I am Emmanuelle Hubert, author of the blog « Au goût d’Emma », and today I’m going to take you on a walk! On my blog, I like to combine escapades and gastronomy, which is why I chose to tell you about this gourmet walk in the Ardennes. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny weekend to stretch our legs in the Eastern Townships, more precisely around Malmedy, a historic city located at the gateway to the High Fens, one of the most beautiful places in the Ardennes.
St. Peter’s Cathedral, Malmedy
Malmedy is an excellent base for exploring Wallonia. If you want to stay for several days, you should book a holiday home in Malmedy, such as this one, which is located in a historic district not far from the starting point of the Extratrails.
The walk to Malmedy that I will tell you about is ideal to discover the region in all its splendor, without the crowds of the neighboring High Fens. We were the only hikers on most of the route, and this despite enjoying ideal weather! If you like to combine effort and comfort, just like us, this gourmet walk is for you.
Gourmet break in Malmedy
We decided to start the day by eating in a restaurant in Malmedy. As I told you earlier, this walk in the Ardennes is perfect for gourmands, because the city center of Malmedy is full of nice places to enjoy before or after the hike.
We chose to try a new place in Malmedy, Le Bidou. This small restaurant with an eclectic decoration and a slightly vintage atmosphere serves sandwiches, salads, and other treats if you prefer a little sweet break. We ordered their menu, which includes a soup and a tartine (hearty!). We were already full, but since we are real gourmands, we ended the meal with a sweet treat: original cupcakes that were as pretty as good, served in lovely retro cups!
We’re going up
After this nice meal, we are ready to begin the 8 km Extratrail course that starts from the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Malmedy.
The city of Malmedy is a historic city that was built in the 7th century. In the past, Malmedy was one of the largest tanneries centers in Europe. If you want to learn more about the city, visit the Malmundarium, the city’s museum located in the former abbey of Malmedy, next to the starting point of this walk.
If you prefer to go straight into the serious stuff: go! The walk starts with a nice climb to reach the heights of Malmedy. In just a few minutes, we left the city and we are now on a small path that takes us through the woods.
Finally, we arrive at what seems to be the top of a hill that overlooks the city, where a charming little viewpoint awaits us.
Intriguing encounters in the woods
Just after, we come across a sign explaining that we are next to one of the geological curiosities of the region, the Poudingue, a sedimentary rock that looks like a human construction. But it isn’t, it is indeed the work of nature… It looks like small raisins in a pudding paste… hence the name!
We continue our walk in the forest to another point of interest that is equally intriguing, a series of small religious monuments, the “steps of the Calvary”. We follow them and go down slowly towards the center of Malmedy.
From the Warche to the Hermitage of Bévercé
Are we finished with the hike already? Of course not! We keep following the signs indicating the green Extratrail route and we cross a small part of the city until we reach the Warche. We follow the river to the industrial district until we get to the swimming pool “Mon Repos”.
Now it is time to start the second big climb of this course and to leave the city once more, to find ourselves alone again in the world. The climb is quite steep at the Bévercé hermitage, an old hermitage classified as a “remarkable monument” dating from the 15th century (but rebuilt in 1742) and where a hermit still lives.
On the heights of Malmedy
Finally, we reach the top! And a change of scenery: we follow a charming path facing green meadows, before starting a small section with the typical landscapes of the High Fens. Finally, a little plain with the bonus of a beautiful view of Malmedy over the small firs and shrubs.
We continue the walk in the forest, with a steep descent that quickly brings us to the Old Way of Liège.
We almost thought we had arrived as we were distracted by two little donkeys coming to say hello! But hey, we still had a last steep climb before starting the final descent. And it was worth it because the most beautiful panoramic view was waiting for us!
Almost 3 hours after leaving (and taking our time), we are back in Malmedy. We are exhausted but happy with this beautiful getaway in the heart of the Ardennes!
My tips for this walk
- Parking in the centre of Malmedy is charged from Monday to Saturday. You can easily find free parking spaces away from the city centre.
- The 8km walk consists of two loops that each takes you back to the centre of Malmedy. So you can choose to take your gourmet break before, after or even during the hike, when you go back to the centre.
- The extratrail route is quite well marked, with signs along the whole trail. However, I recommend that you follow the GPX route of the course, since there are some changes of direction that can be easily missed, and at the end of the trail there are two panels that have been vandalized and are unreadable.
- Remember to wear good shoes: the trail may be slippery in places, if it has rained recently.
Stay in Malmedy!
Does this walk make you want to spend a weekend in Malmedy? Discover all our holiday homes in this beautiful region.