The largest city in Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium), Liege sits on the confluence of the Meuse and Ourthe rivers close to the borders of both Germany and The Netherlands.
Once known as the Cite Ardente, or Burning City, supposedly for the number of former mines in the area, there are many Liege MICE venues of historic note. Every visitor here must obtain the stamina to walk up the 400 steps of the Montagne de Bueren street that leads from Hors-Chateau to the Citadel. Also of note, the city has one of the oldest and best Christmas markets.
The airport here is Liege Airport (LGG), which is five miles west of the city center, but it only serves sun-starved Belgians heading to European and North African beaches during the summer. A more realistic option is Brussels Airport (BRU), which is 60 miles to the northwest and has service to Chicago, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
Of the principal exhibition MICE venues in Liege, Les Halles des Foires de Liege (or Liege Exhibition Halls) has six exhibition halls covering more than 150,000 square feet, as well as having a 40,000-square-foot esplanade for outdoor events.
Liege MICE hotels include the 219-room Alliance Hotel Liege Palais des Congres, which has 10 meeting rooms for up to 260 persons; the 149-room Ramada Plaza Liege, which has 5,700 square feet of meeting space for up to 240 persons; the 126-room Crowne Plaza Liege, which has three meeting rooms for up to 350 persons, and, just outside the city center, Le Chateau de Saint-Nicolas, which was built in 1835 ( and again after being destroyed in World War II) and has ornate function space for up to 200 persons. One surprise here, although sadly it comes with no meeting space, is the seven-room Hotel Riad, which is a Moroccan riad-style property with a small spa.
Unique spots for private functions include the Cercle de Wallonie, or Castle of Val Saint-Lambert, a former Cistercian abbey with some modern additions that has a bar, restaurant, terrace, 18 meeting rooms, and space for approximately 1,000 persons; Chateau de Harze, one of the most dramatic looking fortresses in the area, which is 20 miles south of Liege and has a restaurant, a bar in a former dungeon, six meeting rooms, 23 guest rooms, and function space in its largest area for up to 230 persons; art museum Grand Curtius, which opened in 2009 with a mixture of history and technology in its collections, and has an auditorium for 100 persons and gallery space for 200; and the Societe Litteraire, or Literary Society, building, which is very ornate, with interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries (the society was founded in 1779) and which has grand, salons for up to 200 persons. Approximately 40 miles southeast of Liege is the famous Stavelot Abbey (founded in around 650), which still has monks present and has room for up to 650 persons, and the capability of serving dinners in spectacular, arched spaces; it is also very close to the Formula-1 racetrack at Spa.
Excellent choices of restaurants include Le Theme, which might be the most celebrated restaurant in the city; As Ouhes, which is translated as "On the Bone" and is in a 17th-century building overlooking the city's town hall and Perron, a small statue that is in the city's coat of arms and signifies liberty and justice; modern Rotisserie Septime with a French menu; L'Ecailler, which has had the same chef-owner for more than 30 years, is in the center of the city, and can host private groups of up to 35 persons; and Le Bruit qui Court, which has a French menu and elegant, artsy confines.