Ellezelles, land of enchantment, beer and sorcery
No need to go to the ends of the earth to celebrate witches... Come to the heart of the Pays des Collines, in Ellezelles (25 km from Tournai and 50 km from Brussels). This village of the strange or the “Chorchîles”, as they say here, is famous for its folklore surrounding Satan’s daughters and for its good beer! Everything here keeps alive the memory of Quintine DeLe Clisserie, condemned to the stake with four other women on 26 October 1610. Keen to preserve its legendary heritage, the artist Jacques Vandewattyne, a folklore enthusiast, inaugurated the first witches’ Sabbath in 1972 and decorated a path of imaginary sculptures. Since then, the village of Ellezelles has attracted thousands of visitors every year. Strange, did you say strange? Strange to say the least, believe us...
Myriad spells at the Pays des Collines information centre
If you want to discover all the secrets and legends haunting this region, go to the Pays des Collines information centre. At the reception of this tourist centre, Stéphane will tell you where to sleep (with witches or without!), where to eat, where to go, where to hike and what to do in the hills. He’ll offer you some local artisan specialties (chocolate owl heads, witches’ beer and books about the tales and legends of the hills among others) available in the shop. He will tell you that Hercule Poirot was born in the locality, as his effigy testifies to at the entrance. And, if he doesn’t try to lose you on the Sentier de l’Etrange trail (strange trail), he’ll introduce you to the local customs and habits through a 40-minute show. Country landscapes, traditions, old trades and tales and legends of the Pays des Collines region will no longer hold their secret. Follow the owl... You have been warned!
Following the strange trail
This 6-km walk is a family stroll that will delight young and old. It starts from the Pays des Collines information centre. Caress Quintine, surprise yourself with Eul'Pichour, repeatedly recite the wording “Houp, houp riki, rikète, pad’zeur les haies et les bouchons, vole au diâle et co’p’u lon!” and, like a witch flying on her broomstick, venture along this artistic path leading straight to the devil on the violin, the green goat and other mischievous witches. Fantastic views guaranteed!
Quintine and malicious beverages at Brasserie des Légendes
It’s impossible to leave Ellezelles without tasting one of its famous beverages: Quintine or Hercules. It’s at Brasserie des Légendes in Ellezelles that you’ll taste them at their best, amid the copper-red vats and boilers or in the sunshine, on the large terrace. The beer is still brewed by infusion here. The bottles are closed by porcelain stoppers and packed in wooden crates. Group visits to the brewery can be organised but only by booking. To prolong the pleasure, Au Chaudron des Légendes (attached to the brewery) offers you a menu of beer dishes. Playground for children. Near the Collines RAVeL (green route).
All at the great witches’ Sabbath of Ellezelles
Once a year, in the last weekend of June, the devil sounds the call for his great gathering of disciples. The witches of Ellezelles, villagers and tourists from around the world are invited to take part in the festivities. Devils, witches, werewolves, will-o'-the-wisps, green goats and other strange and unusual characters come to life again for a day and an evening. In the afternoon, doll-makers crafting effigies of the village witches and local producers organise a craft fair in the square and the neighborhood’s streets. At nightfall, the devil and his terrible “Chorchîles” invite you to take part in the bonfire as part of a great sound and light show. Meet on the mound!