The Paris Skyline
Most of the Ardennes region is in south-eastern Belgium - south of the cities of Liege and Namur, and east of the River Meuse which flows through Dinant. It also covers the northern half of Luxembourg.
Major fighting in World War II took place here in what was known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge’. The Germans attacked American forces in December 1944 and pushed them back 60 miles in a week, creating a bulge in the lines. January of 1945 was spent pushing the Germans back out of this bulge - in fierce winter weather. This huge battle involved 500,000 Americans at its peak.
Here, for illustration, is a suggested 3-day / 2-night itinerary. Do get in touch to discuss a tailor-made programme for your group:
Part of the German anti-tank defence line
START/END LIEGE (2hr from Paris by train; 50 mins Brussels)
We start at a Liege hotel, or at Liege station at 10 a.m. - just over 2 hours on the THALYS high-speed train out of Paris, or 50 minutes from Brussels Nord.
Drive 1 hour 20 minutes (+ coffee break to look at maps) to the Belgian-German border to walk into an example of the forest that covers around half of the Ardennes. We’ll see anti-tank defences from 1944, and the tracks down which the Germans sent tanks in their 16 December attack - this was part of the 60-mile start-line of that attack.
Snack lunch right on the border, then drive an hour (with a stop in St Vith) across the border into Luxembourg to our hotel in the pretty town of Clervaux, enclosed in a valley. Introductory walking tour: the church, the Castle, and the River Clerf. Two nights here. The adventurous can do a steep valley-side walk with superb views over the town & Castle.
A 40-minute drive down the attractive Our Valley to the spectacular castle at Vianden. Afterwards we move on 45 minutes to Luxembourg City. Walking tour and free time.
1 hour back to Clervaux for our second night.
30 minute drive across the border into Belgium to visit the town of Bastogne - this is where American paratroopers became surrounded for 5 days around Christmas Day 1944. Striking American Memorial; lunch on the main square.
Drive 45 minutes north after lunch up to the Ambleve Valley - stops at Coo and La Gleize. Here we’ll see some of the best scenery from the Belgian Ardennes, and also a German tank that was left behind from the 1944 fighting (a Tiger tank, the largest tank from World War II). From here it is a 40 minute drive to Liege to drop you for the 5.30 p.m. train to Brussels (into Brussels Nord at 6.19 p.m.), or the 5.49 p.m. THALYS high-speed train to Paris (Paris Gare du Nord 8.05 p.m.)
This tour could be adapted to start/finish at a Brussels hotel if the tour involves a minibus/coach - approximately 2 hour 30 minute drive to our first site, and 1 hour 45 minutes back from the final site. It is also possible to a link to Eurostar travel from the UK: evening Eurostar & night in Brussels before the tour. Final day: get 4.46 p.m. train out of Liege, Brussels Midi 5.35 p.m. Eurostar out of same station 6.56 p.m., London 7.57 p.m. British time.
Autumn around Bastogne
The Ardennes in mid-winter
All text, maps & photos © Dr Thomson’s Tours Ltd.
Website design by Joseph Thomson
Last updated December 2017
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