Charleroi is a lively city with a blue-collar past. The city helped power the Industrial Revolution and is proud of its gritty narrative. Visit a museum located on a former coal mining site and discover the city’s newfound passion for the arts at museums, galleries and theatres.
Things to do in Charleroi
Learn about the city’s industrial legacy at Le Bois du Cazier, a former coal mining site repurposed as a local history museum. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is set in 25 hectares of parkland and features larger-than-life buildings, equipment and machinery. Live blacksmithing, glassblowing and metal forgery demonstrations are held in the workshops. Trails wind through the woodlands and take you past enormous slag heaps now covered in grass and trees.
Musée de la Photographie showcases a dizzying collection of works from throughout the centuries. The museum occupies a former 19th-century convent, with a modern extension that gives the building an avant-garde feel. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum features hands-on exhibits on developing photos and image retouching.
Dress up for a night of culture at Les Ecuries Theatre. The theatre is home to Charleroi Danse, one of the most acclaimed contemporary dance companies in Europe. It’s housed in a former horse stable and features beautiful brickwork and an enormous stage. Arrive early to enjoy a drink at the bar before the show begins.
Admire works by Belgian painters from the 19th and 20th centuries at the Museum of Fine Arts. The collection of René Magritte surrealist paintings is one of the finest in Europe. You’ll also see Neo Classical portraits by François-Joseph Navez, tongue-in-cheek caricatures by Felicien Rops and whimsical landscapes by Anna Boch.
Getting around Charleroi
Charleroi is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while trains, buses and the metro are a fast and affordable way to get around the city. Trains run between Brussels Central Station to Charleroi Zuid Station in one hour. Charleroi Airport is a 10-minute drive from the city centre.