It’s just a short distance south of Brussels but well worth making the trip is Waterloo. This is the right place if you are interested in where Napoleon “met his Waterloo”. The famous Waterloo village gave its name to the battle that changed the course of European history almost 200 years ago in 1815. In Waterloo there are fascinating battle fields to see, an impressive church and an interesting museum. That is not all, Waterloo offers hotel accommodations, restaurants, frite shops and ice cream stands.
You’ll find St. Joseph’s Church next door to the Waterloo Belgium Tourist Office. This church has a distinct green dome and lantern tower. It was consecrated over 300 years ago in 1690, The church was restored twice once in 1844 and in 1968. Inside visitors enjoy seeing the lovely oak wood pulpit which is thought to have been created by Antwerpian Van Hoof.
Another popular attraction in this village is the Wellington Museum, located right across the street from the church. The building was once the command center of the Duke of Wellington, commander of the Allied forces, fighting Napoleon’s Army. Inside the museum you can see documents, engravings, arms and authentic souvenirs associated with the battle. Here visitors can also find out about the role that the seven nations, taking part in the combat, played. There is a series of illuminated diagrams explaining the successive stages of the battle.
Stop by The Battlefield Visitors Center to get information and tickets to see the battlefields. Combination tickets are available. Here you can also shop for souvenirs.
The most impressive and visually stunning of all of the Waterloo attractions is the Butte du Lion or Hill of the Lion. Visitors enjoy taking the 100-meter climb up the high mound for a spectacular view of the fields and pastures that were once the site of the great battle. This monument was built by a bucket brigade of local women who took soil from the battle field. The mound is topped by a 28-ton concrete lion.
You can get an artist’s point of view of the battle inside the Panorama Building. Here you’ll find The Panorama of the Battle a circular naturalistic painting created by Parisian artist Louis Dumoulin, on a canvas that is about 110 meters in circumference. As you view the painting you can hear a soundtrack of battle noises among them bugles blaring and cannon fire.
Around four kilometers to the south of the Butte du Lion is Le Caillou. This is a two-story brick farmhouse at which Napoleon stayed the night before the battle. Here visitors can see such mementos as Napoleon’s army cot and death mask. The museum is a memorial to Napoleon and his war-weary army.