The Ardennes department is one of the four departments composing the Champagne-Ardenne region, the other departments being the Aube, the Marne and the Haute-Marne. Ardennes accounts for about 286,000 inhabitants called the Ardennais. The administrative centre of the department is Charleville-Mézières. Its name comes from a vast natural region – Ardenne – spreading over the south of Belgium, but also over Luxembourg, Germany and over Meuse ( Lorraine) and Ardennes.
Like the other French departments, Ardennes was created in 1790 during the French Revolution. It originally corresponded to a part of the former provinces of Champagne and Argonne, a few principalities such as Sedan or Arches and some former territories of Spain attached to France. The department’s borders changed a little bit later… Ardennes is bordered by Belgium in the north and with the following French departments: Meuse, Marne and Aisne. The department, as the Champagne Ardenne region in general, suffered a lot during the two world wars. With Moselle and Alsace, it is one of the only French departments which were occupied by the German troops during WWI.
As far as economy is concerned, agriculture and industry are the two main sectors in the department, services representing only a small part of the income. Metallurgy was very important in the area in the past and the railway industry could therefore develop. Nowadays, we can still find many companies in the domains of the railway and automobile industries.
Ardennes is not the most popular French department amongst holiday makers, but it offers many places of interest and natural areas: the castle of Sedan, the numerous fortified churches, the Valley of Meuse surrounded by forest, etc. Many people who are looking for a better lifestyle buy a property and piece of land in the Ardennes department and enjoy a ‘green life’ in this natural area. Buying a property in Ardennes is really worth for Belgians and Dutch as housing prices are under the ones in their countries.
Property prices in Ardennes are affordable. With an average price of €1,382 / square metre in May 2009 for a property to buy, the department is under the national average of €3,197 / square metre. Figures calculated between March 2008 and February 2009 indicate that the average price for an apartment to buy in the Ardennes department was €1,220 / square metre, prices in Charleville Mézières being much higher than in Sedan: €1,320 /sq m against €910 /sq m. When it comes to houses, prices are also accessible and vary according to the area. Below is a table indicating prices for a house to buy in Ardennes.
|Property prices in Ardennes for a house to buy in 2009|
|Location||3-room house||4-room house||5-room house||6-room house||Average|
|Vouziers area||€63,800||€96,200||€104,200||no data||€96,600|
In May 2009, an apartment in Ardennes cost about €1,414 / square metre and a house €1,376 / square metre. The Ardennes department has all the assets an area needs to attract holiday makers: forests, rivers, fields, events, medieval towns, traditions, a good gastronomy, etc. Why not invest in a property there and enjoy time in north eastern France? Ardennes is also a good location to discover the south of Belgium and other French departments in Picardy or Lorraine for instance.
To get updated info about property prices in Ardennes, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Champagne Ardenne Property Prices.
Events: the department boasts many events and festivals all year round… The fair taking place in Sedan in September every two years is an important event as it is the second fair of the region. The medieval festival organised around Sedan’s castle every year is the biggest in Europe! Charleville-Mézières is home to a worldwide festival of puppets (‘festival mondial des theatre de marionettes’) every 2 years which welcomes more than 150 puppeteers and has been existing since 1961. A rock festival also takes place in the town in August - le Cabaret Vert. Other events in the departments: fête de la Saint-Anne (amusement fair, concerts, etc) in Rethel, Aymons Folk (Celtic music festival) in Bogny-sur-Meuse, Lyric music festival in Louvergny, classical music festival in the Argonne area, etc.
Landscapes: the Ardennes department has an abundance of beautiful landscapes and sceneries to offer. The southern part of the area is featured by limestone hills, whereas we can find 150,000 hectares of forest in the east. In the west of the department, many fields and hedged farmlands are present. The massif of Ardennes also offers outstanding views over the area. Each part of the department presents different landscapes, allowing people to admire a breathtaking natural area and enjoying varied activities: hiking, riding a mountain bike, and so on. A tour in a boat on one of the rivers or canals of Ardennes is also a good option to discover the area and enjoy a peaceful time.
Tourism: many touristy routes are available in the Ardennes department. Amongst others: the route of fortifications (Charlemont’s stronghold, Sedan’s castle, Rocroi, Ferté’s fort, etc), the one about the legends of Meuse and Semoy, Rimbaud-Verlaine route (Rimbaud being born in Charleville), forests, lakes and abbeys route and the route of the fortified churches of Thiérache. These routes enable people to discover the department and learn many things in a pleasant way. With some friends or family, you will appreciate visiting the Ardennes department accompanied by a guide.
Monuments: given its location, Ardennes has been invaded many times and has thus a rich heritage in terms of fortifications. Sedan’s castle was built at the beginning of the 15th century and is the largest castle in Europe. An imposing citadel was constructed in Charlemont under Charles Quint and extended by Vauban. Rocroi is home to fortifications having the shape of a star. The department also houses plenty of medieval castles and manors. Many vestiges such as dungeons testify from the rich past of the area in Montcornet, Linchamps, Lumes, Day and so on.
Gastronomy: Ardennes has a rich gastronomy based on cooked meats. Cured ham, onion white pudding of the Meuse Valley and white pudding of Rethel are very popular. Gamje is also typical from the department: wild boar, roe deer, hare, duck, etc. Given the numerous rivers and canals present in Ardennes, fish is also a specialty. You can finish your meal wih some sweets and chocolate or local deserts (galette au sucre, gâteau mollet), an actual delight! The locals are very welcoming and will be happy to make you discovering the local gastronomy.
Farmhouses: located in the countryside, these properties have large dimensions and come with outbuildings such as barns or cowsheds. There are constructed of stone and often need some works as they are very old properties. Farmhouses were built by farmers, thus the material used is local and everything was done with few resources. Once renovated, farmhouses have a great potential.
Maisons de Maitre: they represented the wealth and power of the French Bourgeois during the 18th century. These properties come on a large piece of land, have several rooms of large dimensions and outbuildings. Maisons de Maitre are perfect investments for B&B accommodation.
Town houses: situated in the town centre, these properties have different features according to the town where they are located. They have a good layout and are perfect dwellings for families. Town houses may come with a garage, cellar, garden and/or attic.
Click here for more info about Champagne Ardenne’s Architecture.
|Take a closer look at the Ardennes property market:|
|Charleville Mezieres Property Information||Sedan Property Information|