Finally, we got to the end of August and its time that my dad will take “his vacation” from work, and so, we had just three whole days to travel somewhere. Again a discussion in the house started all about if to take the car to north of Italy (6.5 hours’ drive in addition to my breaks makes it +8h), or taking a flight to Milan, or maybe to take our car to Switzerland (~5.5h) so my parents were talking and talking and finally when they decided that I’m, yes, myself too little to this journey at the moment (come on…), they decided to take the car to somewhere closer to our house in Luxembourg. My mom came with the Idea of the Ardenne- Champagne area and started her research in the Ardenne’s website, which is a great website in French about the area and its attractions.
That was it. Our first road trip was 1.5 hour drive from our house in Lux. The first thing they did is to choose a place to sleep in, a point that no matter how the day would look like, will have a nice place to sleep in (they think they can sleep with me #EvilLaugh). So after a long researcher, my mom found in hotels.com this fabulous Domaine Chateau Faucon close to the city of Sedan that we planned to visit. And as they have now a little princess in the house I agreed as well. So we headed to our first road trip the three of us. First stop was (besides a stop for a bottle and screaming along the way) )1( Givet on the border between France and Belgium, the view of this small town with the river Meuse and the fortress above it was beautiful and worth to go through there just for the photo. (1.a) the Charlemont fortress was built at first by the king Charles the fifth in the 16 century, check out opening hours and tours in this website the tours depart from the tourist’s office we just watched it from the river promenade. The French commando still uses it how cool is that.
Besides and the fortress, we parked in the big parking area and went to roll with my car (the stroller), we went to a short walk after a 1:30 drive, it was Sunday so the town was not crowded probably, all for their weekends. A couple of restaurants were open, mostly with locals. We walked a little to see the church and the Hotel de Ville building. They were nice but my parents said this town looked like that time stand still there, there are building that hasn’t been constructed after the world war, you can imagine the war scene while walking there. But no surprise, this region of Arddenes and Champagne has seen 2000 years of bad wars, because of the geographic of the area many intrusions were from here. So looking at this countryside today you might still fill that the smoke filled the air here 62 years ago.
Next stop (2) Was Fumay. it’s a beautiful relaxed small town along the Meuse river. We took my ‘car’ and took a nice short walk along the river to see the cute ducks. We planned to see (3) Montherme but it was a long ride for us so will get there next time. Its suppose to have the most beautiful view point of the Arddene so you might skip Fumay for this one, (4) Charleville Mezieres. It’s a large city in the area you should put on the GPS the place Ducal from the 17 century it’s a nice place with colorful people restaurants etc. We passed it without stopping. (5) Our chateau, Domaine Chateau Faucon, finally we got to the Palace de creme de la creme it’s a really nice hotel, we got a nice room it was comfortable to the three of us, we bought French cheese fresh baguette and I had my milk bottle and my parents got so excited from the chateau garden we had a picnic, there was a wedding music and the bride and groom arrived at their car to the cheers of their guests such a romantic atmosphere.
Day two- champagne! Before heading to this area there’s a really good movie in Netflix you should watch, A Year In Champagne so just to get a glimpse into the history and the hard work around the harvest and producing this fabulous Drink the symbol of a love celebration seduction and romance, we headed to the region excited to see all the vines. First stop (6) the biggest boar you ever saw! It’s the symbol of the Arddenne region, we must say that was such a good attraction to stand next to the huge metal wild boar with its proportional size of the real animal it was awesome. Don’t forget to check out its little tale so precise. (7) Epernay – the capital of Champagne region. If you saw the movie you probably know it by now. When we started to see vines covering the hills around this town and beautiful villages that adding warm colors to this green view, an image that in your imagination been done with a brush on a canvas. A view of inspiration. We knew we are close. We got to the famous avenue where all the big and small winery is. It’s a beautiful avenue with its old 17\18 century building you can choose a winery and take a tour. During the weekend you should book in advance, and of course, enjoy a glass of champagne. We bought a bottle to celebrate something (I wonder for what occasion it will be), from the famous Moet winery. Can’t wait to try this one, and remember “don’t drink to feel better, only drink to feel even better”. We got very accurate instruction to drink it with exactly 3 cubes of ice. Don’t miss a ride with a car between the vines. It was one of the highlights for my parents, a romantic stop by the vines to take a close look at how precise it is. The rows of the vines, the fresh grapes… If you are in the season, take a tour in one of the winery’s they will already show you.
Next stop (8) Cathedral of Reims Notre Dame de Reims (the history of the cathedral). The biggest city in the region. The impressive cathedral that was built in Gothic style and the most beautiful gothic cathedral still standing. Coronation of the kings of France was taken place in it. The cathedral was damaged many times throughout history. Because of natural damages and political affairs, one of the famous statues of the cathedral is the smiling angel of Reims that was damaged during world war I and symbolize the spirit of the French. This angle is really unique one. When you are able to create a smile in the art that transform this positive feeling when looking at it is marvelous. We sat facing the cathedral enjoying the look of it and the great architecture of the building, imagining what it was like when the kings were walking inside this cathedral to their coronation ceremony. You should also go inside the cathedral its impressive the columns, the arches and the stained glasses some are still from the 13 century, and there’s one that made by Marc Shagale. Reims city is nice, a modern city with all the branded shops and nice coffee places. The avenue with the thrum is worth walking into. (9) Back to our chateau – forgot to say that the breakfast there is amazing. High cholesterol food and sweets to balance it and Fresh juices. No vegetables of course. When we got back to the hotel, baby Emma kept her parents busy so we didn’t make it for dinner its till 2130. Daddy tried to explain and convince and in the end they were so kind to give us some cheese, butter, and baguette (all you really need) …
Day 3- Sedan – sedan fortress considers the biggest one in Europe. When you enter the yard looks like you are in Games of Thrones episode. My parents lift me up on the carrier for a tour. I fall asleep immediately and stayed like that for most of the walk. The museum was very interesting with all of the interesting points explained in English with special pictures for kids! Original paintings and demonstrated scenes of daily life in this castle gives you the picture what it was like living in that fortress.
Headed back to our home tired and happy till next time…