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Les Ardennes

Where I was born

I was born in the French Ardennes and spent most of my childhood in the countryside near Charleville-Mézières, the capital of the Ardennes.


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Ardenne forest

La Place Ducale, Charleville Mezieres

My teenage years were spent in Charleville. I went to college Arthur Rimbaud then to lycée Chanzy there. Nothing destined me for pottery, all my education being academic.



Apart from pâté and the Battle of the Bulge, the Ardennes are famous for the international puppets festival.

"Le festival mondial des théâtres de marionnettes" was created par Jacques Felix in 1961 and takes place every two years in Charleville, the next time being in September 2013. See the festival's website for details of activities...

There will be a taster for what to expect during the main festival this coming September 2012 with a special Marionnettes week end that is happening from 20th to 23rd September in Charleville-Mézières. Again check their website for details...


Giant Puppet on a wall

Ardennais horse

Famous Ardennais

Well-known people born in the Ardennes include the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine; the international tennis player, Yannick Noah whose father, Zachary Noah, played with the Sedan football club; the writer André Dhôtel; the aviator and industrialist Andre Sommer; and many others...

The Ardennes are also of course home to the gentle Ardennais horse.


The Forest

The Ardennes departement is most famous for its magnificent forest. The name Ardennes, with an "s" for the department, and without for the geological region is derived from "Dea Arduinna", the godess of the forest. The forest covers mostly the northern part of the area, in the Meuse and the Semoy valleys.


La foret d'Elan, Ardennes village     

golden leaves

golden beech leaves

Les Crêtes

Whilst the Northern part of the Ardennes is covered with forest in the Meuse and Semoy valleys, the southern part joins the Champagne basin and is mainly wide expanses of agricultural land where apple orchards, wild flower meadows and other crops are grown. I loved the softness of this oatfield which was just starting to ripen and was undulating in the gentle breeze.

Champ de ble, Cretes pre-ardennaises     
Champ de ble, Cretes pre-ardennaises     
Champ de ble, Cretes pre-ardennaises     

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