The French Ardennes
Office de Tourisme du Pays Sedanais
35 Rue du Ménil
F- 08 200 Sedan
Tél : +33 3 24 27 73 73
Fax : +33 3 24 29 03 28
Copyright picture : S. Ortega
What is now the national frontier was originally a boundary established in 1573 in the woods between Sedan and Bouillon under the government of the family de la Marck, princes of Sedan. The inhabitants of Sedan were complaining about the frequent intrusion of the inhabitants of Bouillon into their forest...
Two big industrial cities developed at 20 km from each other. Sedan and Charleville are situated at 15 and 30 minutes from Bouillon along the motorway.
From 1430 Sedan became the principality of the princes de la Marck, who built their castle there. In the 17th century their successors, the family de la Tour d'Auvergne, were forced to give the principality up to the French Crown. The castle became the biggest of Europe thanks to Louis XIV's master-builder, Vauban.
Charleville was created in a grid format by Charles of Gonzaga, whose family were deeply involved with the French court. It in centered around the dramatic Ducal Square which became the model for Paris's celebrated Place des Vosges. The old military city Mézières, next door, has preserved extensive fortifications and a basilica. We can also visit several museums: the museum of the Ardennes, the museum Rimbaud and the museum of puppets.
There are many castles and abbeys in the surrounding country, amongst which we must not omit the "Ligne Maginot" with the fort of Villy la Ferté that was overwhelmed during the battle of May 1940. Situated near Sedan, Bazeilles, with its ossuary and the "House of the Last Cartridge", is, with Floing, one of the most important witnesses of the war of 1870 that marked the end of the Second Empire. Indeed, Napoleon III passed his first night as a Prussian prisoner in Bouillon.
The castle of Lombut is characteristic of 12th century forts. The old Charterhouse of "Mont Dieu" is situated in a leafy setting in the middle of a forest where hundred-year-old oaks still grow. The old post house of Launois sur Vance organizes many events and activities in the summertime.
Mouzon with its Spanish house, its Bourgogne Gate, its museum of felt and above all its magnificent abbey church, with a finely restored organ, are well worth visiting.