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Visiting the Église Saint-Vincent: A Domed Presence Looming Over the Meuse River at Liège, Belgium, by Robert Toussaint

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Liège : Fragnée Bridge over the Meuse and the Église Saint-Vincent

Liège : Fragnée Bridge over the Meuse and the Église Saint-Vincent

An imposing, domed profile

Close to its confluence with the Ourthe River, the Meuse River at Liège, Belgium is overlooked by the looming presence of the Église Saint-Vincent: a memorable footfall in the consciousness of visitors to the city.

The building is the work of architect Robert Toussaint (1). Stylistically, the structure has been interpreted as being variously in Art Deco, Neo-Byzantine and Modernist styles. It dates from 1930. Significantly, one of the facts associated with the building is its innovative use of reinforced concrete, less usual for its period.

Among the crowning features of the Église Saint-Vincent is its massive domed roof, complemented by a series of other domes; it is this collective feature which gives the structure its partly Neo-Byzantine appearance. Its Art Deco elements include the geometric lines of its windows and surfaces (2).

The occasion for the building of the Église Saint-Vincent was the holding of the International Exhibition of 1930 (French: Exposition internationale de 1930), intended as a recent example of local craftsmanship.

The Église Saint-Vincent is located at the intersection of Avenue Albert Mahiels and Boulevard Émile de Laveleyein, in the Fétinne suburb of Liège, in Belgium's Walloon Region (French: Région wallonne).

A personal note: Many years ago I nearly rented accommodation within a very short distance from this massive Liège landmark, which would have made for rather impressive directions for visitors. I subsequently lived not far from the Pont de Fragnée (seen in part in the photo which I have supplied, above).

November 23, 2020


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(1) Other works by Architect Toussaint include Notre Dame de Bon-Secours and the Église Saint-Hubert (joint collaboration with his son Jean-Marie Toussaint); see also (in French): Architect Robert Toussaint was noted as being closely associated with ecclesiastical circles locally.

(2) In some ways, the Église de Saint-Vincent is stylistically similar to the Koekelberg Basilica (French: Basilique de Koekelberg; Dutch: Basiliek van Koekelberg), Brussels (French: Bruxelles; Dutch: Brussel), albeit on a smaller scale. Again, like Robert Toussaint's work at Fétinne, Liège, the building at Koekelberg evidences Art Deco influences and offers an imposing, domed presence to the skyline of northern Brussels, with which coach travellers from London, England have long been familiar as they approach their journey's end.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Nocturnal photo of the Église Saint-Vincent, Liège (Fétinne) Photo de nuit de l'Eglise Saint-Vincent à Liège (Fétinne).

Nocturnal photo of the Église Saint-Vincent, Liège (Fétinne) Photo de nuit de l'Eglise Saint-Vincent à Liège (Fétinne).

Also worth seeing

In Liège itself, visitor attractions include: the Fine Arts Palace (French: Palais des Beaux-Arts), in the Parc de la Boverie on Outremeuse Island; the Cointe Basilica and other, fine ecclesiastical architecture, some of it Medieval; the Zénobe Gramme Monument close to the Fragnée Bridge; the Perron; the Bueren Mountain; the equestrian statue of Charlemagne, and many others.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York (JFK) to Brussels Airport, where car hire is available (distance from Brussels Airport to Liège : 94 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains a service from Brussels to Liège . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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