Ardennes, France

Self-catering Ardennes holiday homes - Cottages Ardennes

Ardennes is a department in the northeastern part of France located in the Champagne-Ardenne region. The department was named after the Ardennes hills, which dominate northeast France, southern Belgium and Luxembourg. Its principal river is the Meuse River in which the main towns are located. The highlights of the Ardennes include enormous rolling forests and areas of dense woodland. It is also conveniently located for the champagne route – a great reason to stay in an Ardennes holiday rental cottage or house!

Charleville-Mézières is the capital of the Ardennes. The town is located on the banks of the Meuse River. Charleville-Mézières was only recently formed out of five local villages - it is also known as the city of marionettes. An annual marionette festival is held there every three years (La fête des marionettes).

The poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) was born in Charleville. Admirers of the poets work might be interest to visit The Musée Rimbaud (Rimbaud museum) which is located in the old water mill (Le Vieux Moulin) to the north of the town.

Sedan is another important town in the Ardennes; yet is located just 10 kilometres from the Belgian border. The historic centre is built on a peninsula formed by an arc of the Meuse River. Today Sedan is principally known for its castle, which is situated on a headland on the border of Meuse, flanked by the rivers Bièvre and Vra. This is no ordinary castle; it’s claimed to be the largest fortified medieval castle in Europe with a total area of 30,000 m2 on seven levels. Construction started in 1424 and the castle's defenses were constantly improved over the ages.

Today the Château de Sedan, in addition to being a tourist attraction in the Ardennes, contains the office of tourism and a 3-star hotel. There is also a museum inside the castle; one of the rooms of this museum is dedicated to the war of 1870, and one can find there a rich collection of Prussian helmets.

Givet is another Ardennes town which lies close to the Belgian border. It lies on the river Meuse. Sites to visit include the following churches; Église Saint-Hilaire and Notre-Dame. Don’t forget the Fort of Charlemeont which over looks the city. The gate ‘Porte de France’ once protected the entrance to the city to the south on the left bank of the Meuse, towards Charleville and Rocroi.  

Travelling to your Ardennes holiday rental property

By rail: The Gare de Charleville-Mézières railway station offers connections to Paris, Reims, Lille, Metz and regional destinations. Journey time to Paris Est station via Reims or Epernay is approximately 2 hours. By road: Travel time from Paris 2 ½ hours via te A4 and A34. By air: The nearest airport is based across the border in nearby Belgium. Ryanair fly into Charleroi/Brussels airport from Dublin and Edinburgh.