Let’s meet Josiane and Antoine, a couple of friendly Ardennes-Etape owners who offer their guests walks from their cottage in Charneux, on the beautiful plateau of Herve. Dogs are welcome in this holiday home, and that gives us the opportunity to go on one of these walks with our four-legged friends.
A good start of the week
Today, I met Josiane, one of our owners who, along with her husband Antoine, owns a holiday home in Charneux, on the Herve plateau in the Ardennes. We are going for a stroll to discover the surroundings, an ideal walk to do with dogs. Josiane and I share the same thought: « what a great way to start the week on a Monday morning! » Especially, with everything I ate during the weekend (just like every weekend), stretching my legs is not going to hurt me.
Antoine and Josiane propose several walks, which are possible to do with dogs, starting from their holiday home. These different walks consist of loops of diverse distances that can be combined with each other. It is possible to walk for half an hour or for two hours. For sportspeople, these walks are also an opportunity to practice canicross. These owners also provide their guests with an annotated map of the region that traces the various walks. It’s clear, so you can easily shorten or lengthen your walk. I found it very convenient!
We went for a walk, Josiane and I, along with our furry companions, Pinouille and Joya, two of Josiane’s dogs (she has more). Just as Pinouille, who’s almost 14 years old, is very quiet; Joya, who is just one-year-old, is very excited with the idea of going for a stroll.
So we leave the holiday home to go on a 4 km walk through the so-called places of Charneux. We are lucky, the sun is out and the weather is nice. The walk begins on a small road that is rarely used by cars. We take the opportunity to let the dogs free so they can frolic at ease, but Joya is a little too adventurous. We have to put her on a leash so that she doesn’t leave on her own.
This region is ideal for walks: the hedgerow landscape that characterizes the country of Herve offers many paths between meadows and fields. It is a truly peaceful environment, different from those of other regions of the Belgian Ardennes. We arrive then at a place called Hirevache. The small road turns into a very pleasant wooded path that leads to the hamlet of Asse. The view is beautiful! A stream, the Rau de Monty, bordered by old willows crosses the landscape, making it Josiane’s favourite place. A little further, we cross the same river by a small stone pontoon bridge. It’s the perfect opportunity for the dogs to go for a dip in the water. Seeing Joya’s white coat, I tell myself that it will turn brown before the walk is over!
A great team
We arrive at an intersection and take a right to join the hamlet of Asse. Again, there is a water source to the delight of our companions, who take a moment to have a drink. This is also an opportunity for Josiane to give them a treat, they deserve it! They are very wise. I love animals but am not able to have any in my apartment, so it is really nice to be able to walk with these two rascals. We come now to a very small path with a quite steep slope. And, because of the cold weather of recent days, the ground is still covered with ice. So we climb carefully to avoid slipping, but the path is not long. Josiane and I talk about everything and nothing. She explains that she is always looking for regional artisans, in order to be able to offer her guests local products to taste. What attentiveness! We arrive then to a road bordered by meadows. The horses are out and are very curious to see the dogs arrive. Luckily, Joya was on a leash; otherwise, I think she would have gone running after them, she is really not afraid!
The Val Dieu abbey
Further on, we arrive at a crossroads. Josiane explains that by taking a left and taking a path through the woods, we can reach the abbey of Val Dieu in just 15 minutes. If you’ve never been there, know that it’s worth it! The abbey is beautiful and its park is a really nice place to walk. There is also the possibility to have a bite and taste the Val Dieu beer, which is produced at the same place and is well known in the region (I personally love it!).
For our part, we turn right to take the path that brings us slowly to the cottage. There is a way to walk along a road to go back, but Josiane recommends to take a path not accessible to cars. The road is indeed frequently used by cars that go to Val Dieu during weekends. So it’s best to take the path that makes walking more enjoyable. At the end of the road, you can already see the cottage a little lower. Seeing all these landscapes, I think to myself that this walk should be even more beautiful in spring when the greenery and flowers reappear. Ten minutes later, we finally arrive at the end of our walk. Seeing the muddy legs and happy heads of Joya and Pinouille, I can confirm that they had fun! After an hour and ten minutes walking, it is time for us to go inside to chat and have a good cup of tea.
How about giving this Ardennes hike a try?
If you are interested in doing this walk or if this article made you want to stay in Charneux with your family and your doggie, I invite you to discover the superb holiday home of Josiane and Antoine.