We first came to Mons in September 2009, primarily to find ourselves somewhere to live. Naturally, the wonderful Grand Place made an immediate inpact on me and stuck in my mind. When we returned again 2 months later, this time as new residents, I couldn't wait to set eyes on it again. I had visions of coffee and cake outdoors (not realised for a further 5 months) and hours spent people watching. Instead, my beautiful Grand Place had been taken over by one of the tackiest and ugliest looking fairs I had ever seen.
Not that I'm particularly a big fan of fairs anyway, but I just couldn't comprehend why the local council/mayor had sanctioned such a thing to encroach upon the city's premier sight. There weren't even many rides bar the odd lame looking merry-go-round. Most of the 'fair' consisted of those enormous stalls that give you the chance to shoot at something in return for winning a huge cuddly toy or some other piece of tat. The terrible, shitty pop music that blares out at night topped it all off for me. And this monstrosity occupies the square for a whole 3 weeks.
I know, I'm probably not the sort of demographic that fairs tend to target, but why oh why would anybody allow such a thing to abuse their city's prize possession?
So, I was prepared this year when I walked into the Grand Place to be met by organisers of the fair setting up camp once again. A reason to avoid the centre for the next 3 weeks I think.