We went to visit the Museum on the 30th March 2014. We were having a long weekend in Brussels and, as I am a huge fan of Tintin, I thought it would be a good idea to go to Louvain-la-Neuve to visit the museum.
I have to say that if you are thinking about going by train (as we did) you should be prepared to spend at least an hour to reach your destination and this is only if you change at Ottignies. If you don't want to change trains, then it would take you at least an hour and a half. I was rather shocked to learn about the time length of the journey as Louvain-la-Neuve is not far from Brussels. Once we arrived we couldn't believe our eyes, the town is horrid; a place with no character whatsoever, and with a main square which is totally barren, no trees, no plants, no flowers...just concrete all around you. We quickly made our way towards the park were the museum is situated to find the "woods" dirty, full of rubbish. It looked as if this nice architectural building had been placed there just to make the location seem better...however, it just doesn't work at all.
Once inside, the museum is beautifully arranged. You can get and audio-visual set (that is included in the entrance prize) that gives you far more information than the one written next to the displays. You start by taking the lift up to the third floor and making your way down. The exhibition is very well displayed and there is just the right amount of information to make your visit a very pleasurable experience. I find that sometimes when visiting certain museums, the amount of information is far too much for you to take it all in on a single visit.
The exhibition explores Herge's life, focusing in how he created the diverse characters for his comics and where he found inspiration to create them. Also, the museum shows the multifaceted character of Herge, showing his early interest in advertising. Yet, most of the exhibition's theme is Tintin. If you are not interested in Tintin, or don't find it particularly motivating I would suggest you visit the 'Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee' at Rue des Sables 20, where you can find more general information about comics without having to focus so much in Tintin. Also the museum is housed in a magnificent Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta.
Personally, I thought the museum Herge was brilliant and it did really take me back to my childhood when I used to read the Tintin comic books imagining that one day I would also travel the world in search of adventures! I thought my time in the train to reach the destination was worth it. So if you are a hardcore Tintin fan, don't let the journey or the town itself put you off going to visit the museum, it is a well worth experience and you won't be disappointed.
My only critique of the Herge Museum is the fact that you are not allowed to take photos inside. Although I do understand the reasons why, it is a shame you are not able to photograph the building as I thought it was a very well designed one. Also, as a fan of Tintin, I would have appreciated the possibility of having some life size models of the characters with which to have been able to take a picture with. I know it sounds silly, but I love this kind of 'souvenir'! Instead, I don't have any photo in this amazing space, apart from the one outside which doesn't really make justice to the beautifully designed interior of the building. Also, the surrounds are quite grim!
I didn't have lunch at the museum's restaurant, but I did manage to have a coffee to help me cope with the lengthy train journey back to Brussels, and I can say it was a very good coffee. I saw some people's food and, although I can't tell you how it tasted, I can say it look quite inviting to me.
So, what did I make of my visit to the Museum Herge? It was worth it, and one of my favourite places I visited during this weekend visit to Brussels. If you loved and enjoyed Tintin books as a kid, then I would recommend you take some time to come and visit. It will really take you back!!!
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