One of my favorite places in Belgium is Lac de Genval, located some 20 kilometers south of Brussels. The lake is on the edge of the Forêt de Soignes and the border between two states of the Federal Kingdom of Belgium runs through the Lake.
This means in practical terms that the Lake is divided into two parts: one French-speaking in the Walloon region (French: Region wallonne) and the other Dutch-speaking in the Flemish region (Dutch: Vlaams gewest). One can say that it is a bilingual lake.
In this aspect, Lac de Genval is like a small version of the whole country; beautiful, a bit shabby and slightly unreal. What you have to remember is , this is Belgium, and reality here takes its own Belgian course.
Lac de Genval is a lovely artificial lake, built in the 19th century as a tourist destination. It became quite popular and rich Europeans start building their own mansions around the lake. On the south side, there are many quaint houses dating back to the Belle Époque era.
With the growth of the city , now it’s like a suburb of Brussels. We even have cycled there a few times.
Surrounded by huge trees that change colors in every season, it’s a joy to be around the lake. You can run or cycle or just buy an ice-cream and take a lazy stroll.
Fishing is by permit only, but there’s a little yacht club that rents kayaks and paddle boats.
The lake covers quite a large area and water birds like different types of ducks can be seen wading in it. The last time we were there, a flock of wild geese were preparing for the winter migration, with lots of wing clapping and quacking.
We go there often, to stroll around the lake and have lunch at the Brasserie du Lac. It has a great menu and always packed, especially during the weekends. Their seafood platters , together with a cold glass of bubbly are a great way to start the weekend.
If you want to spend the night, or pamper yourself at the spa, the 5 Star Martin’s Château du Lac is on the south side if the lake. With its signature turret, it brings a fairy like charm to Lac de Genval.
Lac de Genval is beautiful all year round, but my favorite time to visit is Autumn, where the nature goes crazy with different shades of reds, yellow and greens and the quite waters of the lake reflects all them all.