This secluded cobblestone enclave is full of nooks and crannies to explore.

Begijnhof, Kortrij, Flanders by Emma ThomsonKortrijk’s begijnhof is one of my  favourites: a totally secluded cobblestone enclave full of nooks and crannies to explore. Be sure to visit the 15th-century Kapel Sint-Matthews with its rich interior and gold chandeliers. Its adjoining museum is closed for renovation until 2014, but there’s a small room behind the welcome desk displaying old photos. Silver medallions and candles are on sale if you’d like to make an offering. 

(Photo: © Emma Thomson)

Kortijk is very close to the Wallonian border, and consequently is quite French with good shopping and a burgeoning café culture. The city also blends old and modern very well: from the traditional Sint-Elizabethbegijnhof to the seven modern bridges, which connect Buda Island to the city centre and span the newly widened River Leie.

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