Charleville-Mézières, located in northeastern France, is a charming city known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and picturesque landscapes. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Charleville-Mézières:
1. Place Ducale
This central square is the heart of Charleville-Mézières and a true architectural gem. Designed by the famous French architect Clément Métezeau, the square resembles the Place des Vosges in Paris. Surrounded by elegant facades with arcade-style shops and cafes, it is the perfect spot to relax, have a cup of coffee, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
2. Rimbaud Museum
Charleville-Mézières is the hometown of Arthur Rimbaud, one of France’s most celebrated poets. The Rimbaud Museum pays tribute to his life and work. Visitors can explore his childhood home, see personal belongings, manuscripts, and discover the poet’s creative journey. It’s a must-visit for literature enthusiasts.
3. The Puppetry Institute of Charleville-Mézières
The city is renowned for its puppetry tradition, and the Puppetry Institute is a testament to that. You can attend puppet shows, workshops, and exhibitions to learn about the art form. It’s an engaging experience for both children and adults.
4. Ardenne Abbey
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardenne_Abbey
Located just outside Charleville-Mézières, Ardenne Abbey is a peaceful and historically significant place. It was a Cistercian monastery dating back to the 12th century and is now open to the public. Explore the beautiful ruins, the abbey church, and the tranquil surroundings.
5. Meuse River Promenade
Stroll along the picturesque banks of the Meuse River and enjoy the scenic views. The promenade offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city and is perfect for a leisurely walk or a picnic. There are also several restaurants and cafes along the river where you can enjoy local cuisine.
6. Charleville-Mézières Festival
If you happen to visit during the summer, don’t miss the renowned Charleville-Mézières Festival. It is the largest international festival dedicated to puppetry and attracts artists and enthusiasts from all over the world. The streets come alive with performances, parades, and exhibitions, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.
7. Sedan Castle
Just a short drive from Charleville-Mézières, you’ll find Sedan Castle, the largest fortified medieval castle in Europe. Explore the massive fortress, walk along the ramparts, and admire the impressive architecture. The castle also hosts various events and exhibitions throughout the year.
8. Ardennes Forest
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardennes
Nature lovers will appreciate the proximity of Charleville-Mézières to the Ardennes Forest. Take a hike or bike ride through the lush greenery, discover hidden trails, and enjoy the serene beauty of the forest. It’s an ideal destination for outdoor activities and relaxation.
9. Place Winston Churchill
Another notable square in Charleville-Mézières is Place Winston Churchill, named after the renowned British statesman. This square features a beautiful statue of Winston Churchill and serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, grab a seat at a café terrace, and watch the world go by.
10. The Museum of Ardennes
Immerse yourself in the local history and heritage of the Ardennes region by visiting the Museum of Ardennes. The museum offers a comprehensive collection of archaeological artifacts, artworks, and historical objects that tell the story of the region throughout the ages. Explore the exhibits to learn about the area’s geology, prehistory, and its role in various historical events.
11. Ardennes Champagne Cellars
Charleville-Mézières is located in the Champagne-Ardenne region, known for its exquisite sparkling wine. Take a short trip to the nearby Champagne cellars and vineyards to discover the secrets of Champagne production. Enjoy guided tours, tastings, and learn about the traditional methods employed in the making of this world-famous beverage.
12. The Funicular of Montvillers
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montmartre_Funicular
Embark on a unique experience by riding the Funicular of Montvillers. This historic cable railway takes you on a scenic journey up the hill, providing panoramic views of Charleville-Mézières and its surroundings. Enjoy the picturesque landscapes and capture memorable photographs from the top.
13. Local Gastronomy
Image Source: https://www.charleville-sedan-tourisme.fr/en/gastronomy/
No visit to Charleville-Mézières is complete without savoring the local gastronomy. Indulge in traditional Ardennes dishes such as “boudin blanc” (white sausage), “potée ardennaise” (hearty stew), and “cacasse à cul nu” (potato and onion dish). Pair these delectable meals with regional wines and ciders for an authentic culinary experience.
