a visit to ypres

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday so what better to do during the holiday season than to visit a Christmas market? We decided to take a little drive over the border to visit the market in Ypres (Ieper in Dutch), Belgium.

This was our very first visit to the town, and besides looking up information on the Christmas market, we didn’t really know what to expect.

With a population of about 35,000, Ypres is a very cute little city and well known for its strategic position during WWI. The town center is small and pedestrian friendly like many European cities. We parked about a kilometer (less than a mile) away and quickly walked the rest of the way.

Expecting to only spend time at the market, we took Elliot along with us. Though as it’s the holiday season, everything was open and the town was packed. Elliot was going crazy with all the other dogs around us as people had the same idea to bring along their four legged family members.

The Christmas market was small and packed with people. You couldn’t really see much. That said, you’re more likely able to get drunk than actually find gifts or other objects. Most of the stands were selling mulled wine and shots of Jenever (Dutch gin).

We opted to bypass the Jenever (though I had my fair share of shots of it at the Leuven Christmas market a few years ago) and snacked on some freshly made liègeois waffles outside a cute little shop. We were also able to pick up a few last minute Christmas gifts (hello, Jenever!), so the little trip was well worth it.

We hope to go back after winter (and sans Elliot) to visit the town properly. As it’s just a little over half an hour away from Lille, it’ll be easy to go again soon.

Here are some photos from our day trip to Ypres:

Menin Gate Memorial – Menin Gate remembers Commonwealth servicemen with no known grave. With more than 54,000 names inscribed, it is one of the largest Commonwealth memorials. It is also the entry way into the town center.

alostbilingue menin gate


Ypres town center

alostbilingue ypres

alostbilingue ypres


Cloth Hall

alostbilingue ypres

alostbilingue ypres


Ypres Christmas market (unfortunately, there were too many people to really take photos)

alostbilingue ypres christmas market

alostbilingue ypres christmas market


Elliot did not really appreciate having to be carried out of fear of him getting trampled.

alostbilingue ypres elliot


And of course, no trip to Belgium is complete without a yummy waffle!alostbilingue ypres waffle


Have you ever visited Ypres? What did you think? What should we visit next time?



7 thoughts on “a visit to ypres

  1. I used to go a lot for work when I lived in the NPdC. There is the ‘Last Post’ ceremony every evening at the Menin Gate, which is worth seeing, pretty moving. You might like to look up details as I believe they sometimes have special visitors to the ceremony (by coincidence, there was a group from New Zealand there one time that I went), so there may be wreath laying or military bands etc. in addition to the regular ceremony. The WWI memorial museum in the Cloth Hall is also worth seeing – it’s going back over 7 years since I was there, but I’m sure with the centenary it won’t have been neglected. And if you’re especially interested, there are a lot of WWI sites to visit in the area, including places where you can visit the trenches. You may remember I mentioned Beaumont-Hamel in my favourite places in France (it’s in the Somme, not Belgium, obviously).


  2. Pingback: christmas in franche-comté | Almost Bilingue

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