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Holidays in the Ardennes, France
The Ardennes Mountains, which give this region its name, stretch throughout Belgium, Germany and into France. Its position has put it at the centre of many of Europe's major conflicts through the centuries and the region has changed hands many times. The French part of Ardennes still features many Germanic-sounding place names and even the cuisine has more in common with the sausages and stews of their neighbours than the fine restaurants of Paris.

Forest of Ardennes

The huge forest of Ardennes is one of the major reasons to visit this region of France. Covering 150,000 hectares and featuring beech and birch trees, which are home to many species of birds, the forest is a great venue for hiking, picnicking or just enjoying the peace. If you want to know more about the history of this ancient land, there is a museum about the forest in the town of Renwez. There are several trails throughout the forest and into the mountains or why not enjoy the scenery from horseback. Mountain biking is popular in Ardennes and there are several facilities where you can rent bikes and all the relevant safety equipment to enjoy some dramatic trails. There are trails that can be downloaded with details of distances and suitability for bicycles, horses, walkers or even skaters.

Castles and Churches

There are many chateaux in the region, ranging from medieval fortifications such as Montcarnet to luxurious country homes like Bazeilles. Because of the region's past, military fortifications play a strong part, from ancient towers to the remains of World War II structures. In September 2010, the restored 19th century fortifications at Les Ayzelles are reopening to the public, with organised tours of this fascinating and forgotten structure. The beautiful abbey at Mouzon has distinctive architecture and visitors can enjoy organ concerts every Sunday in the summer.

Puppets and Pate

The Ardennes region is famous for its pate, which is now widely available in stores around the world. If you're visiting the area, try and buy some made by a local farmer or from a market to really taste the difference. Ardennes is also home to the World Puppet Festival, which is held every September in the town of Charleville-Mezieres. Performers from across the globe arrive in the Ardennes to perform shows for children and adults while there are also workshops for children to learn the basic arts of puppet making and puppeteering.
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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Submitted by: Phil Hanlon
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