Climbing the Montagne de Bueren: a sporting challenge!
We are in Belgium, more precisely in Liege, for a climb that will literally take your breath away. 374 steps, a 30% gradient, that's what awaits you if you decide to climb the Montagne de Bueren, one of the ten Most Extreme Staircases in the world.
First some history… The Montagne Bueren was built in 1880. But why were these 374 steps built? There are two accounts, both of which have a military dimension.
The more straight-laced version of the story is that the staircase allowed the soldiers of the Citadel to access the city in the event of an invasion.
The unofficial version is that the staircase took soldiers back to their barracks directly, without going through the city centre, where they would come across cabarets, bistros and other rather dubious districts.
Whatever the story, the view of the 'Cité ardente' from the top of the staircase is incredible. The brave among us can also admire the hillsides of the Citadel, and on the way back down, quench their thirst at one of the most charming terraces in the city, the Brasserie Curtius, before strolling along the cul-de-sacs of Rue Hors Château.
And spare a thought for local residents, the gutsy Liègeois who sometimes have to climb the staircase every day!