About 8km northeast of Stavelot, and connected to it (and Trois Ponts) by regular buses, the bustling resort of MALMÉDY is a popular tourist destination, its attractive streets flanked by lively restaurants, smart shops and cheap hotels. There’s not much to the town, but it’s a pleasant place to spend a night or two and makes a relatively inexpensive base for the Hautes Fagnes. Malmédy is also home to the Cwarmê, one of Belgium’s most famous festivals, held over the four days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. The main knees-up is the Sunday, during which roving groups of masked figures in red robes and plumed hats – the so-called Haguètes – wander around town seizing people with long wooden pincers derived, it’s thought, from the devices that were once used to give food to lepers. The Musée du Cwarmê on place de Rome has displays on the carnival, although at time of writing it was closed to visitors. The town’s compact centre runs from here to the main square, place Albert 1er, off of which is the imposing but somewhat plain eighteenth-century cathedral, surrounded by a clutch of fancy Germanic buildings.
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