A rugged region of extensive forests, ridges and hills, the Ardennes stretches from Belgium and Luxembourg into France. Famous for its green landscape and varied flora and fauna, the area’s towns and monuments are often missed by tourists eager to encounter the wild outdoors. It is in some of these more urban spaces, however, that the most interesting attractions lie.
The Ardennes’ most important town is Charleville-Mézières, originally two separate communities located on the banks of the River Meuse, which merged in 1966. Over half of it was destroyed in the Great War, and impressively reconstructed in the following decades. One of the highlights is the Place Ducale, surrounded by arcades that support 17th century townhouses. To the southeast is Sedan, a town dominated by its imposing 15th century castle, which extends over seven acres and houses a museum and a hotel. The Regional Natural Park is, of course, well worthy of a visit thanks to its stunning scenery and tranquil environment.
The best way to cycle around the Ardennes is using the ‘voies vertes’ – disused railways that were turned into cycling tracks. Walkers can ramble over the many paths and take time to explore the towns at leisure.