Once the epicentre of one of Belgium’s main industrial areas, home to glassworks, coal mines and iron foundries, the twentieth century wasn’t kind to CHARLEROI, and its outskirts and, for that matter, its centre is not among the country’s most alluring prospects. It’s best known these days for being the home of Brussels’ second airport, and with that impetus it’s busy trying to re-invent itself – and although there’s a long way yet to go, it hasn’t done a bad job. Its centre is bustling and cosmopolitan, there are plenty of good places to eat and drink and, with three comfortable hotels, it’s not a bad place to break your journey if you’re travelling either to the Botte du Hainaut or east to the Ardennes.

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