Less than two hours from Paris, the French Ardennes is a region of France at the crossroads of history whose heritage is remarkable with such gems as the largest castle in Europe at Sedan, the magnificent Renaissance Ducale Square at Charleville-Mézières, the star-shaped town of Rocroi, the fortified churches of Thiérache, battlefields, memorials and much more.
This rural corner remains one of the last-explored, greenest and wildest areas of France. Its outstanding natural beauty was recognised in 2011 by the designation of a French Regional Natural Park. This is a great outdoors playground where the visitor is able to go walking, cycling, canoeing, horse-riding, swimming, bathing, fishing, sailing or enjoying adrenalin activities while communing with nature.
In 2018, the War & Peace Museum in the French Ardennes, dedicated to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the First and Second World Wars, will open its doors to the public on the 23rd January. The 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War will be commemorated in the village of Vrigne-Meuse where the last official soldier, Augustin Trébuchon, fell ten minutes before the cease-fire. In the southern part of the Ardennes, the Liberation of the Argonne by the Americans in 1918 will also be commemorated during this special anniversary year. Finally, the entire A304 motorway will open in mid-2018, which will encourage trade with border areas.
Top new attractions for the visitors will include the tour of the Mézières ramparts and the opening of the treasure room of the Notre-Dame d’Espérance basilica. The historic village of Mont Cornu in Montconet will also open to the public in March 2018 while the adrenalin-pumping Terr’Altitude Park in the Meuse Valley will launch a new experience that will “catapult” visitors over a 20 metre distance!
The French Ardennes offers a surprising mix of lush nature, remarkable heritage and fascinating history. This the perfect place to visit, for unwinding and relaxing or for exploring and adventure!
Essoyes is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France. Impressionist artist Auguste Renoir had a house in the town. The village, hometown of his wife Aline and model and governess of his children Gabrielle Renard, is represented in many of his paintings. Essoyes is a quiet Champagne village located about thirty miles south of Troyes, on the banks of the Ource river.
On the outskirts of Epernay, a small village, known around the world thanks to a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon, is perched on sunny vine planted hillsides. This is Hautvillers. Its streets and alleys are lined with naive style wrought iron signs. These signs, some simple and some very colourful, reveal the activities undertaken behind the doors of the villages houses and buildings.
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