Cross-Border Tourist Routes

The Ardennes Valleys and Plateau area is crossed by several cross-border routes: The Ardennes is a cross-border region par excellence because it extends over three countries: France, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the French Ardennes, in the Walloon provinces of Liège, Namur and Luxembourg and to the north of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. As numerous as they are mysterious, the legends constitute the folkloric heritage of the cross-border Ardennes. They conjure up a host of imaginary characters: fairies and dwarves, werewolves and wizards, both good and bad, in places marked by religious beliefs, Roman colonisation, the world of the Middle Ages, the excesses of baroque times and of romanticism from a more recent past. Dating back several millennia, the landscapes and traditions of the two Haute-Sûre Nature Parks, on either side of the border harbour many traces of their past. The Route des Légendes: find out all about the legends of the Dames de Meuse, the Four Aymon Sons and Roc la Tour in Monthermé - 450km itinerary in 13 stages. The Route des Fortifications: Montcornet and Rocroi - 570 km in 22 stages The Voie Verte – a green trail ideal for your family outings. There is a cycle route crossing the Ardennes from end to end, peacefully and silently: the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes, so named because the green of the meadows and forests is reflected in the river’s waters. A must for experienced sportspeople or people just out for a gentle ride. Competitive cycling, mountain-biking, or just an ordinary bike with electrical assistance or not. Perched on a Segway or seated on a rosalie quadricycle. It doesn’t matter. On the Voie Verte, away from the cars, just let yourself glide along, almost. The track is flat, following the meandering Meuse for long escapades or just a quick outing. An agreeable way of discovering the French Ardennes. The Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes is an unmissable link in the Meuse cycle route, with the EuroVelo 19 label: La Meuse à Vélo. This international route runs alongside the Meuse from its source in France, on the Langres Plateau in the south of the Grand-Est Region, down to its estuary in the Rotterdam area in the Netherlands, passing through the French and Belgian Ardennes. Ideal for watching the bucolic vistas and age-old towns pass by from an original viewpoint as you pedal along.
le long de la Semoy au départ de Monthermé

Along the Semoy Welcome to the country where the Semois (Belgium) becomes the Semoy, where you can glide down in a kayak, swept along by the wild river.

In Monthermé, the Meuse undoubtedly reveals its most beautiful stretches in the Ardennes. This authentic region hesitating between two countries inspired Rimbaud who came here to unwind. Rimbaud came to see his friend Léon Poncelet in Nohan, where his parents ran a little brewery. Usually steep-sided, the Semoy opens out onto a large alluvial plain between Tournavaux and Haulmé: in winter, the site exudes a unique atmosphere.

The mist shrouds the landscape, these hills and this river become a single element, a single colour. The poet “with soles of wind” mingles his footsteps with yours. In Rimbaud’s day, there was nothing touristic about the Semoy. You survived there by becoming a smuggler, by harvesting tobacco with a copou or making nails.

At Hautes-Rivières just as in all the Semoy villages, the noise and smoke came out of the “boutique” where people made nails in their homes, ad nauseum. It is thought that this home-metallurgy was imported by people from Liège, driven out by Charles the Bold in 1467. This was an activity that in winter enabled the loggers and raftsmen quite simply... to survive. So, they fired up the forge, with a dog running on a wheel to power the bellows – a dog’s job, for jobbing dogs! And they “nailed”: there were more than 700 nail-makers in Hautes-Rivières in about 1850.

This harassing work, steeped in sulphurous vapours, wore down the men before their time. Rimbaud saw the Semoy as a valley of misery.

On weekdays, the noise of the power hammers of the forges still reverberates around the Semoy valley, deafening, repetitive. The men are still hammering the iron: these heirs of the nail-makers continue today to supply precision parts for the cutting-edge automotive and aeronautics industries. The Quality Valley has lost none of its reputation.

Did you know? The nuts and bolts holding the Eiffel Tower together are the result of the work of the Ardennes forges, acknowledged for the high quality of their know-how. If the tower is still standing today, it’s certainly thanks to the quality of these parts made in the “boutiques” of the Semoy and Meuse valleys!


Tournavaux Vallée de la Semoy
IN HAUTES-RIVIÈRES - The nail-makers’ walk Take this walk that joins two beautiful viewpoints, the Croix de l'Enfer and the Roche Margot: here you’ll see a region that hasn’t renounced its industrial past. In Hautes-Rivières, the path climbs abruptly taking you up to the Croix de l'Enfer panorama, surrounded by a forest, certainly one of the most beautiful when it cloaks itself in its autumn colours. Further along, taking the Grande Randonnée path for a while, the village has not forgotten its metallurgical traditions.