The Essential
Located near the Belgian border, this small tourist town is pleasant and lively and, along with Damme, was an outer harbour for Bruges in the 14C. At that time it was at the mouth of the Zwin, which is today silted up. Its old French name (L'Écluse) recalls the naval battle in which the French were beaten by the English, in 1340, at the start of the 100 Years War. The grassy mounds that you see on entering the town are the remains of the old ramparts.