Liège thoughts

BrelWe were invited by very near and dear friends to the wedding of their son in a leafy Liège suburb. The weather today has been simply gorgeous; blue sky, warm sun, but fresh air – real Indian summer stuff. Arriving in Liège on the motorway, you get a grandstand view of Santiago Calatrava’s new Liège Guillemins station, a vast swoop of white steel and reinforced glass. I am sure the interior is beautifully spectacular, but from the outside it looks almost too big for its surroundings (note to self: catch train to Liège soon and check out inside). The wedding was very, very nice and hugely touching. The young couple’s friends sang (and sang very well) throughout the ceremony, accompanied by other friends on guitars. So we had Emilie (thank you, Emilie) singing Jacques Brel’s ‘Quand on a que l’amour’ with Christophe on guitar. It’s not the easiest of songs to sing, but Emilie pulled it off brilliantly. We also had Extreme’s ‘More than words’, with excellent harmonies, sung by Pascale and Romain (the latter on guitar) and Cindy Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’, sung by Emilie and Pascale, accompanied by Romain. The readings were well chosen, the parish priest was young and relaxed, and the congregation radiated happiness. Additional poignancy came from the fact that our friends had got married in the very same church just over thirty years ago. Coming back to the Brel, everybody was saying afterwards how it had given them goosebumps or brought tears to their eyes. If it were simply a poem, it would be brilliant (‘Quand on a que l’amour/Pour tracer un chemin/Et forcer le destin/A chaque Carrefour.’). You can hear the original version on YouTube ( The reception afterwards was in an old converted brick and stone farmhouse set in the rolling countryside around Liège that, with its tree-studded fields, reminded me a little of the English countryside. We got talking to a Belgian couple from Malmédy. Though we were speaking in French, she was a Germanophone. Her husband, from the same village, was a Francophone. Their children spoke German, but studied in French. The sun shone, the champagne sparkled, the happy buzz from the ceremony had been carried over to the reception. It’s on such occasions that I am reminded how pleasant and how interesting it is to live in Belgium.

1 Comment

  1. Jon Worth

    I’m afraid inside the station is disappointing at the moment – the roof cost so much and was so delayed that the rest of the station has not been finished… Give it another 5 years and then it will be good.

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