What’s On In The Ardennes, France In 2021

01 August 2021

What’s on in The Ardenne in 2021

and where to find more ideas …


The Ardennes is an ideal destination for lovers of the outdoors, nature and activities such as hiking and cycling.

Part of the Grand-Est region of France, The Ardennes is named after the hilly plateau, “The Ardenne Massif” and encompasses parts of Belgium to the north and Luxembourg to the east.  It’s renowned for the natural beauty of its landscapes and offers many magnificent panoramas. There’s steep sided valleys carved by swift flowing rivers such as the Meuse, extensive forests, rolling hills and rocky peaks.

The main town of Charleville-Mézières is famous for its bi-annual World Festival of Puppet Theatre and as the home town of the “rebel” poet, Arthur Rimbaud.

Plage Ducale: July – August 2021

The Ardennes -Image courtesy of David Truillard

Image courtesy of David Truillard

This is when the beach comes to Charleville – Mézièresv – sand, deckchairs, palm trees –  just in the north of France instead of the Riviera! Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of summer in the city where visitors can enjoy volleyball, badminton, zumba, fitness, bowls, ping-pong, rugby, beach football, mini golf, fitness, water games, baby-foot, etc.

The Cabaret Vert Festival: 19th – 22nd August 2021

The Ardennes - Image courtesy of Kmeron

Image courtesy of Kmeron

The famous Cabaret Vert festival should be taking place in Charleville – Mézières after an absence of two years. It is one of the most popular music events in France and has a phenomenal international reputation too. To give an idea, over 102,000 people attended the last festival in 2019, where acts such as Patti Smith and Ziggy Marley provided the spectacular entertainment. It is not just the top international line ups, but the blend of the music, street art, local food and craft beers that make this a great experience. The festival also boasts a strong sustainable development theme with meetings and conferences taking place on this subject.

The eco-friendly nature of the festival has been rewarded with the ‘A Greener Festival’ award in 2013 and a bronze medal position in the ‘Best Big Festival of France’ in 2017.

La Cassine en Ardenne: cultural events until September 2021

The Ardennes

Cassine Castle has been the site of a cultural festival for many years with concerts, markets, guided tours, festivals, drive-in movies, games and the most impressive pyrotechnic display of ‘Son & Lumière’ (17th July – 14th August 2021). This display takes place on a moving platform which is unique in Europe, housing 1,650 seated spectators. This year the scene will be Les Misérables with shows every Friday and Saturday performed by 150 voluntary performers.

La Cassine en Ardenne©’ used to house the former Cordeliers convent built between 1579 & 1587.  It was secularised during the French Revolution when it became a farm. In 2019 it was identified by the special mission of M.Bern as an endangered rural heritage site which should be saved, therefore benefitting from French Lottery funding support.

The 21st World Puppet Theatre Festival:
17th – 26th September 2021

The Ardennes - All images courtesy of David Truillard

All images courtesy of David Truillard

Celebrate one of the world’s most unusual events in the Ardennes this September. The World Puppet Festival is even more special in 2021 as it is only held every two years, and will be so appreciated this time around as we can’t wait to have some fun after the events of the past eighteen months. Over 170,000 visitors came to this unique Festival in 2021, it is a cultural an artistic phenomenon created by Jacques Felix in 1961 and directed this year by Pierre-Yves Charlois.

The Festival takes place in Charleville – Mézières in the north of the French Ardennes 17th – 26th September 2021.  There will be 85 different shows presented by 81 different companies coming from 16 different countries worldwide and featuring more than 350 participants.

A strong programme this year includes a focus on new magic, ‘Cabaret & Curiosity’ shows, pioneers of puppetry, as well as the New Wave of Puppeteers, and a selection of events targeted at the very young.  There are exhibitions to enjoy, meetings and interviews, as well as three big anniversaries to celebrate – 60thAnniversary of the Puppet Festival, 40th Anniversary of the International Puppet Institute and the 30th Anniversary of the ‘Grand Marionnette’ the famous automated clock in the town centre.

The full programme will be available from July 2021.

The Ardennes - Image courtesy of M Cachon and A Giard

Image courtesy of M Cachon and A Giard

SAVE £ MONEY with ‘Escape to the Ardennes’

The Ardennes - Image courtesy of CD08 Adobie Freepik

Image courtesy of CD08 Adobie Freepik

For the second year only, the Ardennes has launched Escape to the Ardennes, a tourism initiative to encourage visitors to the area and to enthuse locals to rediscover their lovely part of the world. This is done through a financial reimbursement of up to 100 euros per family for those holidaying in the Ardennes.  More than 4,000 families took up the offer in 2020.

It is valid all year and underwritten by the Tourism Development Agency and the departmental authority of the Ardennes.

FIND more information on all things French Ardennes

Image courtesy of David Truillard


Ardennes Tourism brochures 2021
The new tourism brochures of the Ardennes are now available so prospective visitors has recourse to a wide range of ideas for holidays in 2021.

‘Ardennes Inspirations’ is exactly what it says on the tin – plenty of different ideas to inspire visits to the area, not matter what your preference.  There are  family breaks, unusual itineraries, cultural weekends, activity holidays, gastro tours and back to nature experiences that will not fail to please.

‘Walking and Cycling in the French Ardennes’ highlights the myriad of different possibilities of these types of activity holiday to suit all levels of ability.  This is an ideal area of France to enjoy the countryside and wide-open spaces, to rediscover walking, cycling and hiking routes in the greenest of environments.

‘Clévacances Ardennes’ carries a wide selection of gites and chambresd’hotes throughout the area, many that cater expressly for the bike riders and walkers. This is the top-quality brand in France for these types of comfortable, unpretentious accommodations.

Tourist map – essential for all holidaymakers to the Ardennes – a map of the French Ardennes.

All of the brochures can be downloaded from

The Ardennes - Image courtesy of David Truillard

Image courtesy of David Truillard

Travelling to the Ardenne: The nearest airport is Belgium South Charleroi, 100km to the north of Charleville-Mézières and there is a direct train connection to Paris Gare de l’Est taking 1 hour 45 minutes. To drive from the ferry and Eurotunnel terminals in and around Calais, take the A26 south to exit 14 (Juvincourt-et-Damary), the D925 east via Roizy, then pick up the A34 to Charleville-Mézières (3.5 hrs).


Note to editors: Lovers of nature, hiking, biking, heritage or local food, the Ardennes region is close at hand and is an invitation to recharge the batteries and enjoy genuine experiences.