The heart of Europe is characterized by a long and turbulent history with many serious battles and wars in which bishop seats, imperial cities, and battle lines played important roles.


The twin cities of Charleville-Mézières at the river Meuse are also famous for the Place Ducale. It is surrounded by 17th-century pavilions and it features an arcade gallery. The nearby Notre-Dame Basilica was built between 1499 and 1610 in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style. This capital of the French Ardennes is the economic center of the region.

Reims en Epernay

When you say Champagne, you think of Reims. No wonder many people go to Reims to buy Champagne–it is the center of the Champagne trade. Yet Reims offers more than bubbles. Sightseeing attractions in the city include the massive Romanesque St.Remibasiliek the Cathedral of Reims, the Archbishop’s Palace (Palais du Tau), and the Roman triumphal arch Porte Mars.
The best place for actual Champagne is just a short drive away in Epernay, historically the center of champagne production. Here the soil is chalky and ideal for growing grapes. The varieties of grapes required for Champagne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are grown in the immediate vicinity.


On top of the hill lies the ancient city of Laon, the capital of the Aisne. Laon (note: the ‘A’ is not pronounced) was already a bishop’s seat in the 5th century, and was the royal residence in the Carolingian period. Construction of the famous Cathedral of Laon began in 1155, after its Romanesque predecessor was burned. The old town still contains many medieval buildings and a small museum about the city’s history.


It seems far, but Paris is easy to visit on a day trip—just a two-hour drive away. And with the TGV you are already a half- hour into the heart of town. There is a morning train there and an evening return.
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, and Sacre Coeur. What to do in Paris needs no further explanation.


The Castle of Sedan is the largest medieval castle in Europe with an area of 35,000 square meters on 7 levels. It is the only remnant of the former fortifications in and around the city. In 1870, most defenses were destroyed, except for the castle.

Wars around Verdun

Verdun has a place in European history because of the Treaty of Verdun, where the Carolingian empire was divided in 843. In 1552, King Henry II of France Sovereign Prince of the Three Dioceses: Bishopric of Metz, Toul and Bishopric Bishopric of Verdun.
The Battle of Verdun during the First World War took the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Both monuments and cemeteries are located south of Verdun.


In order to explore the French Ardennes are by The Country du Tourisme des Ardennes has mapped out six themed routes for visitors to explore the French Ardennes. These routes are very well marked and with map in hand you’ll experience a wonderful trip. Each plotted route will take you past all the major attractions of the entire region.

ROUTE RIMBAUD – VERLAINE runs along Tourteron (150 km)
ROUTE DES FORETS, LACS ET ABBAYES runs past lakes, forests, and villages (260 km).
ROUTE DU PORCIEN goes through villages with timbered houses (110 km)

Day trips in the French Ardennes