Fantasticable
Fantasticable. Credit: Terraltitude

The region isn’t all about the sparkling wine and historic cities. With so much beautiful countryside, much of it surprisingly isolated, there are loads of sporty and outdoor activities on offer – great for burning off the bubbles. Here you’ll find one of France’s best family theme parks. For cyclists there are traffic-calmed routes all around the Champagne vineyards, as well as the Trans-Ardennes cycle path, a long-distance off-road route that stretches right up to the Belgian border. Or you can just fly like Superman across the River Meuse.

Related article: Great French Destinations: Champagne and the Ardennes

FANTASTICABLE

Once you’ve been driven to the top of the hill, you calmly strap yourself in and fly the 1.2km across the River Meuse valley on a massive zipwire, reaching 100kmh at maximum speed. This is what it must feel like to be an out-of-control Superman. Website: www.terraltitude.com

Elfy Park

ELFY PARK

Families with young kids will love this elf-themed adventure park where the little ones can climb tree-houses, ride zipwires, pedal go-karts and get excited on a whole host of elf-related swings, slides, toboggans, bouncy castles and other things that elves like. Website: www.elfypark.fr

Voie Verte Trans Ardennes at Revin. Photo © Laëtis Reportage

EASY CYCLING

The Trans-Ardennes Cycle Path is more than 120km long but it’s flat and tarmacked, so easy-going. Starting at Givet, on the Belgian border, it twists and turns, following the Meuse all the way to Remilly-Aillicourt. Website

Musée de la Forêt near Renwez

LIFE IN THE WOODS

Celebrating the Ardennes’ 150,000 hectares of pristine forest, the Musée de la Forêt near Renwez examines the flora and fauna you’ll find here, as well as the life and industry of those who work with the local wood. Website: www.renwez.com/musee-de-la-foretrenwez

Nigloland. Photo credit: Aube en Champagne Tourism.

NIGLOLAND

You’d better love hedgehogs if you head for this theme park. Named after the Romany word for the lovable but prickly little mammal, the attraction has four themed villages (Swiss, Marvellous, Canadian and Rock’n’Roll) with 39 attractions in all. Website: www.nigloland.fr

Canoeing the River Semois

CANOEING & KAYAKING

Head for Tournavaux, where Ardennes Semoy Loisirs rents out one-person kayaks and two-person canoes on the beautiful River Semois, snaking through the Parc Naturel Régional des Ardennes. There are four river courses ranging from 5 to 20km. Website: www.asl08.fr

The Blue Flag lake beach on Lac du Vielles Forges near Charleville

WET & DRY SPORTS

The Lac des Vieilles-Forges, north of Charleville, covers 150 hectares at the base of the Ardennes massif. Its leisure centre offers riding, tennis, biking, swimming, windsurfing and sailing. Website

Exploring the vineyards with Festi Vallée

QUAD BIKING & BUGGY DRIVING

Dom Perignon may not have approved, but thanks to Festi Vallée, based in Festigny, you can explore the vineyards and villages of the Marne Valley either on a two-seater quad bike or in a four-seater buggy. Website: www.festi-vallee51.fr

eco-friendly vineyard excursions in the town of Aÿ

ELECTRIC JEEPS

Grapes don’t respond well to exhaust fumes. Thankfully, one champagne producer in the town of Aÿ now offers excursions through the vineyards in an eco-friendly electric jeep, culminating in, of course, a picnic and a wine-tasting. Website: www.ay-eco-visite.com

Lac du Der, Europe’s largest man-made lake. Photo: Pascal Bourguignon

LAKE ACTIVITIES 

At 4,800 hectares, Lac du Der claims to be the largest man-made lake in Europe. Different areas of the lake are separated off so that the various users never disturb each other. There are three marinas and six beaches in all, plus a casino. Website: www.lacduder.com

The faux de Verzy. Photo: Maille Saif

 

AN ENCHANTED FOREST?

No one knows why there are more than 700 stunted and contorted beech trees in the forest above the town of Verzy. Is it a virus? Is it something in the soil? Is it perhaps magic? Walk and wonder at their bizarre mis-shapes and suggest your own theories. Website: www.ccvmr.com/verzy

Le Chêne Perché

SWINGING IN THE TREES

The woods of Signy-l’Abbaye are home to an adventure park called Le Chêne Perché, which gets you climbing, swinging and zip wiring through the trees. To some, it is vertigo-inducing terror; to others, just some simple monkey fun. Website: www.lecheneperche.com

From France Today magazine

 

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