14. Les Boucles de Meuse
Image Source: https://www.ardennes.com/hotel/les-boucles-de-meuse/
Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Les Boucles de Meuse, a network of hiking and cycling trails that meander along the Meuse River. Discover the diverse landscapes, including riverbanks, forests, and charming villages. Engage in activities like kayaking, fishing, or simply enjoy a leisurely picnic in the midst of nature.
15. The Arthur Rimbaud Trail
Pay homage to the famous poet Arthur Rimbaud by following the Arthur Rimbaud Trail. This scenic walking route takes you through the landscapes that inspired Rimbaud’s poetry. Explore the countryside, meander along the paths, and immerse yourself in the same surroundings that captivated the poet’s imagination.
16.Maison des Ailleurs
Image Source: https://www.charleville-mezieres.fr/maison-des-ailleurs
Step into the world of imagination and fantasy at Maison des Ailleurs (House of Elsewhere). This unique museum showcases the works of local artist Jean-Baptiste Cabaud, who creates intricate, dreamlike sculptures and installations. Wander through the enchanting displays that blur the boundaries between reality and fiction, and let your imagination run wild.
17. Boat Ride on the Meuse
Experience Charleville-Mézières from a different perspective by taing a boat ride on the Meuse River. Board a pleasure boat and enjoy a leisurely cruise along the tranquil waters, admiring the city’s architecture and natural surroundings. It’s a relaxing way to soak in the beauty of the region.
18. Local Markets
Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the lively markets in Charleville-Mézières. The Place Ducale hosts a weekly market where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal crafts. Engage with the friendly vendors, sample regional specialties, and take home some souvenirs or ingredients for a picnic.
19. Theatre de Charleville-Mézières
If you appreciate performing arts, make sure to catch a show at the Theatre de Charleville-Mézières. This renowned theater hosts a diverse range of performances, including plays, dance recitals, concerts, and more. Experience the local arts scene and witness the talent of both national and international artists.
20. Explore the Ardennes Villages
Venture beyond Charleville-Mézières and explore the charming villages scattered throughout the Ardennes region. Places like Monthermé, Rocroi, and Bouillon offer picturesque landscapes, medieval architecture, and a glimpse into the region’s rural life. Take leisurely walks, visit historical sites, and enjoy the tranquility of these quaint villages.
21. Maison de l’Ardoise
Discover the history of slate mining and production in the Ardennes region at Maison de l’Ardoise. This museum showcases the techniques and tools used in slate mining and offers insights into the lives of the miners. Learn about the significance of slate in the local economy and admire the beautiful slate craftsmanship.
22. Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial
Pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War II at the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial. This serene and beautifully maintained cemetery is the final resting place for over 5,000 American soldiers. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made, stroll along the rows of white crosses, and visit the memorial chapel.
23. Canoeing on the River Meuse
Image Source: https://www.freerangercanoe.com/canoeing-on-the-meuse/
For a dose of adventure and scenic beauty, embark on a canoeing or kayaking trip along the River Meuse. Several local outfitters offer rentals and guided tours, allowing you to paddle through the picturesque landscapes, enjoy the tranquility of the river, and observe the flora and fauna that thrive along its banks.
24. Local Festivals and Events
Charleville-Mézières hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, providing a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. From music festivals and art exhibitions to Christmas markets and culinary celebrations, there’s always something happening in the city that will add an extra spark to your visit.
25. Local Cuisine and Craft Beer
Indulge in the flavors of the Ardennes by sampling the region’s traditional cuisine and craft beer. Try hearty dishes like “carbonnade flamande” (beef stew), “potée champenoise” (cabbage and pork stew), and “tarte au sucre” (sugar pie). Pair these delicious meals with locally brewed beers that showcase the craftsmanship of the Ardennes’ breweries.
26. Les Hautes-Rivières
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Hautes-Rivi%C3%A8res
Explore the charming village of Les Hautes-Rivières, nestled amidst the natural beauty of the Ardennes. Take a leisurely walk along the riverbanks, admire the picturesque architecture, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance. It’s an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature.
Places and Things To Do