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The origin of the different neighbourhoods in Louvain-la-Neuve

Biéreau

Biéreau originally comes from the French « Beau reward », meaning « beautiful look » or «beautiful view», which refers to the superb panoramic view over the farm, towards the hamlet of Blocry and the valley of the Malaise. The farm, as well as more than 110 hectares of land and forest, belonged to the Abbey of Florival until 1798. Nowadays, this farm is a cultural centre dedicated to music.

The Biéreau neighbourhood was one of the first to be built in Louvain-la-Neuve (1971-73). It’s a residential and academic area, which also houses the Cyclotron (the most powerful particle accelerator in Western Europe in its category, which reaches 100 million electron volts). The residential area is clustered around the former Brabantine Biéreau farm. In front of the farm stretches the sunken path of the Scavée du Biéreau which formerly connected Biéreau to Lauzelle. The farmers used it to herd their animals into the valley.

Baraque

Before Louvain-la-Neuve was built, the Baraque was the name of a hamlet in Ottignies. Now it is the name of a sub-neighbourhood of the Biéreau. Before the University was built, the Baraque hamlet was spread over the two municipalities of Ottignies and Corroy-le-Grand.

With very few inhabitants, this «remote » neighbourhood is made up of old houses and also several groups of alternative buildings resulting from architectural experiments, such as caravans, bubble houses, thatched houses, etc.

Bruyères

The source of this place name is the site’s land cover. In 1632, the seigneury of Ottignies was composed of many hectares of heath, but in 1856, there were only 54 acres remaining. The heather growing in this area now originated from the clearing of a heath.

This hamlet is recent: it stood on the top of a small plateau to the south-east of Ottignies and spread out onto the territory of Mont-Saint-Guilbert. The Bruyères neighbourhood is made up of several collective residences, including “kots” (student rooms) and shared apartments. This neighbourhood has had to be extended to accommodate the large number of students. It is bordered to the north by the Louvain-la-Neuve lake. Single-family and group residences have sprung up around it. The southern part of the neighbourhood has been extended with a new estate composed of single-family houses and apartment blocks.

Hocaille

The Hocaille neighbourhood, « Okay » in the Walloon dialect, must originally have been a «thorn bush». The Hocaille countryside was a part of the Blocry countryside which stretched from Ottignies to Lauzelle.

The Hocaille is a residential area which was built after Biéreau. It is made up of communal student apartments, project accommodation and single-family houses which are more spread out.  

The centre of this neighbourhood is the Blocry Farm (la Ferme de Blocry), another old Brabantine farm which has been completely restored. The Blocry Sports Centre, swimming pools and the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi are also to be found here. The border of the neighbourhood is right next to the Lauzelle Forest.

Lauzelle

The Lauzelle plateau was made up of almost bare earth, covered with cultivated land and pastures, a few farms, sunken paths and wood banks. What is most interesting is the presence of the valley of the Malaise, the Lauzelle Forest and the whole south-east fringe of Wavre. These zones are natural links between the Lauzelle plateau and the Dyle valley which owes its natural richness to its humidity.

The Lauzelle neighbourhood is also residential and represents a second wave of reconstruction at the end of the 1980s. This is where we see that certain areas are bigger than those built earlier. Aimed at family and city life, a small beguinage composed of 7 residences has appeared, offering services and accommodation to the elderly. There is also council housing, schools and an old peoples’ home.

The City Centre (Centre urbain)

The City Centre is an entire neighbourhood where all of the main streets of the city join together.

The pedestrian centre connects the main squares and meeting places in Louvain-la-Neuve. The station, university administration, shopping centre, museums and main cultural centres (concert halls, theatres and cinemas) mingle with the Social Sciences faculties and with the student rooms and apartments.

A market is held on the two main squares in the centre and these are regularly inundated during festivals, student activities and end of exam periods.

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