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Holidays in the Ardennes

Experience the scenic Ardennes-region from your riverboat. The word Ardennes is Celtic and means "dense forest." A boating holiday in this area, with the clean country air, leaves one convinced that the lush area functions as Europe's lung. Nature is home to wild boar, deer and some of France's rarest bird species, not to mention that rare plants can also be seen here, such as orchids and the fly-eating sundew.

A boating holiday on the Maas River which winds and meanders, is a charming and memorable experience. You can also sail further into the Ardennes and discover the many exciting cities on the other side of the border to Belgium, the Ardennes offers a patchwork of different experiences.

The wildlife-rich region of the Ardennes, of course, presents many culinary game specialities. The pies, hams and sausages complete the experience. Most famous is the ham from the Ardennes, but connoisseurs prefer the white sausage, a typical speciality produced by local butchers. The undisputed king of the white sausages are Rethel, a must-try for riverboat tourists, but also the white Fumay sausages are excellent. Every year in July held a gourmet festival in the white sausage honour is held.



In any case, a true gourmet should follow the canal de l'Aisne à la Marne and sail against Champagne. In Epernay and Reims, the former coronation-city of French monarchs, one can taste the local champagne. One learns quickly that the fine beverage is served and consumed for any occasion: as apéritif, for starters, with the main dish or with desserts such as the delicious' Biscuit de Reims.


You find the city of Verdun on the east side of the river Meuse. Here you can dig into the history of the horrific battles fought in the trenches around the city during World War 1. Over the year 1916 French and German troops fought a long war of attrition, which the soldiers called hell on Earth. The battles lasted over 10 month and the memory of the large number of casualties suffered by both sides is preserved by a multitude of memorials. Verdun also offers a lot of other historic sites not connected to the terrible war. You can pass under the exquisite medieval city gate at bridge over the river Meuse. The gate is the only remaining part of the medieval city wall. You can also visit the city’s beautiful cathedral from the 12th century or take a tour in the Bishop’s Palace where public library and the World Centre for Peace, Freedom and Human Rights resides today. Verdun is also a great place to taste the local speciality “dragées”, which is sugar-coated almonds.  
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Charleroi is the largest city in the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia. Both the city and the fortress nearby has been controlled by a multitude of overlords ever since the Spaniards build the fortress in the middle of the 17th century. The area has been controlled by Spaniards, Frenchmen, Austrians and Dutch troops. For many years the city was an industrial centre for glass, metallurgy and coal which gave it the nickname “The Black Land”. Today the industrial production in the area has dropped drastically. However, you will find a lot of attractions to see in the beautiful city centre of Charleroi. One of the highlights is the Saint Christophe Cathedral, which after a large restoration in the 1950s looks more like a byzantine basilica than the baroque church it originally was. Another significant building you can visit is the Town Hall. Especially interesting is the 70 m tall belfry which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.   
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On a small peninsula almost surrounded by the river Meuse you’ll find the beautiful city of Fumay. The city also known as “The City of Slate” is located near the French/Belgian border and is one of the prettiest spots along the Meuse. Here you can moor your boat in the beautiful surroundings and take a nice bike-ride or walk in the forests near the city. You can also visit the Adventure Park close by where you can amuse yourself with adrenalin provoking activities such as paintball, ziplines and a lot of other things. Fumay is the ideal place to enjoy the idyllic atmosphere and fantastic nature that the Ardennes has to offer. And if you want to eat a nice dessert why not choose the local speciality: White Pudding.  
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When going on a boating holiday in the Ardennes it is a must to stop in the city of Charleville-Mézières. Here you can walk across the magnificent old square Place Ducale. The square is surrounded by beautiful houses with slate roof and an amazing loggia with impressive stone arches. The city is also known as “The Capital of Puppeteers”. Since 1961 the city has regularly hosted a large international puppeteer-festival. In the city you can also visit the International Institute of Puppeteers, where a giant automaton of a puppeteer performs a small show every hour on the hour. As the name implies Charleville-Mézières used to be two cities on either side of the river. Charleville used to be the place of the Royal French Armory. Here they produced muskets in large quantities such as the Charleville Musket, which played a large part in the American revolution against the British in the end of the 18thcentury.  
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Pont-a-Bar (Locaboat)

Locaboat port - From the small charming port in the Ardennes it is possible to sail to Sedan, hvor you will find restaurants, shopping and a castle.
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