Whatever the season, enjoy the dazzling natural beauty of the Meuse Hills !
From Fresnes-en-Woëvre to the lakes on the Woëvre Plain in the west of the Lorraine regional country park (Parc naturel régional de Lorraine), the Meuse Hills provide scenery as splendid as it is varied.
The Meuse Hills (Côtes de Meuse) are an ideal holiday destination for those who want to get in touch with nature and meet the people who live in this wonderful environment, lovingly managing and caring for it. Whatever the season, nature has something unexpected to show.
Tips and ideas
- Try a spot of angling in the lakes at Lachaussée, Le Longeau or Le Bruly.
- Find out about rural traditions at the folk museum (écomusée) in Hannonville-sous-les-Côtes.
- Cast off and cruise along the River Meuse to Saint-Mihiel, for a different view of the local flora and fauna.
- See the blossom in the mirabelle plum orchards in spring. It’s a beautiful sight. Later, enjoy the scents of the fruit and, in late summer, enjoy the juicy Lorraine plums.
- Take advantage of the summer weather and have a holiday on the shores of Colvert lake in Bonzée or beside Lake Madine.
- Go and meet the owners of family orchards where biodiversity provides a range of different fruit – apples, pears, plums, cherries, blackberries etc. Or enjoy the products they make with the fruit – compotes, jams, jellies, juices, vinegar etc. And remember to visit the enthusiastic, dynamic vignerons. They’ll offer you a chance to taste their white, red and “grey” wines with their slightly acidic, full-bodied or fruity tastes.
For heritage fans, the Meuse hills have much to recommend them – secret abbeys nestling in the depths of wooded valleys, fortified churches, mediaeval castles and landscapes changed by the First World War.
In Vigneulles-lès-Hattonchâtel a few miles from Lake Madine in the Meuse Hills, the mediaeval Hattonchâtel Castle stands on a hilltop overlooking orchards and vineyards. A stroll through the streets of the mediaeval village of Hattonchâtel or along the parapet walkway will take you several centuries back in time. Then, in the cloister, you’ll see an altarscreen carved by Ligier Richier. A few miles away are the remains of an old Cistercian abbey in Saint-Benoît-en-Woëvre, which was partially destroyed during the First World War.
Art lovers should visit the town of Saint-Mihiel, birthplace of Ligier Richier, Lorraine’s greatest Renaissance artist, many of whose works are to be found in Meuse, notably in Saint-Mihiel (The Sepulchre in St. Stephen’s Church and The Virgin Mary Swooning in St. Michael’s Church). The town also has a museum of religious art (musée d’art sacré) and you can take a guided tour of the Benedictine library.
First World War enthusiasts will be interested in Les Eparges, a ridge just a few miles from Fresnes-en-Woëvre that is tragically famous for an episode during the period of mine warfare. Climb up to point X for a view across the entire Woëvre Plain. Visit historic World War I locations such as the Trench of Thirst (Tranchée de la soif), the Saint-Mihiel Salient, Fort Troyon, Fort Liouville, the Montsec ridge (Butte de Montsec) and its American memorial, the World War I museum (musée de la Première Guerre Mondiale) in Marbotte, and the French war graves in Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne, among them the graves of Alain Fournier, author of “Le Grand Meaulnes” (The Wanderer), and his comrades.
The Meuse Hills will awaken a whole gamut of emotions !