Our family's first tourist outing was to Beloeil which is known as the Versailles of Belgium. If you have been to Versailles, it is best to just ignore this comparison and appreciate this castle for its own charms rather than note the many ways it is not Versailles.
On Thursday afternoon Kyle and I led our jet lagged and jaded kids to this Belgian site. Beloeil is beautiful from the exterior. Like all castles should, it has a wide and generous moat.
The interior self-guided tour was OK. We bought the guide book in English (2.50 euros) and read it as we walked along. The castle has many paintings, tapestries and antique furnishings belonging to the Ligne family. Perhaps if we had known more about the Princes and Princesses of de Ligne this would have been more interesting.
Our exploration of the castles' gardens was more enjoyable. Several small gardens surround the lake on the side of the castle. There were hedges with windows, doorways and arches. In some there were small ponds. In others were trees grown to form an avenue. The afternoon's weather was lovely and it was a pleasant stroll through the grounds.
While we probably won't make a return visit, it was an enjoyable afternoon and an introduction to the history and culture of our new Belgian home.
If you'd like to see a bit more about the castle, you can click here.