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i explored Charlemont on an all-terrain electric scooter
A fun activity and an unusual way to explore the site
5 mins of unusual adventure
If, like me, you're an adventurer at heart, and the idea of exploring new things (in an unusual, sometimes disorienting, but above all exhilarating way) delights you, you've come to the right place. I'm taking you on an exploration of the Charlemont citadel in Givey on an all-terrain electric scooter
When I first heard the news, my first reaction was "I've absolutely got to try that!". I'm a big fan of outdoor activities, especially those that provoke strong emotions, so I couldn't say no when Mickaël Gault, technical manager at the Terraltitude Park at Fumay, offered me the chance of an exclusive test of this activity. If you're wondering what the link is between Terraltitude and the scooters, well the "Trott’ "(as we'll call them from now on) come from the park and the activity is monitored by instructors from the park. That's a relief for more than one of us. The tour is thus supervised, guided and follows safety regulations. A short training session takes place before each departure to ensure you can tame the beast!
I'm not alone when I arrive, Marianne, my assistant has come with me. We're wearing comfortable clothes and have swapped our high heels for trainers! On arrival, I feel like a VIP, as the Charlemont citadel is not open to the public yet, as it's early, but the sky is clear and it looks like a good day for the tour.
Mickaël and a dozen or so electric scooters are waiting for us, so it's clear we won't be the only ones testing the tour. That's great, the more the merrier! Soon we are joined by men, women and children.
The Trott’ is like a mountain bike without a saddle or pedals
At first sight, the Trott’ looks more like a mountain bike than a scooter. It has two big wheels with all-terrain tyres. On the handlebars are two brakes (front and back), it's just the saddle and pedals that are missing. In their place is a foot rest, just like on a traditional scooter, not forgetting the accelerator on the handle bars.
I don't act too aggresively when I get onto the Trott’. Although it looks rather intimidating, it can be ridden by anyone, apparantly. So I roll up my sleeves and fix a serene expression on my face.
Equipment and safety instructions
Before his technical briefing us on how the machines worked, Mickaël made sure we knew the safety instructions. We each had to wear a helmet and follow his instructions when riding...we have been warned! We must stay close to the guide!
The scooters are quite responsive and it's important to leave a few metres between each other. One uncontrolled surge and you'd quickly knock someone off! Hence the stress on keeping your distance, as it should be with all modes of transport.
"Keep it slow and steady" warns Mickaël. If we need to brake, we should ease up on the accelerator, which doesn't appear altogether logical to me.
To begin, we push off with one foot, and, once moving, the electric motor takes over and a small trigger switch changes gear to speed up. I must admit that, after a few minutes, what had initially appeared difficult or even impossible, had become childsplay. The machines are so intuitive that you feel more and more at ease the longer you ride them.
After a short training session on the car park, we wet off on our expedition in single file, to explore the iconic Charleville citadel in the town of Givet.
An authentic experience off the beaten track
Mickaël takes us to unexpected places in the citadel. We didn't know beforehand, but the special attraction of this tour, in addition to its fun side, is that it visits places that are normally not open to the public.
We travel on a tarmac surface for kilometres along the ramparts, which gives us time to appreciate the dizzying height of the citadel's outer defences. So far, no real practical difficulties. Then we cross a bridge and come into a more steeply-sloping area, off the beaten track. The surroundings are breathtaking. The green of the surrounding countryside blends perfectly with the blue of the sky. A light breeze imparts a feeling of wellbeing and freedom as we pick up speed. We turn left, then right and up a slope in fourth gear, the terrain becomes more difficult but we all emerge unscathed. We even get to switch on the torches mounted on the handlebars as we descend under stone arches. the sudden plunge into darkness could have made the route hazardous but the torchlight helps us a lot.
A place harbouring plenty of treasures
As we "trot" along (if I can say that), the citadel reveals its secrets to us as an iconic jewel of seventeenth-century military achitecture. This place has seen its share of changes over the centuries, and has seen many soldiers pass through its gates, as "the heart of Charlemont" testifies. A treasure on which this tour shines the spotlight, but one which I prefer not to reveal here so as to leave an element of mystery for those readers who decide to follow in my footsteps.
Another beautiful surprise are the two lovely viewpoints over the Meuse valley, which are not open to visitors on foot. We snap a few photos to immortalise this day and find it's already time to head back.
I really enjoyed this opportunity to (re)explore the Charlemont citadel in a fun, unusual way. What's more, the electric scooters are environmentally friendly and respect my Ardennes to which I am so attached.
Here there's no pollution or noise, the electric scooters allow anyone, aged 8 to 88, to tour the citadel without getting tired, although in the following days you may develop aches in your thumb, legs or back, but these are proof that you've enjoyed a dynamic tour, full of adventures and pleasant surprises.
Enjoy a video of this experience
Enjoy this experience
Electric all-terrain scooter / Charlemont citadel, Givet
1, Sous-Charlemont, 08600 Givet, France.
www.terraltitude.com / www.charlemont-citadelle-de-givet.fr
More information and bookings: Tel:+33 (0)3 24 57 57 59
One-hour accompanied tour exploring the Charlemont citadel in Givet
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the tour
Tours depart at 11am, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm every day except Tuesdays
Requirements and limits:
You must have no balance problems or inner-ear infections. Not advised for pregnant women due to the many bumps and shakes you may experience during the tour.
Children aged under 8 and people with reduced mobility are not allowed on the tour
The interesting thing about this tour is that you can get into parts of the site not normally open to the public.