Visiting the Ardennes? What fun things to do and see in this department rich in centuries-old history?
The Ardennes is a department in the Grand Est region of France. The capital of this rural territory bordering Belgium is Charleville-Mézières. The department consists of valleys crossed by rivers such as the Meuse and the Chiers.
Charleville-Mézières and Sedan are the main cities and gather most of the population. Conflicts with the German neighbor marked the department, including emblematic monuments such as the castle of Sedan, the fortified site of Charlemont, and the fort of Ayvelles.
Many fortified churches and medieval sites are also among the must-sees on site. In addition, the greenway bike path and the sites of the Ardennes forest attract many visitors. Summer festivals and museums are a bonus for travelers.
Wondering what to do in the Ardennes once there? Here is a selection of the essential activities you visit the Ardennes and want to make the most of your stay!
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The 19 Fun and Best Things to do in the Ardennes
1. The Arthur Rimbaud Museum
The Arthur Rimbaud Museum is entirely dedicated to the illustrious poet. He naturally holds his place in his hometown of Charleville-Mézières. It will help you know everything about this monument of French literature.
The museum remains a tourist must-visit in the Ardennes. It takes place in a historical monument of Charleville. This old mill is located on the banks of the Meuse. It allows you to complete your visit with a refreshing walk along this great river.
2. Sedan Castle
The castle of Sedan is perched on a promontory on the edge of the Meuse. It is the leading tourist site of the department. The castle of Sedan has the title of the largest fortress of medieval origin in Europe! It measures more than 35,000 m² spread over seven floors.
Its walls, of colossal thickness, guaranteed safety to the occupants! Sedan Castle is the best place to visit in the Ardennes if you are passionate about heritage.
3. Argonne Discovery Park
It is located in the Argonne forest, more precisely in the town of Olizy-Primat. The Parc Argonne Découverte is an animal and leisure park.
This tourist site is full of animals, making it a perfect place to visit with families and kids.
You can enjoy exciting exhibitions, see fabulous animals and share the daily life of the caretakers.
Fun activities and themed games are offered and regularly renewed. The Argonne Discovery Park is one of the tourist must-sees to visit in the Ardennes.
Do not hesitate to go there when you come to the department!
TerrAltitude is a fun park in the heart of the Ardennes Regional Natural Park. Nestled, or instead suspended! It is a vast structure dedicated to tree climbing and with several difficulty levels. Everyone can find something for themselves!
You can rub the Fantastical: for nearly a kilometer, this zip line will propel you to more than 100 km / h. thrills guaranteed you will have understood! Courses worthy of Indiana Jones are offered to the most adventurous of you. For others, why not try off-road electric scooters?
In short, if you are looking for what to do in the Ardennes, go quickly to TerrAltitude!
5. Nichet Cave
The cave of Nichet is located in Fromelennes. It would be a shame to come and visit the Ardennes without making a stop. Nichet Cave is carved into stunning limestone. This sublime natural site takes you up to thirty meters underground.
The site is divided into rooms spread over three levels. Explore it with a guide to know about this magnificent site created by time.
The proposed animations are remarkable. Light and sound effects reinforce the place’s unique atmosphere.
6. Woinic, the Colossus of the Ardennes
Woinic? His name doesn’t mean anything to you. Yet he is the undisputed master of the department! This giant boar sculpture was made by the Ardennes sculptor Éric Sléziak. Its construction took more than ten years! The wild boar was chosen because it is the symbol of the department. The result is worth a visit, and the sculpture is a significant point of interest in the Ardennes.
Between 1 January 1983 and 15 December 1993. This monumental work ended up on. A motorway area. We see it several kilometers, around eight meters high and fourteen meters long!
7. The Museum Of The Last Cartridge
The House of the Last Cartridge is a museum of the entire city of Bazeilles. It is dedicated to the battles of the Battle of Sedan. The museum is in a historic building that houses the fighters of the Blue Division.
These soldiers of the Marine Infantry opposed the Bavarians during the war of 1870 within this building.
This is to say how important the place is! Particularly interesting, the visit is a must for anyone looking for what to do in the Ardennes.
8. The castle of Hierges
The castle of Hierges is located on a rocky outcrop in the town of Hierges. It dominates the Joncquière valley near the Franco-Belgian border.
The ruins of the castle have been classified as a “Historical Monument. It is one of the most famous monuments in the department.
If you decide to visit the Ardennes, go through the picturesque town of Hierges, which offers these impressive ruins.
9. The Museum of Ardennes Metallurgy
Yes! The Musée de la métallurgie ardennaise is dedicated to the history of metallurgy in the Meuse Valley.
The Ardennes is famous for being home to steel mills and being a mecca for metallurgical production in France.
You will know everything about the department’s industrial past in this museum. It is located at the end of Bogny-sur-Meuse.
The museum is a must to visit in the Ardennes for its cultural importance. But, when do you go there?
10. The Saint-Laurent Animal Park
The Saint-Laurent Animal Park is a 38-hectare nature reserve populated by wild animals. It is Located between Aiglemont and Saint-Laurent near Charleville-Mézières. It offers a sumptuous route of about 3 km. By borrowing it, you can observe the animals closely – separated by fences, rest assured!
