Louvain la Neuve, Belgium
Louvain la Neuve is a small town, specifically built for the French speaking university – but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is boring. Yes, the nightlife is not the same as in Leeds (or anywhere I’ve ever been for that matter), but that’s what makes it exciting for an ERASMUS student like myself. For example, there’s more beer drinking, pub going and Kot parties (‘Kot’ is what Belgians call shared flats) with all you can drink and all you can eat for only 5 euros entry. However, my favourite night out (and day) was the ‘24 heure vélo’, which is Louvain la Neuve’s main event of the year. It is essentially described as a big cycling race… but in reality it a lot more than that. Firstly, anyone inhabiting the city on this day has no choice but to be involved in the festivities – it really does take over. It could be described as a huge music festival, so huge in fact that Uni is cancelled the following day and it lasts for 24 hours.
There is a different concert in every ‘place’ (e.g. la grand place, place de l’université) with music ranging from rock, to techno, to RnB, to house and food vans everywhere providing everyone with a range of different foods; pork, burgers, hot dogs, cakes, cheese, waffles and every type of beer imaginable (it is Belgium of course).
Different ‘kots’ would organise a variety of after parties. My favourite had to be ‘Kot Champagne’ which started at 5am and for only 3 euros entry, provided unlimited champagne – of course the quality of the champagne was extremely questionable, but if I’m honest, as this was about 20 hours into the festival, which meant 20 hours of continuous drinking – who could really taste the difference anyway…?