An outstanding 14 km walk along the River Lesse, starting from the Gendron-Celles railway station, and passing the Château de Vêves.
I’ve been walking in Belgium for over 30 years, and blogging about my discoveries for ten. And now and again I come across a walk that has to go in my Top Ten. This walk along the River Lesse, starting from the Gendron-Celles railway station in the province of Namur is one of them. It has a bit of everything. A challenge from a hiking perspective, with a few climbs (aided by conveniently placed ladders!). An impressive château. Some stunning views over the Ardennes countryside. And a gorgeous river walk.
It’s a circular walk of 14 km but could be extended if you want something longer (just let me know). The map of the route is below. As always, you can click to embiggen, download as a PDF, while the GPX track is on my RouteYou page.
As it starts from the train station, it’s accessible by public transport. By car there’s plenty of parking space along the N910 next to the station or outside the Auberge de la Lesse. One of the first things you’ll see is this board indicating all the various paths heading up the hillside. Ignore it and walk along the N910 road for 100 metres and turn left at the first junction, cross the footbridge, turn immediately left and you are on the right track.
After a steep climb you’ll be rewarded with some glorious views over to the village of Furfooz. If you want to check it out you can do so. On the map you’ll see at the 2 km mark you could continue into the village to look around it. Otherwise turn right.
Château de Vêves
Rounding a bend, you will come face to face with the Château de Vêves that’s built on a rocky outcrop. When it’s open post-COVID and you have planned the necessary time, a visit is recommended. Their website is strangely only available in French, so you may have to fiddle with Google Translate. A castle already existed here in the 8th century, but its familiar pentagonal shape with its six round towers of varying size date back to 1410 when the Beaufort family reconstructed it. Inside the rooms are full of 18th century furniture, rare china, historical souvenirs and paintings. If you are looking for the best photo of the Château, it’s not from the front gate. Just walk a little further. Cross the N910 into Chaussée Romaine and you’ll get a great view.
Along this road there are also some charming cottages.
The route then takes you along quiet country lanes to Gendron village and the fields beyond.
Along the River Lesse
At the 7 km mark – so halfway – you begin to hear the magnetically attractive sound of water and you know that the River Lesse is just ahead. Actually the sound of the water comes from the confluence of the Lesse with the Iwoigne. At this point nature has laid on the most excellent picnic table: a flat rock alongside the Lesse with just the most delightful view up the river that you could imagine.
I could have sat here for ages – and did – but eventually dragged myself away and headed onwards. From here to the end-point at Gendron-Celles station you just keep company with the river. It’s two hours of total bliss. I hardly met another soul, the weather was perfect, the autumn foliage was stunning, and a couple of kingfishers entertained me as they zipped upstream and downstream.
Mind you, I must point out that parts of the route are a bit tricky. It goes over some rocky outcrops, and in wet weather I could imagine the path is a bit tricky. Thankfully some ladders and steps have been provided.
So that’s it. A most delightful walk along the River Lesse. Let me know how you get on. Send me your photos and I would be happy to publish them here. If you’ve not already subscribed to Discovering Belgium, do so below so as not to miss any posts.
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