Weekend trip to Bouillon (Wallonia - Belgium)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

I've been wanting to visit Bouillon ever since almost I moved to Belgium. I came to know of Tombeau de Géant after a friend of mine posted it on Instagram. But when I looked at the route from Brussels by public transport, it looked a bit complicated to go with my tiny Atyudarini. So, I just gave it up for the time being. Recently, finally, I managed to visit Bouillon and here's all about my Weekend trip to Bouillon and the top things to do in Bouillon.

WHAT TO DO IN BOUILLON?

BOUILLON CASTLE - TOP THINGS TO DO IN BOUILLON
My trip, of course, started with Bouillon Castle. As soon as I got off the bus (more on that in the 'how to reach' section below), I headed directly to the castle. It was right there, standing majestic, atop the hill, visible not only from the bus stop but also from everywhere! An uphill walk from there took me to the entrance of the castle to explore it and enjoy the view of River Semois from atop. I went back to the Bouillon Castle again at night for a torchlight tour. Read all about Bouillon Castle, its architecture, its history and more in my earlier post. 

Refer to my previous article for all about Bouillon Castle

ARCHEOSCOPE OF BOUILLON
After Bouillon Castle visit in the morning, it was time for me to visit the Archéoscope Godfrey of Bouillon which is located inside the Bouillon tourism office. The Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon talks about the history of Bouillon in the aspect of the Crusade wars and of Godfrey of Bouillon. This impressive light & sound show reminded me much of the multimedia show at Hougoumont Farm of Waterloo 1815 Memorial

Where is Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon (on Google Maps)Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon
Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon ticket: €5.50
Bouillon City Pass (Archeoscope + Bouillon Citadel + Ducal Museum):  €11
Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon Opening Hours: 
Winters - Weekends: 10:00 to 5:00PM; Closed on January weekdays; Dec & Feb weekdays: 1:00PM to 5:00PM, Otherwise: 10:00AM to 6:00PM everyday (Same as Bouillon Castle)

CYCLING IN BELGIUM - BOUILLON TO GIANT's TOMB (TOMBEAU DE GÉANT) 
The main reason I headed to Bouillon was for Tombeau de Géant. On Day 2, I took my rented bike and rode towards Giant's Tomb. This was the first, long-distance bike ride after my accident last year. I was super scared. The original idea was to go on a circular route from Bouillon to Giant's Tomb and then Panorama of Frahan at Rochehaut and then ride along the Belgo-French border and then get back to Bouillon. But since this was my first proper bike ride in the Ardennes after my surgery, I went very very slow and soon I knew for sure that I wouldn't be able to ride the whole 40km. So I just decided to go till Tombeau de Géant and get back so it is only 20km. Nevertheless, the ride was exceptional. 
First of all, Bouillon is very far away from any big city and the outskirts of Bouillon where I was biking was pretty in the middle of nowhere. Unlike biking in Eupen & Vennbahn where the route went through wooded areas, here in Bouillon the route entirely went through grasslands, farmlands and little villages. Being in the heart of Belgian Ardenne, the route has a lot of uphill climbs and downhill slopes. 
My first stop in the route was the little chapel called Chapelle de Buhan, just 3 km into the route. This was so adorable, absolutely charming little castle in the crossroads with farmlands on all sides. Rue du Château-le-Duc is the only part that had some wooded areas around. Further ahead were beautiful charming villages one after another with cows grazing, tractors buzzing and picturesque farmlands. The last village before Tombeau de Géant is Botassart which has an interesting open-air chapel for Virgin Mary
On my way back to Bouillon with my bike, after I reached Curfo, I took the N828 to reach Bouillon which was entirely a downward slope with almost a difference of 200m altitude. It was so cool, but a little bit scary to just breeze down this slope for about 3km!  

43km Cycling Route from Bouillon to Tombeau de Geant & Rochehaut: Cycling Map via Cirkwi 
Bike rentals in Bouillon: 

Cycling in Belgium - Bouillon

Botassart Bouillon Marian Chapelle Chapel Virgin Mary

Bouillon Tombeau de Geant Giant's Tomb

Bouillon Tombeau de Geant Giant's Tomb Hiking

GIANT's TOMB (TOMBEAU DE GÉANT) - HIKING IN BOUILLON
The view from atop of Tombeau de Géant was impeccable. There are 2 major hiking routes to go down - 3.5km long Promenade Moulin du Rivage (Waymarked trail No:5) and 2.6km long Point de Vue de Chateaumont (Waymarked trail No:4). Though the 2.6km trail is shorter, the route is a bit difficult with some points where you have to jump, very steep climbs that you have to hold trees & roots to do etc. the 3.5km trail is a simple downward slope trail. The Point de Vue de Chateaumont hike goes to the west of Tombeau de Géant while Promenade Moulin du Rivage goes right down. 
One of the most picturesque places of Bouillon is the hanging bridge here called Passerelle de l'Epine. After reaching Moulin du Rivage (Trail No: 5), it is possible to walk along the banks of the river Semois (Google Maps doesn't show this road) and reach Moulin de l'Epine and just there, across the river is the very picturesque, instragrammable place of Belgium - hanging bridge of Passerelle de l'Epine. Very close to this are 2 more viewpoints. Another short hike from here takes you to Belvedere de Bouillon, the viewpoint of Bouillon. In fact there's also a 13km hiking route from Bouillon to Tombeau de Geant through these points! But since I went with my bike and since I couldn't leave it there and hike back to Bouillon, I only did the short Promenade Moulin du Rivage hike and went back! 

