Do you like getting some fresh air and letting your children play outside? Then, go and discover the Ardennes region! Ardennes-Etape employs many fathers and mothers who love to have a walk in this magnificent region. Here are their favourite family walks. Pick up some ideas for your next getaway in the Ardennes!
Let’s get started on Monday!
My Monday morning was already full. From 9 am, I was to interview mothers and fathers from the Ardennes-Etape staff. I wiped my tired eyes, had a cup of tea and pulled myself together for a new week. Two colleagues were unfortunately absent, but I was able to collect enough stories to write this article about tips and tricks to fully enjoy a walk with children in the Ardennes region. #HakunaMatata
Bérinzenne : our favorite
This walk in Spa, in the Belgian Ardennes, is undoubtedly the favourite one of all the parents I have interviewed! Chance or telepathy? One hour (and a half)’s walk through easy paths, both for young and older children. If you use a pushchair, be careful because the paths are dotted with rocks.
Thomas, one of the Ardennes-Etape developers and father to Laureline and Noémie, often goes for a walk on this route with his family. If the weather allows it, you will have the opportunity to spot parachutists in the sky, which is always a great excitement for children! Moreover, the many picnic areas are great to relax and enjoy the sun. And if you are lucky, you will meet animals like frogs or deer on your way. The highlight of this walk is undoubtedly the observation tower with its panoramic view.
Florence, a marketing associate, would have also liked to enjoy this view with her boyfriend, Gaëtan, and her 3-year-old daughter, Anaé. She remembers a specific moment and starts to laugh: “We decided to climb up the tower and admire the view. I was carrying Anaé. Halfway up, we had to turn around and go back down… Gaëtan was dizzy. Too bad for the beautiful view! But in the end, it might have been a good thing because it was actually freezing! We’ll come back another time”.
Ry de Rome: get the pushchair ready
This walk trail goes around the “Ry de Rome”-lake in Couvin. It is Florence’s favourite walk trail when she visits her family. It is a 5 km walk that can be shortened (to 4 km) by crossing a small bridge, which is something that children love to do. The most pleasant about this walk trail is the location: quiet, in the woods and with a view over the lake and its animals. Moreover, the path is asphalted, which allows you to easily go round the lake by bicycle or with a pushchair. Many picnic areas are also available with benches and even a barbecue for the most greedy. Bonus: there is no tower to be visited! 🙂
Esneux : family geocaching
Mélanie, our photographer, went to Esneux with 7 children (including her son Gaspard) and 8 adults to take part in a ‘geocaching’ walk, a unique concept in the Ardennes! Geo-what? Geocaching! Mélanie, who is anything but a seasoned walker, had never heard of it before… But she now finds it the ideal way to add a little spice to a ‘simple’ walk! Some objects are hidden in different places. An application tells you if you are near one of the objects and gives you riddles to solve to get you even closer to the object. A ‘modern treasure hunt’, you might say. Watch a short film about geocaching here.
The walk chosen by Mélanie is called ‘le bois de sur le Mont’. It is 4 kilometres long and lasts 2 hours (in winter). In order to participate, children must be at least 5 years old. With the help of the Geocaching application, Mélanie is now off with her little adventurers. Mélanie recommends this walk to families who would like to experience unusual activities in the Ardennes region. Whatever your age is, everybody will enjoy it. This geocaching walk also offers a great picnic area and a large parking lot. The only drawback: don’t do it when it has snowed because the footprints in the snow are too obvious clues…
Lac des Doyards : fun for all ages
This is a walk around the ‘Lac des Doyards’ in Vielsalm, a stone’s throw from Christelle’s, Client Relationship Officer at Ardennes-Etape. Christelle often takes this walk with her 2 children, Mathis and Emeline. It lasts about 1 hour and is suitable for children of all ages: you will find games, benches, a playground, a small waterfall and a pavilion on the lake. You will also meet geese that will gladly accept some dry bread. Other advantages of this walk: a large parking lot near the playground and an asphalted path, perfect for pushchairs and bicycles! If you wish to eat something, take a short walk to the centre of Vielsalm, just 50 metres away. The restaurant ‘Les Contes de Salm’ is very close and well-known for its pleasant terrace. You may enjoy an ice-cream, a delicious pancake or an Ardennes specialty!
The High Fens: a beautiful setting with breathtaking views
The High Fens region is known as one of the most beautiful places in the Belgian Ardennes. There, you will find many walking trails, some of which are accessible to people with reduced mobility. Here is a little anecdote that occurred during a walk in the High Fens… – that’s right, when you go on an adventure, the unexpected is often to be… expected. Thomas explains: “We had found information about the walk on the internet. Unfortunately, that information was not correct. As a result, the walk ended up being much longer than expected: 12 kilometers instead of 5! The path was very muddy and Laureline enjoyed treading in puddles. But one last puddle was no puddle at all. It was just a hole filled with water! Laureline fell into it! She had water up to her thighs. Unfortunately, we had not brought any spare clothes and it was cold.” The good thing is that this story now makes the whole family laugh. Poor Laureline! No doubt that this story will now be told at each family gathering.
Last but not least : the parents under the spotlights
Who are the Ardennes-Etape parents that I had the chance to get to know in a different way? Who shared their funniest, and sometimes embarrassing, experience? Please give a standing ovation to :
- Noémie (1,5 years old)
- Laureline (4 years old)
- Autumn, but his children prefer the summer season
- When there are not too many people around
HIS TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Warm clothing in winter
- First find information about the location
- Choose an easy walk
- Take wipes with you
- Take your camera with you
- Opt for a baby carrier instead of a push chair (in order to be more free)
- Anaé (3 years old)
- In all seasons except when it is too hot, too windy or when it rains.
- In the morning because Anaé still takes a nap in the afternoon
- When there are not too many people, typically in off-season
HER TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Pay attention to the length of the walk
- Think about safety (no cars,…)
- Choose a signposted walk
- In summer: bring sun cream, a hat and water with you
- Don’t forget the favourite blanky / blanket
- Make sure to wear suitable footwear (sports shoes, boots, etc.)
- Take a backpack with you
Contact Center Associate
- Emeline (7 months old)
- Mathis (4.5 years old)
- In summer, but also in winter when it does not rain
- In the afternoon because the weather is often better (especially in winter)
HER TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Dress the children according to the season
- Take spare clothes with you
- Choose a walk accessible to pushchairs
- Good idea, but not mandatory: find a place where there are benches (for a picnic)
- Gaspard (4 years old)
- In all seasons
HER TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Put on walking shoes
- Take food and drinks with you
- Take handkerchiefs with you
When will you go on an adventure?
Now, it is your turn. Get your walking shoes ready! You are ready for some family adventure in the Ardennes.
Do not hesitate to share these walks and come enjoy them with family or friends!