The Ardennes, a paradise for cyclists and mountain bikers
The Trans-Ardennes Green Lane
This quiet route will allow you to discover the Ardennes by following the mischievous course of the Meuse, whose old towpath it follows. It is also part of the EuroVelo 19 circuit, the Meuse à Vélo, which is 1050 km long and crosses 3 countries (France, Belgium and Holland) to connect the Langres plateau to Rotterdam.
In total, more than 130 km of wonder and serenity await you, from Givet to Mouzon, along the valleys and villages crossed. Discover fantastic panoramas and rocky formations that have inspired so many legends... On rollerblades, by bike, on horseback or even on foot: you are free. Riding the Trans-Ardennes is a perfect family activity, since the low altitude makes it accessible to everyone. And if you haven't practiced for a long time, you can start again in a safe way, since cars are not allowed.
The Trans-Ardennes Green Lane flyer
Note that the train can be a good option to get there, as there are 19 train stations on this route. In addition, transportation of your bike is free on the regional railway network.
The Trans-Semoysienne track
You can also follow the course of another river, the Semoy, by taking the Trans-Semoysienne track. This bike track, also accessible to hikers by foot, was built along the former railway of the P'tit Train de la Semoy, and connects Monthermé and Les Hautes-Rivières. This 20 km route in the quiet forest setting of the Ardennes Regional Nature Park is ideal in the summer, as it offers refreshing shaded sections, interspersed with magical views of the valleys. Beware, it goes up a bit! You may have to wait until the end of your stay to start on this route if you lack training.
Please note that there are several stops of the bus line N°13 along this itinerary, so you won't have to make the round trip if you are on foot.
The holiday home La Chouette au Bouleau is an accommodation labelled "Accueil Vélo", meaning it’s ideal for bikers. It's located in Hargnies, a village where you will enjoy many mountain bike routes. Bicyclists will find a warm welcome, a shelter for their bikes and appropriate advice.
The Ardennes, a paradise for hikers and runners
Did you know that the famous path GR®654, which joins the Vézelay Way, is part of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and runs through the Ardennes? It starts in Namur in Belgium, crosses Dinant, and then enters the French Ardennes at Rocroi.
Some hiking suggestions in the immediate surroundings of your accommodation
- From Hargnies to the viewpoint of the Roche à Fépin via the Ridoux valley: a loop of just under 14 kilometres that you can start from your accommodation! Ideal if you want to forget your car during your holiday. The highlight of this forest hike will certainly be the panoramic view over Fépin.
- From the car park on the Route de la Lyre (at the exit of Monthermé) towards the Roc-La-Tour and the Roche aux Corpias: This easy 4 km walk (yellow markings) will take you to two of the most beautiful natural sites in our region, and a very beautiful viewpoint. You will return by the same route.
- The Monthermé - Les Quatre Fils Aymon - Tournavaux loop: a rather technical but very rewarding 19 km loop! The panoramic views on this walk are among the most beautiful in our region. In particular, you will climb the 4 " brothers " rocks that make up the iconic landmark of the Quatre Fils Aymon. Beware, some parts of the route can be slippery in wet weather.
- The loop on the ramparts of the Mont d'Haurs in Givet: a walk suitable for the whole family (5.1 km) on the promontory facing the citadel on the other side of the Meuse. It starts with a climb to the Tour Grégoire. You will discover beautiful views of the Meuse, Givet and Fromelennes, to name but a few. You can extend your exploration by visiting the Mont d'Haurs entrenched camp, a military complex fortified by the French architect Vauban. If you prefer nature, you can choose to discover the nearby Pointe de Givet National Nature Reserve. It is home to no less than 454 plant species and 320 animal species.
If you're a trail enthusiast, you should definitely take part in the Ardennes Mega Trail (AMT, for those in the know). This is a series of 3 races and a challenge with a total of 4000 m of ascent organised every summer. Their itinerary includes the most mythical natural (Roc La Tour, Quatre Fils Aymon) and industrial landmarks of our region.
Fun and sports activities for the whole family
Les petits lutins ont un royaume dans les Ardennes au Lac des Veilles Forges : l’Elfy Park, a 5-hectare amusement park featuring a slide, a zip line and a sea of nets.
In addition, at the Lac des Veilles Forges, an aquatic area with inflatable structures opens every summer: the Aqua Park Wi Splash. "Water, fun and good humour", says their slogan. Parents, you are welcome too!
And if you have a swimming costume phobia, we have two acrobatic alternatives in the wilderness:
- The first is Terraltitude, another acrobatic park in Fumay. It offers treetop adventure courses, bungee jumping, paintball, a playground for the little ones, and for the more adventurous, the Fantasticable, a zip line that will take you over the Meuse at more than 100 km/hour with a departure at 110 metres high. If you are a thrill seeker, this is for you!
- The second is the one proposed by Ardennes Terre d’aventures, the acrobatic park of the Vieilles Forges in Mazures: on the menu, 10 treetop adventure courses with zip lines, monkey bridges, nets, including a "Flying Corsair" circuit. The goal is to board a galleon. For the most intrepid pirates!
Go for big breath of fresh air
Swimming, kayaking and water activities
The Bairon and Vieilles Forges lakes and the Etang de la Motte all offer supervised beaches and water sports activities in summer. You will find other beaches at Douzy, Etang de la Motte, and Buzancy. There is even one in Charleville-Mézières! It' s called Plage de la Warenne, and is located in the eponymous leisure centre. In the summer of 2022, Givet will open an aquatic leisure area at its water sports centre.
Finally, for those looking for depth, the Vodelée quarry in Doische, Belgium, is the place to be, with clear water and the sight of beautiful specimens of sturgeons, pikes, carps and eels that have been introduced on this site. Nearby, you will also be able to dive in the Rochefontaine quarry (located in Franchimont) and the Vodecée quarry in Philippeville (both in Belgium).
The Ardennes are irrigated by numerous rivers and lakes, and therefore offer great opportunities to get out the paddles. You can go canoeing on the Semoy, in the Semoy valley on the Aisne or the Meuse, but also on the Lac des Vieilles Forges. And on the latter, you can even try your hand at paddling.
The Ardennes are ideal for nature walks, and what better way to do so than in complicity with a horse? A good twenty clubs will be pleased to propose their services, including Equit Ardennes, an equestrian centre located in Les Mazures. In Bertrix, Belgium, the Cavaliers de Saint-Remacle offer not only horseback riding in a sumptuous forest setting, but also tastings of local specialities.
Hot air balloon
Want to take in the sky? Take off in a hot-air balloon for a celestial journey above Sedan and its fortress. On the way, you will admire the Meuse valley and the landscapes of the Ardennes. This opportunity is provided by Christian Tillet, an aeronaut from Rethel.
Want a little more adrenaline? Take a paragliding flight over the Meuse or the Semoy, as you wish. The Pointe Ardennes Parapente club, in Fumay, offers several take-off sites. And if you are tempted by the big jump (parachute), head for the Ardennes E. Riché airfield in Charleville-Mézières where you can try this experience. Last but not least, for bungee jumping, you should go to the Viaduct of Exermont, or to the Terraltitude Adventure Park in Fumay.
In winter, you can enjoy the cross-country ski trails of Les Vieux-Mouins de Thilay, just a few minutes' drive from our gîtes. A little further away, the Sedan ski club offers cross-country skiing in the Sedan national forest, where 33.5 km of trails have been marked out - quite a lot! The club offers equipment hire on site. Please note that this activity requires a certain amount of snow, so it is strongly recommended that you check beforehand.