Located just 1 hour from Brussels, Mons is a city rich in history and tradition. The town hall building on the Grand Place of Mons, constructed between 1458 and 1477, has a Belfry, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Van Gogh also spent some time near Mons before moving on to Provence. His house, an authentic and preserved environment, now houses a permanent exhibition of reproductions and an audio-visual show in various languages, including English.
The most important event of the year, however, is the Ducasse de Mons or the Doudou, dating back to 1349 and the Fraternity of Saint George. Each June, the city of Mons is filled with visitors who come to witness the reenactment of Saint George slaying the Dragon. As the dragon swings its tail at the crowd, spectators try to grab the tail and pull out its hair and ribbons, both of which bring good luck. This popular festival is recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In 2015 Mons will be the European Capital of Culture.