The imposing neo–classical collegial of Saint Begge built of Meuse limestone is in a beautiful calm square a little apart from the activity of the town. The grand façade has a square before it and is surrounded by patrician houses of which some belonged to the canons that were there from the Middle Ages up to the French revolution.
Saint Begge (pronounced Beche by people in the Ardennes) is the founder, around 692, of the first monastery and hence the town. She was the great grand-mother of Pepin the Short and the sister of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles.
The cult of the patron saint is evident on the inside. On the altar on the left there is a statue of the saint next to her tomb. As she was considered the protector of children, children’s shoes have been placed here and on the tomb to obtain protection and favours.
The church was built under the direction of Laurent-Benoit Dewez, official architect to the Austrian governor, Charles of Lorraine. It is sober and very bright, above all the chancel, which has been painted white. The nave and the sides are grey and await repainting.
At the end of the church is a painting of the massacre of the Innocents by Finsonius (1615), a pulpit, a lectern (1518), and six 19th century paintings depicting episodes in the life of the saint. The treasure and the museum in the annexe of the collegial has the reliquary of Saint Begge, ornaments, sculptures, manuscripts, jewellery, and religious porcelain from Andenne. Every quarter of an hour a fine carillon rings.
The collegial is listed as outstanding Wallonia patrimony.