Unquestionably spoiled with nature, the Aisne department is a true jewel which is best explored on foot.
From its forests, rivers and canals to the area's rich heritage, culture and history, you will never be short of a reason to come walking here, and, thanks to the plethora of interesting sites to take in, the departmental tourism committee has developed many routes for visitors to enjoy.
The circuits are designed to suit many different tastes, so you can choose your route according to distance, the difficulty of the terrain, the abilities of those taking part (particularly where children are concerned), a specific theme or even a specific landscape that you wish to explore.
With this in mind, several walking routes have been created based around five main themes:
- Along the water's edge: the various routes will take you off along the Sambre Canal, to the cradle of the Escaut River, to explore the triangular juncture of the Saint-Quentin canal and the lateral junction of the Somme, around Ailette Lake, etc.
- History and culture: these routes are the ideal way to combine walking and culture. Along your travels you will come across the family home where two major artistic figures, Paul and Camille Claudel grew up, or find yourself in front of the château of François I (the so-called Salamandre route, as the salamander was the king's emblem), or otherwise the Cote 204 with its memorial to the American engagement.
- Forest routes: the clue really is in the name here, as these routes are designed for those who are fond of the forest, and takes chlorophyll enthusiasts off to the outskirts of Retz, to the Cave du Diable ('Devil's hollow') or into the Chapeaumont woods.
Of the two remaining itineraries, one is based around courses suitable for accompanying children whilst the other places the emphasis on the presence of informational media provided throughout the walk.
Comité Départemental de la Randonnée Pédestre (Departmental Hiking Committee)
16, rue Franklin Roosevelt 02000 Laon.
Tel.: +33 (0)3 23 79 09 35.