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Holidays in the Ardennes
Ardennes is a region in northern Europe that spreads over Belgium and Luxembourg and into France. Because of its position at the borders of so many nations, the region has changed hands many times through history, something reflected in the Germanic place names and cuisine that can be found in the region. The Ardennes is a sparsely populated area of mountains and forests, with most inhabitants living in rural areas and small towns. The main French town in the region, Charelville-Mezieres has only around 50,000 inhabitants.

Charleville-Mezieres

The main town in the French Ardennes is worth a visit to check out its historic buildings, such as the Romanesque church of St Remi and the archways in the Place Ducale. The poet Arthur Rimbaud was born and buried in the town, and there is a museum about his life in the old watermill, Le Vieux Moulin, to the north, as well as his grave in the town’s churchyard. Charleville-Mezieres hosts an international puppet festival once every three years, with puppeteers from all over the world performing and competing. Every summer, a smaller marionette festival is held in the town centred on the Marionette Museum and the Institut International de la Marionette. There is also a Christmas market held in the town’s main square each December.

In the Country

Walking and bike riding are popular pursuits on the roads and in the forests of the Ardennes. The lakes of Vielles, Forges and Baron are popular with canoeists and fishermen enjoy the banks of the river Semoy. If you prefer not to travel under your own steam, there are river cruises on the Meuse or you can hire a riverboat yourself for the weekend. Roc La Tour is a major draw for rock climbers in the region; the relatively easy climb offering great views of the valley below. Getting around by bicycle is easy and plenty of local firms rent them out for the day or longer.

Historical Buildings

The fortress of Sedan was built in the fifteenth century at a strategic crossing point on the River Meuse, but only the castle remains standing today. A guided tour of the keep is available. Many of the fortifications built in the town of Rocroi by Henry II in the sixteenth century can still be visited and entry is free. There is also a museum about the Battle of Rocroi in the town once you have walked round the city walls.
About the Author
The Author writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Gites in Ardennes and Villas in France which can be rented direct from their owners.
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