Luxury holidays in Champagne-Ardenne

If only the sheep would quieten down... That’s as bumptious as this tranquil corner of France gets. Ardennes is an unspoilt rural département in the north-east – not to be confused with its namesake broader region, which extends into Luxembourg and Belgium. The area’s World War II past is hard to fathom, so serene is the landscape of farmland and sleepy villages. Local hub Charleville-Mézières is a town of elegant squares, a museum or two, and go-slow cafés and bistros, united by their quiet charm. The Ardennes hills, and rivers Meuse and Semoy are a big draw for outdoorsy peace-seekers, wonderful for walking, fishing, kayaking and climbing. And when aren’t you in the mood for a little champagne tasting?

Areas in Champagne-Ardenne

When to go

You only have to look at the 50-shades- of-green scenery to realise this region gets a lot of rain. Summer months are driest and warmest – any time between May and September – with July and August being peak visitor season.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Brussels airport is around two hours from the Ardennes by car. That’s at least 30 minutes nearer than Paris Charles de Gaulle, with no painful Paris traffic.
  • Trains

    Take the TGV from Paris Gare de l’Est to Charleville-Mézières or Sedan (each around two hours).
  • Automobiles

    You’ll want some wheels to explore the area, if only to get to a carpark from which to hike the forest trails. Hire some at Brussels airport or at the train station in Charleville-Mézières.
  • Taxis

    You’ve got more chance of hailing a tractor. Your best bet is to book a cab through your hotel. Sachy Taxi Olivier Philippe, aka STOP, operates out of Florenville (+33 (0)6 83 45 89 70). In Charleville-Mézières, try Allo Taxi (+33 (0)3 24 37 17 17).