3 DYSTOPIAN WORLDS
Charleroi… the name conjures up images of a fairytale French town with baroque architecture. But that name’s misleading, cos Charleroi is actually the ugliest city in Europe, certified.
It’s industrial to the point of post-apocalyptic, with abandoned factories, ghost metros and warehouses-turned-theatres. And it’s all in its charm. Frolic round Matrix-like abandoned cooling plants and take a tour of the most depressing street in all of Belgium. Plus, there’s Europe’s biggest photography museum 👌
A certain mankini-wearing presenter gave the world the impression that Kazakhstan’s kinda… backwards. But Astana, the capital, is actually a sci-fi mirage full of golden dystopian architecture.
One of its main attractions is a crazy-big tent that stays warm even when the weather outside drops to a nip-cracking −50°C. It’s got a drop tower, flume ride, monorail and beach inside. Of course.
Le Havre, France
Le Havre looks post-apocalyptic cos it kind of is. This French harbour town rose from the flames of WW2 like a butt-ugly phoenix. The architect who rebuilt the place, Auguste Perret, became known as ‘the poet of reinforced concrete’. Burrrrrn. To be fair to the lad, UNESCO has since declared it a world-heritage site, presumably during someone’s first day at the job.
You can’t miss Le Volcan, a giant library, theatre and concrete hang-place. Les bains des docks swimming pool is another white concrete wonder - plus it hosts late night tango dances on special evenings ✌