To the northeast of Mons you cross the border into Brabant, whose southern French-speaking districts – known as Brabant Walloon – form a band of countryside that rolls up to and around Waterloo, which is now pretty much a suburb of Brussels. Nivelles is the obvious distraction en route, an amiable, workaday town worth a visit for its interesting church as well as its proximity to the beguiling ruins of the Cistercian abbey at Villers-la-Ville, a short car ride away (train travellers have to make the trip via Charleroi). The Hergé museum, meanwhile, is the highlight of the otherwise entirely missable new town of Louvain-la-Neuve.

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