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Our evening destination is Sedan, our lodgings a hotel built inside the town castle. Offering novel slumber, as well as tours through the castle’s grizzly past, it boasts spectacular views of the underlying town and beyond. We set out on foot the following morning in search of some vantage points in Monthermé, the steep hills of the Meuse Valley offering challenging inclines which are more than rewarded by the stunning vistas from the top.

Our afternoon at the Terraltitude adventure park takes things up a notch, with a zip wire from one side of the valley to the other. Launching from a perch at the top of the tree line, I whizz through the sky, above the river, and all beneath.

It’s a unique vantage point from which to admire the views, but not one for the vertiginously challenged (so too the park’s bungee jump, as we firmly decide only after having experienced the earth racing towards us with just a stretch of elastic to halt our rapid, groundward descent).

For those with yet more energy, set in the beatific location in the bend of the river is Haybes, a popular pit stop for biking tours, and one of the more northern stops on the Green Route, an off-road trail from Charleville through the region.

With the French presidential election result gripping the nation that evening, the contrast between outgoing conservative Sarkozy and incoming socialist Hollande reminds us of the contrasts here, too: the Ardennes is home to the traditional as well as the contemporary, the retrospective as much as the escapist. With a ferry crossing and a couple of hours drive being all that distances it from London, the diverse options mean you can make of a trip to the Ardennes what you want – and, better, you don’t even have to decide until you get there.

For more information on the Ardennes visit gb.ardennes.com
More on activities at Terraltitude at terraltitude.com

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France's Ardennes - adventure holiday and a relaxing escape combined
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