Where is Tombeau de Geant (Giant's Tomb) viewpoint (on Google Maps)Parking Tombeau du géant, Botassart
14km Hiking route from Bouillon viewpoint to Tombeau de Géant: Hiking Map via Wallonia Tourism
Promenade Moulin du Rivage (Trail No: 5) at Tombeau de Géant: Part of the 14km route above.
Point de Vue de Chateaumont (Trail No: 4) at Tombeau de Géant: Hiking Map via Viewranger

Top Things to do in Bouillon

Historic Tour of Bouillon, Belgium

Historic Tour Bouillon

Boating in River Semois Touristy things to do Bouillon

HISTORIC TOWN CENTRE OF BOUILLON - BEST THINGS TO DO IN BOUILLON
After my cycling tour to Tombeau de Géant, I returned my bike and started walking through the historic town centre of Bouillon. There are places to visit inside Bouillon as well as the wooded areas outside which lend a view of Bouillon town. So I decided to mix up the Sente aux Geais trail (Waymarked trail No:9 (red rectangle)) along with the Historic Tour (in reverse). Both these trails are stroller friendly. 
The walking tour of the Historic centre began at the Bouillon Tourism Office. Long back, in the 17th C CE, this was once the convent of the Sépulcrines. By late 18th C it fell into disuse and now, it houses the Archeoscope. A few steps ahead is the Athenee school which was a Civil Hospital in the 18th C CE. My next stop was the France Bridge (Pont de France). This was the site where historically a timber warehouse existed and at that time, the main mode of transport for timber? -  Floating them on Semois! 
After this the Historic tour crosses the bridge and goes into Bouillon while the Sente aux Geais turns left and goes into the wooded area which is where I went. The hike was nice lending great views of Bouillon through the greenery. In fact there are benches on the way to just sit & relax and enjoy the beauty of this little town. Interestingly this trail goes via the La Ferronnière, so I picked up my backpacks and headed back to the town centre.
Back in the town, my next stop was the Liège Bridge (Pont de Liège), where I was again the Historic Tour trail. This is one of the historic bridges that was built when the castle was built in 11th C CE but over time, during various battles & wars, this was destroyed time & again. The current one was built in 1951. I crossed the bridge and got into the town. My next stop was St.Peter & St.Paul Church (Eglise St.Pierre et Paul) and further ahead was the Brittany area (Quartier de Bretagne) which is a very very adorable area filled with tiny shops with charming decor. Another one of the instagrammable places of Bouillon. Further ahead are some more of the ruined extensions of the castle including the only 2 surviving bastions of the outer fortification wall that once existed. 
On the other side of the town is the Cordemois Bridge (Pont de Cordemois). This is the charming bridge with 3 arches visible from atop Bouillon Castle. This is a new bridge built in 20th C but designed to match well with the rest of the historic fortifications. 

Bouillon Historic Tour Map (3.2km) - via Bouillon Citywalk 
Sente aux Geais trail (3.5 km) - available at the Tourism Office

BOATING IN RIVER SEMOIS - TOURSITY THINGS TO DO IN BOUILLON
While I didn't do this, I'm gonna mention this for those interested. There are these very touristy paddle boats on Semois river. They're swan-shaped or flamingo-shaped and have a tent-like covering. I didn't try it!

Pedal Boats in Bouillon Opening Hours: May to Oct 10:00AM to 07:00PM (depends on weather)
Pedal Boats in Bouillon Tickets: €4 for 30 mins; €7 per hour per person

