St-Juvin, Buzancy, Beaumont-en-Argonne
A - The fortress church Voir sur la carte
Long a border region between the Empire and the Kingdom of France, in Argonne even the churches were fortified. Saint Juvin’s Church is one of the finest examples in the department. Built between 1615 and 1624 by the local people and their priest, Didier Mauclerc, with the help of Claude de Joyeuse, Count of Grandpré, it was a real little fortress: high, thick walls, narrow windows, corner towers and gates topped by oriel windows.
Church open from Easter to All Saints – Tel. 03 24 30 78 56
B - The outbuildings of Augeard Castle Voir sur la carte
Nothing remains of the prestigious castle that was almost a Versailles in the 18th century but the byres or cowsheds in the outbuildings laid out in a horseshoe and the great canal converted to form a stretch of smooth water for summer bathing.
Today the outbuildings house the ‘Haras Nouveau de Buzancy’ stud farm, the Museum of the Ardennes Horse and a room containing toys and games of days gone by – available for groups (schools, senior citizens) - Tel. 03 24 30 00 11.
C - The Southern Ardennes tourist train Voir sur la carte
Explore the Aisne valley and the southern Ardennes on board a 1950s rail car, ‘the Picasso’. From Amagne-Lucquy to Challerange, passing through Attigny and Vouziers, you will travel along the Aisne valley through its characteristic landscapes. Along the route, various stops are available, including Voncq station, from where Arthur Rimbaud left for Paris or Marseille, or the Roland Garros stele, at the spot where the famous aviator lost his life on 5 October 1918.
Regular journeys on Sundays from late June to early September – Main station in Attigny
Information: ATVA - Tel. 03 24 71 47 60 - http://cftsa.free.fr.
D - Walking
Masmes chapel depended on a Benedictine priory founded in the 12th century; this was attached to the famous royal abbey of Rebais (Seine-et-Marne), which had been established far earlier, in the 7th century, thanks to the generosity of King Dagobert and the assistance of the bishop Saint Ouen of Rouen.
The chapel survived the wars of the Fronde (1643-1657), but was nevertheless demolished in around 1758, having fallen into disrepair. An oratory dedicated to the Virgin Mary was rebuilt on the same spot shortly before 1765. With the Revolution, the building became the property of a private individual: citizen Pultier de Buzancy, who saved it from destruction.
This chapel was a place of pilgrimage from ancient times. Our Lady of Masmes has a reputation for reviving stillborn infants.
A circuit walk explores the villages of Buzancy and Fossé, offering a wide variety of typical landscapes and leading to Masmes chapel.
Distance: 11 km
Time: 3 h
Start: place de Buzancy
To go further afield
Topo guide, Les Ardennes à pied (The Ardennes on foot), published by the French Hiking Federation. Walk No 20.
E - The village Voir sur la carte
This small, picturesque village is remarkable for its arcaded houses in the square that still seems to welcome the joyful tumult of the markets and fairs of days gone by.