Binche is surrounded by walls, including 22 towers. The city had its heyday in the 16th century under the rule of Emperor Charles V’s sister, Mary of Hungary. She spent much time in Binche and replaced the old feudal castle with a magnificent Renaissance palace. According to city mayor Laurent Devin, in Binche “you’ll find an unrivalled ambiance and a city that lives the rhythm of the carnival”. He proudly describes the carnival as a “must-see event; people come from five continents, as far as Brazil, China, Russia, Japan and the United States”. Around 100,000 people attend the carnival.