2023 Thiérache - Nord of France
Towards the end of august, the weather forecast over the next 10 days was showing a gradual decline in temperature and clear sky. Time for a snap decision to go on a last short "summertime" trip for a few days, preferably "starting tomorrow".
We decided it should not be to far away from home, a region where we had not been before, and having the option for walking, cycling and canoeing.
Turned out, this was not at all a difficult goal. The Thierache is just across the Belgian border in the north of France. It's a area with very little tourisme, quiet villages, rolling hills and a meandering river.
Searching the internet for affordable lodging, we found a campsite with some basic lodging. Made a phonecall, they still had availability and next day, we were on our way.
Camping Ateliér de la Charite
Camping Ateliér de la Charité is in Landouz la Ville and belongs to a Dutch couple, Rick and Annemieke Charité. They have 5 camping spots and 5 furnished accommodations.
Our choice was the little gnome house in which Rick and Annemieke lived a short time before their own house was finished.
Most of the materials used, furniture and household items are all 2nd hand or recovery material. It is amazing how complete it is, the owners seem to have been thinking of everything what you can need to spend an enjoyable time in this little paradise.
"Par le fond du val" walk
In the information map of our Gnome house, we found a booklet with all walks in the neighbourhood. This one started a few km's away in the village "Parfondeval", classified as one of the beautiful villages of France. The walk is about 13 km and goes in a circle via the village of Brunehamel.
Thiérache was invaded many times during its history. To protect themselves from plunderers, the inhabitants fortified the churches with towers and murder-holes.
The north of France is not very densely populated and a lot of the smaller villages do not have a restaurant or grocery store. As such, we recommend to have a lunch pakket and enough water with you if you go on a longer walk.
Buironfosse-Guise cycle tour
Looking for a short cycle loop trip around Guise, we discovered "Buironfosse-Guise, The river Oise and the fortified churches of Thiërarche". on Wikiloc.
This route also goes partly via the Via Verde (old train track converted to a cycle path) between Hirson and Guise.
We parked the car on a public parking in Buironfosse and by midday, we arrived in Guise where we had lunch in the "Buvette des économats" of the "Familistére de Guise"
Jean-Baptiste Godin, build between 1859 and 1884 housing for 2000 residents near his cast-iron stove factory. The Familistére, the people's palace, was one of the most ambitious social experiments of the industrial world.
All workers of the factory could rent an appartment and there was no "big house"for the boss or engineers. All were housed according to their needs and the same services were available to all. There were gardens, a swimming pool, laundry facilities, etc...
Canoe trip on the river Oise
We booked our trip on the river Oise with "Location Canoë Evasion". Departure is at Autreppes and you have a choice between trips of 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 17, 25 and 39 km. This will all depend on the water levels and the season which runs from April 1 upto 15 october. We did the trip of 10 km between Autreppes and Englancourt, which takes you about 3.30h (inclusive of a stop for our picnic). We left our car in Autreppes and were picked up in Englancourt.
And as you can see, we were the only ones on the river. Just great.