Our Ardennes Valleys and Plateau area has a rich architectural, industrial and religious heritage. A land of sharing, amateur or enthusiast, our treasures are waiting just for you!
Admire Rocroi – a town that is unique in France with its star fortifications – where the famous battle against the Spanish army marked the history of France! The town’s museum will tell you all about this “lightning” battle on 19 May 1643 that made the Duc d'Enghien famous, who then became known as the Grand Condé. A slideshow with 2,500 lead soldiers presenting the battlefield will arouse everyone’s curiosity whatever their age. A few kilometres away, Rimogne a great slate-quarrying centre: the Maison de l'Ardoise museum explains how this wonderful mineral is extracted and shows the workers’ difficult living conditions in those days. In the Meuse valley, metallurgy is part of the industrial heritage, the Ardennes Metallurgy Museum in Bogny-sur-Meuse explains the history of iron working, the dog wheel, the Paulin path,... they’ll no longer hold any secrets for you! It’s also in Bogny-sur-Meuse that geology and palaeontology enthusiasts from the Ardennes, France and around the world have opened this amazing exhibition centre in an old mansion showing a collection of Ardennes minerals and fossils. Unmissable! You can’t talk about the Ardennes without mentioning its forests! In Renwez the museum bearing the name of its founders Janine et Henri Vastine, proposes a tour partly indoors (in a wooden building) with equipment and museum pieces, and partly outdoors, with a 1.8km walk showing the old timber professions. Of note, a few metres from there, the just recently inaugurated Maison du Parc.
In Montcornet, the ruins of the old feudal castle overlook this pretty Ardennes village. A visit of the castle is a must! When you come with your family, a parchment is handed out to the children to help them discover this magical place playfully. Escape-games are sometime organised here, there’s no denying it’s the ideal place! Down below the castle, Mont Cornu: the “Montcornet Remonte le Temps” Association has been working for years on the construction of a historical village. Well, that’s done. Who has never dreamt of travelling back through time? You can now make your dream come true with these five villages: Gallic, Roman, Carolingian, Merovingian and mediaeval. Events, shows, … are held every year on a one-off basis. Guided tours have been proposed since the summer of 2020. Come on over, the guides will welcome you with pleasure.
Concerning its religious heritage, the Ardennes Valleys and Plateau area can’t easily be outdone. In Monthermé, on the banks of the Semoy, Saint-Rémi de Laval-Dieu Abbey, founded by the Premonstratensians in the 12th century has undergone a great number of modifications further to the destruction caused by the different enemy armies passing through this frontier region. Today, the abbey is maintained by volunteers who are not short of ideas for restoring this beautiful place’s monastic activities: there has been the creation of a kitchen garden – called the monastic garden in the old days – where, among other things, they grew medicinal plants. In the summer, the vegetables grown there are sold to the visitors during the abbey’s opening hours. Recently, the opening of an apothecary that you can see when you visit, the acquisition of an apple press... Also in Monthermé, the 12th century St Leger church is well worth a visit, it still has some lovely frescoes.
Also in Monthermé, the 12th century St Leger church is well worth a visit, it still has some lovely frescoes. In the hamlet of Hauts-Buttés, in the Monthermé district, there’s the sanctuary dedicated to St Anthony of Padua since the 18th century. Open every day, this is a very popular destination for pilgrims. The church’s walls are practically all covered with ex-voto offerings thanking Saint Anthony. Bogny-sur-Meuse is the result of the merging of three districts, Château-Regnault, Levrèzy and Braux, the last of which is home to one of the oldest churches in the Meuse valley: Saint-Vivent collegiate church. Also well worth seeing for lovers of our religious heritage, Notre-Dame church in Renwez, Madeleine chapel in Montcornet, Giraumont chapel in Saint-Marcel. In Laval-Morency, there is the fortified Saint-Etienne church.
A land of remembrance, the Ardennes Valleys and Plateau area also has a long history fraught with fighting and wars. To make sure we never forget and to explain to the young generations what our forefathers experienced, the remembrance sites allow us to remember and to talk about this... The stele commemorating the battle of Rocroi in 1643 is located in Sévigny-la-Forêt, in the hamlet of Rouge-Fontaine. The Spanish soldiers laid down their arms there after the French army’s victory. A memorial path – the “Judenlager” – has been laid out in Mazures to commemorate the dark hours of the Second World War. This place was a forced labour camp, and there are 11 panels explaining this tragic episode over a distance of 500m. In Monthermé, around La Roche aux Sept Villages, you can discover the May 1940 military installation (a description is available at the Monthermé reception desk). In Vieux-Moulins de Thilay, a key site in the Ardennes Resistance, there is plate placed on Marguerite Fontaine’s home, inviting you to meditate for a moment. A few hundred metres away, the "Mission Citronnelle" memorial consisting of a block of schist placed in the middle of a clearing, was erected in 1994 on the initiative of old resistance fighters.
When our heritage is showcased by thematic walking tours...in Renwez, the 6km "the Professions of the Past" tour is an invitation to take a look at the clog-maker, the ploughman, the blacksmith, etc. as you wander down the village’s streets and paths, with scenes represented by wooden figures depicting rural trades. On your way, you’ll also have the pleasure of discovering four unusual washhouses supplied by inexhaustible sources of freshwater. The old washhouses are part of the charm and authenticity of the village of Mazures. Likewise in Monthermé, a town with a significant industrial and social past: 2 paths, one 3.5 km long, the other 4km, allow you to discover the Girouette, the Maison du Peuple, le Château Ména,... as you stroll around the town. These touristic-historical walks are described in a brochure available at the reception desk. In Bogny-sur-Meuse, in the Chateau-Regnault district, on the left bank of the Meuse, facing the Four Aymon Sons, the "Grosse Boutique" valley is a unique place for discovering the metallurgical past of the Ardennes. A land of sharing, amateur or enthusiast, our treasures are waiting just for you!