Think river bathing, panoramic hikes, a mediaeval castle by night, a poetic walk along the water... The Semois valley is an entire voyage, just a stone's throw away!
SWIM IN THE RIVER - HERBEUMONT
We've selected two river bathing spots in Herbeumont, both typical of the Semois valley.
At the foot of the impressive Conques viaduct, 'Nawès beach' extends its lawns along the rocks. The site is upstream of a dam, which ensures a good water level. The beach is accessible to persons with reduced mobility (practicable access path and descent on a gentle slope to the water).
At the confluence of the Semois river and Antrogne stream, the 'little Antrogne beach' is incredibly charming. You get there via a charming path, in the middle of the forest. The beach is suitable for young children, who can paddle in the stream. The current and depth are low and they can play there without danger (under supervision, obviously).
Combine walking and swimming on the signposted walks nearby: 'L’Antrogne', which is quite peaceful or the 'Pierre Perrin' (departure directly from Nawès beach), which is more energetic.
Discover the best natural bathing spots in the Ardennes
CLIMB UP TO A MAGNIFICENT PANORAMA - SAINTE-CÉCILE
7 km, 2 hours and a 200 m change in elevation, these are the figures for the hike that takes you to the peak of the Rocher du Chat (cat's rock) in Sainte-Cécile. It's steep and prickly but beautiful when you get to the top! The Semois valley and the forest as far as the eye can see provide a dream setting for a picnic. It's an opportunity to test local products!
The walk ends very easily after the view, bringing you back to your starting point. It's great for your digestion.
If you're feeling energetic, there are plenty of climbing hikes here, such as 'Les crêtes de semois' (peaks of Semois) (departure from Poupehan), a route that follows the famous 'promenade des échelles' (ladders walk) (Rochehaut). Make sure you're wearing good shoes.
And on a cooler level, we've found a short walk through Herbeumont.
CROSS A TEMPORARY BRIDGE - LAFORÊT/VRESSE-SUR-SEMOIS
A long time ago, the tobacco growers had a bright idea to get to the village from the fertile land along the river, without a detour. Each summer, they set up a wooden footbridge over the Semois river. Nowadays, the tradition continues... exclusively for walkers.
This little 'Pont de Claies' (Claies bridge) which crosses the Semois river connects the charming villages of Vresse-sur-Semois and Laforêt, at the ford of the 'Grand I' island. The structure is made from plaited hazel wood panels, placed on wooden pillars in the riverbed.
This footbridge can only be set up and used when the water level is low. This is why it only appears in the summer, assembled and dismantled each year.
The tradition used to be very common, but today it's the last bridge of its kind in the region. At Laforêt, you'll see other traces of the past: an old washing place, a fountain and a large drinking trough.
The 'Pont de Claies' is on the 3 km long pedestrian walk no. 16 (vertical red rectangle). It's a brand-new walk, incredibly charming and easy to follow.
VISIT A MEDIAEVAL CASTLE UNDER FLAME TORCH LIGHT - BOUILLON
Its long silhouette has been reflected in the Semois river, both day and night, for 1,000 years. Proudly standing on its rocky outcrop, the Château fort de Bouillon (fortified castle) is the emblem of the city. It's open to the public all year round. And in summer, you can have a torchlight-guided night tour. It's both a magical and enjoyable way to discover every corner of the feudal construction. You'll dive into the atmosphere of the time and everything's more peaceful than during the daytime. It's a must for those who love history and fantasy and anyone who relishes travelling through time. Naturally, children will be delighted: exploring a real castle by night like a knight doesn't happen to them every day!
Would you prefer a daytime visit? It's just as good: in summer, you can enjoy an impressive falconry show inside the castle. Excitement guaranteed!
**Prepare your visit: book your places.**
WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RIMBAUD AND VERLAINE - LAFORÊT, CORBION
The two cursed poets are children of the French Ardennes. And Verlaine had family in the Belgian Ardennes, in Jéhonville, Carlsbourg and Paliseul, where he spent many summers. At the time when they knew each other, Rimbaud and Verlaine, with their great love of freedom, liked to walk the Ardennes paths, whose landscapes resonated with their state of mind. The Ardennes, with its captivating landscapes, misty lakes and mysterious forests, greatly inspired them.
The 'Rimbaud Verlaine route' is 300 km long in total. It has several stages in the Semois valley. Follow it: it's a poetic way to discover the villages of Laforêt, Vresse-sur-Semois, Corbion and Bouillon. And take a notebook or sketchpad with you: perhaps you'll find inspiration too!
The next stages of the route, still along the water, will take you to the Paliseul and Redu region. Little stone bridges, an enchanting forest and absolute peace and quiet are on the agenda. Our favourite goes to the Balade de la Lesse (Lesse walk), in Our (Paliseul).
This long route can be followed as a road trip over several days. It's up to you to rest when you want and travel the region by foot, bike, with your dog...
A WATERSIDE HOLIDAY
The authentic and peaceful Semois valley invites you to pause and enjoy the moment. Choose a holiday home that suits your taste and savour the benefits of a getaway at the water's pace in this land of legends.
We've selected open air activities, in the peace and quiet, and visits where social distancing is facilitated. Get away from it all with peace of mind!