Burnenville - Meiz - Bernister
Burnenville is situated in the middle of the old Francorchamps motor-racing circuit. It has approximately 350 inhabitants and is well known by motor-racing enthusiasts. The main reason for this is that near Burnenville the circuit leading up to “Les Combes” permitted the most fantastic speeds along the straight.
Its school and chapel give the village of Burnenville an air of true rural countryside. It is well worth making a short visit to the chapel built in 1755 and dedicated to Saint Hilaire. Nature-lovers will not want to miss a walk round the bottom of the village. The pond laid down by the organization “Patrimoine Nature” (the Nature Heritage) is a peaceful spot offering itself for a little quiet meditation. If you are quiet enough (and also have a little luck…) you will even be able to spy a kingfisher inviting himself to your picnic.
The history of the village of Meiz is not only connected with the nearby motor-racing circuit at Francorchamps, it also touches on its very special geographical location and even on the history of our country. Nothing less than that! Rendezvous at the crossroads of the two roads “Chemin de la Bouvière” and “Voie Croisée” to admire the boundary stone B-P 134. So what is behind all this? This is the juncture for a little history revision…
The background is as follows: After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Congress of Vienna decreed the allocation of our cantons to Prussia. The boundary stone Belgium-Prussia (B-P) that you can still find here today is a silent witness to the fact that our inhabitants were once Prussian.
It was not until after the First World War that the Treaty of Versailles placed the district of Malmedy and its surrounding area into Belgian hands. The inhabitants of our villages (following a referendum!) then became Belgians… only to become Germans again in 1940 when Hitler annexed our cantons. Are you still with me…? After the Second World War, the villages became Belgian again, this time finally to remain so.
If you are underway with children then make a little detour to the new children’s playground to make them happy. This playground was brought about by the “Quartier de vie” (Neighborhood life) Association and can be found between the villages of Meiz and Burnenville. The children will surely thank you…
Bernister is a small peaceful village perched up at 500 m and has probably maintained its rural character better than most others. The village is stretched out along a long line and one can quite easily hurry through it without noticing. But that would be a big mistake, because Bernister offers the inquisitive mind sufficient to revel in.
Don’t miss out and do ask the older inhabitants which way leads to the St. Antoine Hermitage, because its history dates back to the 15th Century. However, should you rather be interested in poetry, then a little detour to visit the Apollinaire memorial will be worthwhile. The French poet obviously also found this region to his taste.