I huffed and puffed my way up these stairs along with the other tourists. I was surprised how this ‘tourist attraction’ encouraged people who would normally take the lift to tackle the stair challenge.
Three hundred and seventy-four steps over 260 metres, with an average rise of 1 metre in every 4.9 metres. Baldwin Street is 1 m in every 3.4 m and Sky Tower has 1,267 steps so not too strenuous!
Three climbs of Montagne de Bueren during my visit to Liege, Belgium, resulted in my best time of 4 minutes and 59 seconds. There is much room for improvement as, according to Strava, the best women’s time is 1 minute 30 seconds, held by Julie Struzik. Olivier Miny holds the fastest man’s time in 1 minute.
The steps of Montagne de Bueren were built in 1881 to give soldiers’ access to the citadel at the top of the hill from the city below. The namesake of these steps is Vincent de Bueren who co-led, with Gossuin de Streel, an uprising against the dominating Duke of Burgundy (Charles the Bold) in 1468. The rebellion was not successful and the Duke of Burgundy’s men killed de Bueren and his 600 men – or so the story goes.
The wide steps are lined with houses; there is no vehicle access so it takes a special kind of person to reside on Montagne de Bueren. Those who live near the top have the view over the city and the Meuse River.
Once I got to the top I was able to enjoy the vista and watch the “thank goodness I am here” look on other faces as they arrived too.