17 must-see things to do in the province of Walloon Brabant

Brabant Wallon

A trip to Belgium? Plan to visit the province of Walloon Brabant and its dazzling sites!

South of Brussels, Belgium’s capital, lies a region that deserves your undivided attention. Walloon Brabant is the country’s smallest province.

Yet he’s not short of attractions or stories to tell. Let him tell you about the most exciting events of his past.

It will also take you on a tour of its natural, artistic and entertaining heritage. A whole program awaits you during your Belgian stay.

Discover what to do in Walloon Brabant with our selection of activities. Get moving!

1. Villiers-la-Ville Abbey

Abbaye de Villers (Villers-la-Ville) visiter la province de Brabant-Wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Abbaye de Villers (Villers-la-Ville)

Halfway between Brussels and Charleroi, Villiers-la-Ville is home to an architectural treasure: its abbey. It’s undoubtedly one of the must-see excursions in Walloon Brabant. Built in the 12th century, it was home to Cistercian monks. Today, only its walls bear witness to the grandeur of the place.

The abbey seems illuminated by a divine light when the sun’s rays shine through its openings. Take a stroll through its gardens, classified as a Walloon Park and Garden.

2. Waterloo Memorial Museum

Visiting the province of Walloon Brabant invites you to immerse yourself in its military history. Visit the Waterloo 1815 Memorial Museum.

Waterloo, the key site of the Napoleonic Wars, offers a playful look back at this episode. Staged scenes, 3D film and animations retrace the story, based on the work of passionate researchers.

3. La Butte du Lion

Right next to the Waterloo memorial, the Butte du Lion soars into the sky. If you’re feeling up to it, climb the 226 steps.

They take you 40 metres above the battlefield. This small hill is topped by a lion sculpture. The animal represents the monarchies allied and victorious against Napoleon I.

The mound was commissioned to commemorate the wound inflicted on the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands during the battle.

4. Hougoumont farm

Ferme Waterloo

Photo credit: Facebook – Les balades de Looloo & Linoo

History buffs should be delighted by this outing. The Hougoumont farm is probably the most significant place on the day of June 18, 1815.

English and French troops fought it out right here. And to say the least, the fighting was extremely violent.

The buildings were practically reduced to rubble. Rediscover the decisive moments as you follow the path punctuated by documents and multimedia.

5. La ferme du Caillou

Ferme du Caillou

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Kelisi

To visit the province of Walloon Brabant and learn about its history, the Caillou farm is an essential stop-off point. The building was requisitioned by Napoleon I to house his headquarters.

He spent the night of June 17-1815 there, before the crucial confrontation. You’ll see the emperor’s cot, weapons and testimonies.

6. Château d’Hélécine park

Parc du Chateau d'Hélicine visiter la province du brabant wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Château d’Hélécine

Wondering what to do in the province of Walloon Brabant? We recommend a stroll through the grounds of this 18th-century château.

Although the monument is not open to the public, its exterior is well worth a visit. You’ll enjoy stretching your legs around the four magnificent ponds. Children will marvel at the free-roaming animals.

An archaeological interpretation museum (MiaBW) is hidden away in the park. Exhibitions, lectures and an excavation simulator are sure to delight.

7. The Hergé Museum

Musée Hergé

Photo credit: Facebook – Musée Hergé

If you devour The Adventures of Tintin, this is the trip for you! The Musée Hergé, author of the famous comic strip, is located in Louvain-la-Neuve.

Here you can admire permanent and temporary exhibitions on the life and work of Georges Remi. In case you didn’t know, Georges Remi is Hergé’s real name. This museum will captivate young and old alike with its varied media.

8. The L

Musée Louvain visiter la province Bralan Wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Musée L – Musée universitaire de Louvain

Stay close! Just a 10-minute walk from the Hergé Museum, the L Museum offers an artistic stopover. The collections of the University of Leuven invite you to visit the province of Walloon Brabant in an unexpected way.

In this recently opened museum, dialogue is at the heart of the museographic concept. Attend our thematic guided tours. These bring the curious closer to the works, their discovery or their creation.

In order to create the right dialogue between them, you may be surprised by their cohabitation. These works are not arranged according to period or provenance, but rather according to how they interact.

An emotion they exude, for example. Sometimes not obvious at first glance, the guides will point you in the right direction.

9. The Solvay domain

Domaine Solvay

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Elly Mens

Just 15 kilometers from Brussels and Wavre, La Hulpe reveals its nugget: the Domaine Solvay. If you don’t know what to do in the province of Walloon Brabant, we suggest a visit to this 227-hectare park.

Three trails take you through the estate, which has been classified as one of Wallonia’s outstanding heritage sites. Forêt de Soignes, ponds and gardens take you on a bucolic journey.

At the heart of the estate is Château de La Hulpe, former home of Count Solvay. Like the Château d’Hélécine, it is not open to the public.

10. The Folon Foundation

Fondation Folon visiter la province du Brabant wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Fondation Folon

The Solvay estate is open to art. During your walk, stop off at the château’s farm and discover the work of artist Folon. 500 sculptures, paintings and other works are on display.

Folon himself designed the scenography to offer you the most logical and entertaining experience possible. The entire exhibition is accessible to the disabled.

The funds raised will be used to constantly improve the way we welcome all kinds of visitors.

