The “Voie Verte: La Meuse à vélo” Cycle Route
The “Green Way: the Meuse by bike” cycle route is part of the Eurovélo 19 long-distance cycle route (1,166km) that follows the mighty River Meuse from its source in France across the Ardennes, then across Belgium to Rotterdam in the Netherlands where it flows into the North Sea. It is suitable for racing cyclists, touring cyclists, mountain-bikers, electric-bike riders and even tricycles, Segways and pedal-carts. The route avoids steep climbs and descents: you can ride along in peace and take your time to admire the landscape.
A unique view of the countryside
The Green Way is entirely in France: it runs from Mouzon to Givet, on the Belgian border. From your bike saddle, you can admire the unique views of the countryside once enjoyed by Meuse boatmen leading horses pulling barges along the towpaths. The route is ideal for both short and longer rides. It was voted “2010 Cycle Route of the Year” by Dutch cycling journalists in 2010. Given how popular cycling is in the Netherlands, that’s quite an accolade!
Just follow the river!
Travel through a variety of landscapes
From Mouzon, where the Yoncq joins the Meuse, the route leads to Remilly-Aillcourt with its chateau and then to Wadelincourt, which was heavily bombed during the Second World War and then to Sedan, with its huge castle built on a bend in the Meuse. It continues through Glaire, where the defeated Emperor Napoleon III met Kaiser Wilhelm I after the Battle of Sedan in 1870, and then Donchery, where Napoleon III met the decidedly less-congenial Prussian “Iron Chancellor”, Bismarck shortly after the Kaiser. Next the route leads to Dom-le-Mesnil, site of a notorious German massacre of civilians in 1914, then via Nouvion-sur-Meuse to Villers Semeuse, which was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1948 for its resistance against the Germans.
The route then passes through Charleville-Mézières, capital of the French Ardennes, with its unmissable Place Ducale, then on to Montcy-Notre-Dame, where most of Charleville’s laundry was once done. The Meuse valley deepens at Nouzonville, a former centre of rifle and cannon manufacturing, where the Goutelle joins the Meuse and the route continues via Joigny-sur-Meuse to Bogny-sur-Meuse with its statue of Bayard, the horse that carried the Four Aymon Boys in the legend.
Next is Monthermé, formerly a metalworking and slate-cutting centre, then Laifour, Anchamps, Revin and then Fumay, a former centre for slate-mining. The trail continues through the Ardennes Forest via Haybes, Fépin, Montigny-sur-Meuse, Vieux Wallerand, Aubrives, Ham-sur-Meuse and Chooz to end in Givet, after 120km.
Idleness, muscles and freedom
It’s fairly frequent for travellers along the route to report a sort of pleasant idleness taking them over, no doubt inspired by the river that caresses their aching muscles and grants them a special sense of freedom on their bikes.