Wild boars, deer, deer, deer, or mouflons live there quietly. Native tree species are presented in concise signs. Several signposted sections wind through this protected natural area. Find out with family or friends!
11. Bairon Lake
Lake Bairon is a tourist must-visit in the Ardennes. Besides the walking trails, you can enjoy the activities offered in its vast leisure center. A landscaped beach and a swimming area await the curious looking to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
Located in the municipalities of Sauville and Chesne, Lake Bairon is a destination of choice.
12. The Perched Oak
Le Chêne Perché is a natural space where you can have fun, eat and even stay for several days. In the company of your significant other, you can enjoy a romantic getaway in the trees by renting a cabin. Houses on stilts are also available!
This vast leisure site offers mountain bike trails, majestic zip lines, or hiking trails to walk peacefully. However, visiting the Ardennes without discovering the Perched Oak? what a pity!
13. The citadel of Givet
The citadel of Givet, also called Fort de Charlemont, is located near the Belgian border on the Meuse. It dominated the little town of Givet and served as a checkpoint overlooking the Meuse valley. Built by the famous Charles V in 1555, this historic building is a fascinating heritage destination.
When you are looking for what to do in the Ardennes, go for a walk! The citadel of Givet is a beautiful place you can visit with your family and friends.
14. The War and Peace Museum
The War and Peace Museum in the Ardennes is in the town of Novion-Porcien in the Ardennes department. It is dedicated to the memory of the Franco-German War of 1870, the First World War, and the Second World War. This historic site is quite exciting.
Our advice? Discover it with your youngsters. They will appreciate the pedagogical explanations provided by passionate guides. The museum is a site to visit in the Ardennes without moderation!
15. Mount Olympus Park
It is in Charleville-Mézières, a stone’s throw from the Place Ducale, that we find the site of Mount Olympus on almost fifteen hectares.
This vast leisure area includes a nautical base, an aquatic center, playgrounds, a marina, a municipal campsite, and a park for hikers.
The Park of Mount Olympus is accessible by the footbridge of the Old Mill: the Rimbaud Museum. Arranged respecting the beauty of the site, go quickly to enjoy it!
16. The Puppets
The World Festival of Puppet Theatres is an annual event in Charleville-Mézières. It promotes the puppet show and lasts ten days. This festival is one of the most important in Ardennes. It brings together about 150,000 spectators!
Thirty nations are represented, each with a very particular puppet culture. When looking for what to do in the Ardennes, it would be a shame to miss these spectacular festivities! Attending the puppets show is one of the fun things to do in Ardennes.
17.The Lake of the Vieilles Forges
Lac des Vieilles Forges is a reservoir located in the communes of Harcy, Renwez, and Les Mazures in Ardennes. It has a beautiful leisure base and is bordered by many Wagnerian forests.
On nearly 140 hectares, you can admire the beauty of the department’s landscapes. The little extra? The activities are offered on its nautical base during the summer season. Do not hesitate to go for a walk when visiting the Ardennes!
18. The ducal square of Charleville-Mézières
Founded in 1606 by Charles de Gonzague, Charleville-Mézières is a splendid city. Place Ducale is simply one of the most beautiful baroque squares in northeast France. It is even the twin sister of the Place des Vosges in Paris!
This architectural jewel was also classified as a Historic Monument in 1946. The square has 26 pavilions sitting on a beautiful gallery of arcades. Our advice? Visit it in the company of a local guide. Visiting the ducal square of Charleville-Mezieres is one of the best things to do in Ardennes.
What to do in the Ardennes when you appreciate good food? Go for a gastronomic getaway, Pardi! The department’s heritage is expressed through mythical dishes, such as the bare ass carcasses, the tripe with dry ham of the Ardennes, the cooking game, and the salad with bacon. The restaurateurs also offer rethel white pudding and local brewers Ardennes beer.
In the countryside, we feast the most: what are you waiting for to discover the region’s flavors?
How to go to the Ardennes?
It is easy to access the Ardennes department by air. Also, the small airfield of Charleville-Mézières, Charleroi airport welcomes tourists from all over Europe. Do not hesitate to use a flight comparator like Skyscanner to find your ticket at the best price.
Given the specificity of this rural department, we advise you to rent a vehicle to move around without taking the lead. Indeed, the car is essential to move in the Ardennes given the weak public transport network.
If you are coming from Paris, the A4 and A44 motorways will take you to Charleville-Mézières. At 2h30, you will arrive in the capital of the Ardennes.
Where to stay in the Ardennes?
You must also look for accommodation when looking for what to do in the Ardennes. You will find several types of accommodation to choose from according to your desires and budget.
As far as hotels are concerned, the Charleville-Mézières is where we find the most establishments. The budget is affordable regardless of the season of your trip.
Some small picturesque municipalities have a rental offer. It will help you to enjoy affordable rates and more typical accommodation.
Consider, the villages of Wasigny, Omont, Mesmont or Hargnies. As they are the most charming in the area! To find the solution that suits you best, use a hotel comparator.
Prepare your suitcases and go to the Ardennes to explore fun and the best things to do in Ardennes!