11. The collegiate church of Sainte-Gertrude

Collegiale Sainte Gertrude

Photo credit: Facebook – Maison du Tourisme du Roman Païs – Nivelles

One of the must-sees in the province of Walloon Brabant is a visit to the collegiate church of Sainte-Gertrude. This magnificent monument is considered one of the greatest Romanesque buildings in the world!

You’re looking at an architectural masterpiece. Built in the 11th century on the foundations of former churches, the collegiate church owes its name to its first abbess.

Gertrude was the daughter of Pepin the Elder, and thus of the same family as Charlemagne. As you explore, you can admire the nave, cloister and basement revealing the archaeological excavations.

On the outside, one detail may have caught your eye. On the south tower hangs a strange figure. It’s Jean de Nivelles, or Djan Djan, a copper automaton that strikes the bell every hour.

12. Rixensart Castle

Chateau Rixensart visiter la province du Brabant Wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Bob Corluy

Although the seigneury has existed since the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the château took on its current appearance.

Brick walls, slate roofs, mullioned windows and loggias make it unique. It is still inhabited by the de Mérode family. The château is open by reservation only from spring to autumn.

After this romantic outing, you won’t regret visiting the province of Walloon Brabant.

13. Wellington Museum

Musée Wellington

Photo credit: Facebook – Musée Wellington

Let’s take a final look back at the Battle of Waterloo with one of its key figures, the Duke of Wellington.

Leader of the British troops, he led his soldiers to victory after bloody battles with Napoleon I. The museum tour invites you to take a behind-the-scenes look at the war from the other side of the mirror.

In this former inn, you’ll discover the duke’s bedroom and other rooms. Follow the events leading up to the triumph!

14. The caves of Folx-les-Caves

Grottes de Folx les Caves visiter Province du Brabant Wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Natuurgids oud-heverlee

If you want to visit the province of Walloon Brabant from top to bottom, a detour to the caves of Folx-les-Caves is a must. You’ll need to go to the commune of Orp-Jauche.

Just a few meters underground lies an unsuspected world. The caves open to the public cover an area of six hectares. A veritable labyrinth was discovered by the Racourt family after an earthquake in the 19th century.

The date of « construction » is not known. However, we do know that these cavities were dug by human hands several centuries ago.

In turn, they served as wartime shelters, tool warehouses and mushroom beds. Venture into the caves for a trip into the bowels of the earth!

15. Mont-Saint-Jean farm

Ferme de Mont-Saint-Jean

Photo credit: Facebook – Ferme de Mont-Saint-Jean

« Another stop at Waterloo, » you might ask! « But what else is there to do in the province of Walloon Brabant other than talk about the battle?

This time, we’re taking you on a totally different, more gourmet journey. The farm brings together a micro-brewery, a restaurant, a micro-distillery and a museum… Let’s face it, the museum is about war.

However, the microbrewery invites you to explore other facets of Waterloo, including its beers. The town has been famous for its beverages since the 15th century.

If you’re more curious about the micro-distillery, take a look at the distillation of gin and whisky.

16. Bois-Seigneur-Isaac castle

Chateau bois seigneur Isaac visiter province du Brabant Wallon

Photo credit: Facebook – Journées du Patrimoine en Wallonie

The last château in our selection, Bois-Seigneur-Isaac is a real eye-catcher. This former medieval fortress was transformed into a handsome residence in the 18th century.

Since 1993, the château has been listed as one of Wallonia’s outstanding heritage sites. Its superb facades, imposing wooden staircase and beautiful library are well worth a visit.

Enjoy a visit, necessarily guided, during Open House or Heritage Days. You can also make an appointment all year round.

After this journey through time, extend your pleasure in the park. It covers seven hectares of land! French and English gardens share this infinite exterior.

17. Walibi

Walibi Belgique

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Felipe Mahecha

Visiting the province of Walloon Brabant without stopping off at Walibi is certainly unthinkable for children! Adventure trails, rides and attractions will blow your mind.

It’s time to fill up on sensations of varying degrees of excitement. With 50 different activities, there’s something for everyone in this vast park.

All you have to do is let off steam and have fun until you’re exhausted! A sensational day is in store during your stay.

How do I get to the province of Walloon Brabant?

Have you worked out what you want to do in the province of Walloon Brabant? Now all you have to do is plan your trip.

By car

If you’re driving from Paris, drive to Wavre, the provincial capital. Take the A1 freeway, then the A2. At the Belgian border, take the E19, then the N25. 314km separate the two towns. Allow around 3 hours for the journey.

By train

An escape by train doesn’t take much longer than by car. From Paris, you’ll need to take a connecting train to Wavre. The journey takes between 3h and 3h30.

By plane

Would you like to fly? Fly to Brussels, then take the train to Wavre. In our opinion, flying is not the most attractive option from Paris, as it takes 5 hours. However, we do recommend it if you’re flying from Bordeaux, Marseille or Toulouse. With Skyscanner, you’re sure to find the best deals for your trip.

Where to stay in the province of Walloon Brabant?

Before visiting the province of Walloon Brabant, it’s a good idea to check into your accommodation. By staying in Wavre, Nivelles or Louvain-la-Neuve, you’ll be close to the sites you don’t want to miss.

Would you like to book a hotel? An average night in Wavre costs €80. To make the right choice, you can use a hotel comparator. If you prefer to rent an Airbnb, you’ll find entire accommodations located in Wavre for €50 a night.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Walloon Brabant