

Where: Colline du Mardasson 5, 6600 Bastogne, Belgium

When: 9:30 to 19:00 daily

More information can be found on their website. 

The Natural History Museum of Tournai

Children peer into a live display at The Natural History Museum of Tournai. Photo credit: The Natural History Museum of Tournai

Freshly renovated after several months of work, the Natural History Museum of Tournai is welcoming visitors again, since July. The place had to be brought into electrical conformity and took the opportunity to improve its staging with better lighting and a new sound system. There have been no enormous upheavals, but the changes have contributed to an improved visitor experience.

Visitors can also enjoy the science garden outside the museum, which includes an outdoor tour with enclosures and a butterfly greenhouse; a building that is worth a look as much as its specimens, and one that should keep you cool for a few hours.

What: The Natural History Museum of Tournai

Where: de l'Hôtel de ville, Cour d'Honneur, Rue Saint-Martin 52, 7500 Tournai, Belgium

When: 9:30 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 17:00 daily; closed on Tuesdays

For more information, visit the museum's website.

The Archaeological Museum of Haute-Meuse

Credit: The Archaeological Museum of Haute-Meuse

Water can also be a good source of refreshment, although in this case there is no question of drinking it. In Godinne, between Namur and Dinant, the Archaeological Museum of Haute-Meuse unveils various artefacts from the various excavations in the river and its tributaries.

A ticket entitles you to access the permanent exhibition but also to the temporary exhibitions. This summer, the exhibition is dedicated to underwater archaeology and the remains still buried in the bed of the Meuse with more than 300 objects dating from prehistory to the present day.

What: The Archaelogical Museum of Haute-Meuse

Where: Rue du Prieuré 1, 5530 Yvoir, Belgium

When: 13:30 to 17:00 daily; closed on Saturdays and Mondays

For more information visit their website. 

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The Museum of Illusions in Brussels

Credit: The Museum of Illusions in Brussels

The museum about optical illusions, the largest of its kind in Europe, opened its doors on 30 June in the heart of Brussels, at the Théâtre de la Gaité.

“The visitor discovers that what the brain decodes through the senses is not necessarily reality," says Damir Cicak, director of the museum.

An experience which attempts to break the cliché of the boring museum visit, there are many elements put forward to interest children. No less than 60 installations spread over 700 square metres aim to reveal the mysteries of perception and brain functioning.

What: The Museum of Illusions in Brussels

Where: Rue du Fossé aux Loups 18, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

When: 10:00 to 20:00 daily

For more information on the museum, visit their website. 

The Musée de la Gourmandise and its bookshop

Charles Xavier Menage, curator of the museum, talking with two guests. Photo credit: The Musée de la Gourmandise

Since 1995, Engis has been home to the "Musée de la Gourmandise" which is dedicated to the art of the table. The museum contains many kitchen utensils as well as dishes.

Additionally, the museum takes you to a barn dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Transformed into a bookstore, the space houses more than 20,000 books, including a section dedicated to cookbooks.

Every first Sunday of the month, a guided walk with the sweet name "Nature gourmand" is available to visitors, allowing them to learn more about edible plants.

What: The Musée de la Gourmandise

Where: 4480 Engis, Belgium

When: open by appointment

For more information, visit their website. 

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