Hotel La Ferronnière Bouillon Review

best Hotels in Bouillon with view of castle

Hotel La Ferronnière Bouillon Review

Hotel La Ferronnière - Best hotels in Bouillon

BOUILLON HOTELS - LA FERRONNIÈRE HOTEL REVIEW
There are quite a few hotels in Bouillon and I stayed in La Ferronnière. It is just exceptional because from my balcony I had a splendid view of Bouillon Castle. I spent till very late at night sitting on the balcony watching the castle & river Semois glittering in night lights. 
This is a charming hotel with just 13 rooms in it. So the service is very much personal and almost like a B&B. It is an old building but renovated with all modern amenities. Eye to the details like the window openings, door handles, coat hooks must be mentioned, which are antique pieces and so charming. 
I had ordered my dinner in room service and the 4-course meal arrived in absolute style. I had informed them that I'm a vegetarian and my appetizer was a small portion of soup and sauteed onions with pesto. The starter was an avocado salad and the main course was a very delicious White Asparagus dish with mashed potatoes and spinach. It was mild, comforting and super filling! I loved it! 
The breakfast was mind-blowing. It was actually a lot for a single person - a chocolate muffin, an assortment of bread, butter, hazelnut spread, kiwi, banana, coffee, juice, yoghurt everything on a huge tray served in the room! As previous night, I sat on the balcony and ate my breakfast with the exceptional view of the sun slowly rising and casting its light on Bouillon Castle in the comfort of my room!!! One of the best hotels in Wallonia!!! No doubt.    
La Ferronnière is one of the best hotels in Bouillon. Even if you're visiting Bouillon on a day trip from Brussels or Namur, a good idea would be to have your lunch at La Ferronnière restaurant. Undeniably, La Ferronnière is one of the best restaurants in Bouillon.

Where is La Ferronnière Bouillon hotel & restaurant (on Google Maps): 
To book a room & table online: official website of La Ferronnière
La Ferronnière Hotel & Restaurant phone no: +32 61 23 07 50
Menu of the day (4-course meal): €38 per person
Room rates begin at €110 for double occupancy in a standard room on weekdays. The castle view is available in certain Classic Double rooms, Superior Double rooms & Suites. You have to specifically ask for these rooms when you make the booking and it depends on availability. 

Best hotels in Bouillon with castle view

Hotel La Ferronnière - Best restaurants in Bouillon

Hotel La Ferronnière - Best restaurants in Bouillon

WEEKEND TRIP TO BOUILLON ITINERARY
  • Day 1 - Bouillon Castle, Archeoscope, Historic town centre, Ducal Museum, boating in river Semois & torchlight night tour of Bouillon Castle
  • Day 2 - Biking to Tombeau de Geant and Rochehaut incl. a stop at Parc a Gibier and a short hike down on Trail No: 4 or 5.

ONE DAY IN BOUILLON ITINERARY
  • Morning: Bouillon Castle, Archeoscope
  • Afternoon: Bike (or) Hike to Tombeau de Geant OR Hike to the arboretum & the viewpoint of Ramonette behind the castle

HOW TO REACH BOUILLON
How to reach Bouillon from Brussels by car: 160km via Namur, Tellin & Paliseul. Takes about 2 hours to reach
How to reach Bouillon from Brussels by public transport: As I mentioned in the beginning, reaching Bouillon by public transport is a little bit of a challenge. Take a train to Libramont-Chevigny. Take LeTEC Bus route 8. The whole journey train+bus+transfer time takes about 3:30hours. This is why, I decided it was a bit difficult to go on a day trip from Brussels with a baby!

Bouillon Things to do Weekend trip Pinterest Bouillon Tombeau de Geant Pinterest

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

10 comments:

  1. So great that you finally got to visit Bouillon. I like the idea of cycling to visit spots around a place like Bouillon. And good that you got to bike to the Giants Tomb in the middle of nowhere after your previous accident. A great way to get your confidence back. So much history in this town. I am glad it was all you expected.

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  2. The region looks so scenic. The trees and the skies make for a perfect holiday. I would love to cycle around like you did. It would be a really nice experience to see the old bridges, the area seems to have many of them. It's a dream region from your post.

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  3. Interesting read! When I visited some crusader castles in the Middel East I came across Godfrey of Bouillon and his castle a few times. Since then I forgot about it. Your post brought the idea of a trip to Bouillon back!

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  4. Bouillon clearly makes a great weekend trip. Giant's Tomb sounds like a fascinating place to visit. I have to say, I would probably do the touristy pedal boats, they're so relaxing especially if the weather's good!

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  5. Looks like an awesome place !

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  6. I like the idea of biking from Bouillon to Giant's Tomb. Biking along grassland and passing through villages sounds lovely. I like your choice of hotel. It gave you beautiful view and delicious breakfast after a full day the day before.

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  7. The historic town of Bouillon looks so charming with pristine views from the top.I would love to bike around such a lovely place and explore the gems.

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  8. This town seems to have many things that people of all ages can enjoy like history, countryside, architecture more than enough for a weekend trip. I love how it was possible for you to be able to cycle, walk, and hike even if it was for a short time. I'm curious to know more about the hanging bridge.

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  9. What a lovely ride from Bouillion to Giant's tomb. Loved the pics you have captured along the way, especially the one under the Cherry blossom. Hiking trail aLso, sounds quite interesting. And the view of the village definitely look amazing. You sure are making the most of your stay there.

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  10. Wow! Thank you for sharing this detailed post and itinerary. It's very helpful for first time travelers like me. Thank you for the heads up about public transport being a little bit of a challenge.

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