Category Archives: Tourism

Roman miles in the French Ardennes

I always like to imagine what a place looked like in ancient times. Who walked here, what happened and how did it became what it is today. Tourteron build on a small ridge must obviously have a rich history. And we’re not talking about the two wars of the last century.

During the Gallo-Roman period the Ardennes were a part of Gallia Belgica. It was populated by the Remi and other tribes. Possibly the Remi lived here since the ridge offers natural protection. There are still only two ways into town. It must have been a good choice to settle here.

 

France during the Roman period

As we know the Romans build routes in all directions. Reims (60km south of Tourteron) was a true interchange of that time. For instance it’s on the road from Rome to England and from Central France to Cologne. That road must have passed Tourteron in a certain radius since it connect Reims and Charleville-Meziérès. Although back then there was only Meziérès. Charleville was erected from scratch only 1600 years later.

In the Roman period Meziérès was called Castricum.

The best proof that the Ardennes played a role in ancient Roman time is a forgotten battle.
Julius Caesar himself went to battle here at Bibrax, now an insignificant little village south of Laon. The so called Battle of the Axona (Aisne) was fought in 57 BC, between the Roman army of Gaius Julius Caesar and the united Belgae. Over 300.000 soldiers were defeated by the only 40.000 men under Caesar.

You can still see the fortress of Bibrax in the fields between Laon and Soissons.

The Roman almost paved the Ardennes with roads and military camps. Some camps turned into towns. The traditional shape of the castellum can still be seen in Ambonnay, La Neuville-en-Tourne-à-Fuy and Suippes. Mostly with a rectangular north/south and east west lay-out.

map of ambonnay

Both castra were carefully planned to protect the road. Ambonnay to protect the road between Reims (Durocortorum) and Chalons-en-Champagne (Durocatalauni). Suippes to protect the road from Chalons-en-Champagne to Cologne passing Attigny and possibly Tourteron.

So maybe – really maybe – we might have seen ox carriages passing our mill a little 2000 years ago.

ox carriage

About the battle of the Axona
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slag_bij_de_Aisne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Axona
http://aisne.com/La-ville-feodale-de-Bibrax
http://www.arbre-celtique.com/encyclopedie/saint-thomas-vieux-laon-bibrax-3284.htm

About castellums
http://www.vilters-vanhemel.be/belgie_romeineninbelgie.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castra

About Roman roads
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaussée_romaine
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voies_romaines_en_Gaule

About Miles
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milliarium

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Brocantes and Such Hunt

Who said Alladin is not gay? Look at him in his girly underwear.

Brocantes is a French hobby that attracks a lot of tourists. Some people just love to run from one to the other to find a cheap bowl or the best bargain. I’ve set up this quick list with the best sites. Asking your local neighbors is useful as well… sometimes they simply kill a brocante if they don’t have enough participants.

To find something near Supergites… We’re in the Ardennes, that’s 08. Near by is northern 51 and 55…

Happy Hunting…

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New digital routes to walk, cycle and ride

Hiking shoes (Lowa) Français : Chaussures de r...

Hiking shoes (Lowa) Français : Chaussures de randonnée (Lowa) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We used to have maps with the walking routes around the mill. It has never been a big success. The point is; they get lost, dirty and torn.  People are not that neat with your stuff, they simply don’t care and walking –somehow– tear maps apart. I guess we’ve lost three maps over the first 18 months. But thanks to the Digital Revolution, here is the solution: RouteYou.

RouteYou.com offers a selection of routes and a set of tools to explore routes in an interactive way. Anybody can print routes or download routes in a digital (navigation) format.

We’ve recreated all the routes that pass our mill in RouteYou. You only have to print, download or put them in your navigation system. It’s an absolute revolution. Check out our Supergites profile on RouteYou. Happy Walking!

NOTE: If you have a iPhone you should download the GPX Reader and email the GPX file to your phone and open it there. At the moment it does not show your actual position but I can imagine that will follow shortly.

Some stories on shoes:

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Kids Proof

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Kidsproof Zonvakanties

How do you find your ideal vacation destination? Do you read people’s opinions on the web or trust expert reviews in a vacation guide? We do a bit of both. We buy books and we check what people say.

Thats why we’re so happy with this new publication. A publisher added our mill to a Dutch vacation guide for young parents. They state that the mill is great for parents who look for a little bit extra space and luxury. They are honest: Because there’s no playground, the mill is less suitable for the real young ones. At least we’re Kidsproof! 🙂

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Sorry for the Dutch

I’ve been working on this little guide for a long time. And I have to apologize to my foreign followers … Here’s the Dutch…

Sinds de opening van de watermolen lag er in de la een blauwe multomap met printjes en foldertjes van wat er zoal in de buurt te doen is. De beduimelde ezelsoren en loszittende velletjes hebben we nog eens goed doorgelezen en opgeruimd. Alle tips en tricks zijn verzameld.

Nu is er de Kleine Gids voor de Champagne-Ardennen. Een lief klein persoonlijk boekje waarin ik kort aangeef wat er zo al te doen is in en om Tourteron. Met zijn 60 pagina’s is het Franse platteland zo saai nog niet.

Je kan er heerlijk wandelen en fietsen. En het hart van Europa –zoals ze hetzelf graag noemen– heeft een roerige geschiedenis. Je kan makkelijk even naar Reims, Charleville of de Champagne. Er liggen verborgen kloosters in donkere wouden. En er is van alles te doen voor kinderen.

Het boekje kan je bestellen via Blurb en kost € 11,95.

Translates as: There used to be a blue binder with tourist information in a drawer somewhere in the mill ever since the opening. We went through the dog-eared leaflets and papers and cleaned them up. We’ve collected all tips and tricks.

Now we have the Little Guide for the Champagne-Ardenne. It’s a sweet and small booklet in which I explain what the area has to offer. Looking at the 60 pages the country-side is not THAT boring after all. 🙂

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Chartreuse du Mont-Dieu

Chartreuse du Mont-Dieu

Main gate still reflects its lost grandeur.

Driving around we discovered the magnificent monastery of Mont-Dieu. We’ve heard about it but never been there ourselves because it’s not visible from the main road. It’s still feels as remote as it must have been during its period.

Located in the heart of the Ardennes , the monastery of Mont-Dieu was built in an open field in the middle of an immense forest of 1123 hectares, and through which sources, feeding once numerous ponds.

This Carthusian monastery is founded in 1137 by Odo, abbot of Saint-Remi near Reims. Pope Innocent III recognised the new monastery in a bull, that same year on December 9, 1137. The inhabitant monks followed the Rule of Saint Bruno and it was used for live and pray until Continue reading

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Hiking 79 in Les Ardennes 08

This is the walk we walked this weekend. It’s route 79 with a total length of 16.4 km (102 miles) .. the sky clear blue, the temperature a spring 13ºC (55ºF) … fantastic. BTW to make the tour complete I added some pictures that I’ve taken some other time along the same road.

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