Bastogne, or ‘Nuts Town’: a place of memories and character

Marked very deeply by the Second World War, Bastogne is today a place of indelible memory. Bastogne is also a town of tradition and character that gives its visitors a generous welcome. They love its intriguing eating places, such as Leo, a real railway carriage converted into a restaurant with unusual décor. 

A town steeped in history
 

With its famous battle of the Ardennes, Bastogne opens itself to everyone as a place of collective memory. For example, you can visit  the Bastogne War Museum, and discover the full history of the Battle of the Ardennes, including the famous "Nuts" anecdote of US General McAuliffe. His answer also inspired the now traditional Walnut Fair, held in December.  Other places and attractions remind visitors of those difficult times: the Sherman tank which has pride of place in place MacAuliffe, and the Mardasson memorial, built in honour of the victims of the battle of the Ardennes.

Witness of another era, the Trèves gate welcomes visitors and is an unmissable feature, which motorists pass with curiosity and respect. A relic of the town’s ramparts, it has also been a prison and a guesthouse.   

Of men and traditions
 

The Bastognards are people of tradition and have a reputation of having a calm temperament. Many well-known personalities originate from here, starting with the present Queen of Belgium, Mathilde D'udekem d’Acoz, or Mathilde of Belgium. Another name gives the town an international reputation: Jean-Pierre Lutgen and his successful product, the Ice-Watch. Perhaps less known to the general public, the writer Armel Job taught at the seminary in Bastogne and received several great prizes for his books.

As for the ‘Piches-Cacayes’, they are masked characters of unknown origin. This name is also given to children who are behaving stupidly.

At the heart of nature
 

The other asset of Bastogne is nature and the Ardennes. Lovers of hiking, walking or cycling will enjoy themselves. Also worth a mention is the classic ‘Liège-Bastogne-Liège’ cycle race.