The Mons region has many places of interest to make your trip even more rewarding.

Take, for example, Van Gogh's House, in Cuesmes. The famous impressionist painter lived in this modest property house from 1879-1880. During this period, Van Gogh dedicated himself to the evangelisation of the region's miners, but it’s believed that he began painting his famous landscapes following his stay in Cuesmes.

The museum houses the original painting Les Bêcheurs.

In Hornu, 8km from Mons, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art of the French community of Belgium is a must. The museum is located on the site of the former Grand-Hornu collieries and features on the UNESCO world heritage of humanity list.

The site is on an industrial complex that was originally designed as a model town for workers. Until 1954, 2,500 people lived and worked there. 

In Frameries, at the heart of Hainaut, the PASS, Scientific Adventure Park, built on the site of a former colliery, explores the exciting world of science in a way that appeals to everyone, of all ages. It includes 10 interactive exhibitions dealing with different themes, such as materials, genetics, health and money.

Head along the Canal du Centre where you can admire several technical marvels, such as the fantastic hydraulic lifts which are unique in Europe and are entirely powered by the force of water. With the help of Archimedes' principle, the largest of the lifts, Strepy-Thieu, can raise boats of up to 1,350 tonnes by more than 70 metres.

The Gilles Carnival in Binche also features on the UNESCO world heritage list. Masks, costumes and accessories are made in the utmost secrecy throughout the year, and then the town celebrates for several weeks, with the keynote Mardi Gras parade dating back to 1549.

While in Binche, you can also visit the International Carnival and Mask Museum – the only one of its kind in Europe. The museum houses a collection of carnival masks and costumes from around the world.

From there, it's just a short hop to the Distillery of Biercée where you can sample a delicious brandy.

The Château and Park of Beloeil, near Ath, around 20km from Mons, will delight lovers of decorative arts and luxurious interiors. In one sumptuous bedroom you can find the superb four-poster bed which Marie-Antoinette enjoyed so much she ordered an exact replica in Versailles.

With over 20,000 works, the library is also well worth a visit and the park is a real gem. The French gardens earned Beloeil its nickname "the Belgian Versailles".