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Discover the Ourthe valley

We invite you to discover the beautiful Ourthe valley in the province of Liège. Let's make the most of the new RAVeL or cycle path to discover the verdant Ourthe.

The starting point of this beautiful adventure is at Guillemins station in Liège. The city of Liège is known for its historic centre, its Citadel and its hills, Outremeuse and its festival on 15 August, and the River Meuse that can be discovered on foot along the banks or by tourist boat.

As you leave the station, you will see the large Tour des Finances in front of you. Looking behind you, you can see Cointe hill, the inter-allied memorial. Very few people in Liège know about its magnificent viewing point, which extends over Liège and the surrounding area. This memorial can be visited in groups all year round other than the few days reserved for the public. The development of this witness to history is much needed. To get there from the valley, take the Cailloux path or the street of the same name in preserved undergrowth. The "sentier des Cailloux" could be dedicated to the Founding Fathers of the "Sentiers de Grande Randonnée" created in 1959 in Liège, more precisely by hikers from Liège who were young people from the Touring Club of Belgium, youth hostels, Amis de la nature, youth clubs, the scouting movements, etc.

There is a splendid 360 degree view from the top of the tower of the Inter-Allied Monument in Cointe. In the distance, you can see the Ardennes, the Hautes Fagnes, the Condroz and more. We will now take the hiking trail, the GR 57 Ourthe. We pass the new "la Liégeoise" footbridge, the Boverie park, the Dérivation canal, up to the Zenobe Gramme monument. This site is located between Fragnée bridge and Fétinne bridge. It was the starting point of the signposted trails before 1914. The Chemins de Touristes du Vieux Liège (Old Liège Tourist Roads) were intended to take walkers and hikers to Dinant, Namur and Trier. Only the route to Namur was completely signposted.

Our walk takes us along the old Ourthe canal, passing the old "Rivage en Pot" lock. We are in Angleur, more specifically at the SNCB station. It was in Angleur, at the Théâtre de Verdure, that the first tourist trail of the Touring Club of Belgium was created. The Ourthe trail was inaugurated in 1936. The Touring Club of Belgium created a vast network of signposted trails through the Ardennes and the Belgian Ardennes. Its network covered more than 1,000 km long before 1940. This vast national plan was drawn up in 1934 by the Ministry of Transports and was to include more than 5,000 km of trails in Belgium in the coming years. From Angleur, this tourist trail takes you to the heights of the Sart Tilman, offering magnificent views of the Ourthe and Meuse valleys on the way up. We are now in the region between Ourthe and Meuse. The first viewpoint was inaugurated at the same time as the Ourthe trail.

Many other lookouts were subsequently placed all over the Ardennes. In Angleur, a youth hostel was opened in 1938 to welcome walkers, tourists, hikers and young people from Liège. Some well-known names in Angleur: the château Nagelmakers, in 1939, Arthur Haulot, former general commissioner for tourism in Belgium, created the youth movements stemming from the Touring Club of Belgium with the Compagnons de la Route and the Aloha and many other walking groups, the youth hostels, and the friends of nature. The first GR trail and first section of the international GR5, created in 1959, started from Angleur and headed towards the Ardennes.

Let's continue on the Ourthe RAVeL after Angleur station in the direction of Tilff, via the Ile de Streupas and the Corsaires. A little further on, on your left, are the "Rochers du Bout du Monde" in Embourg. This place was really quiet before the construction of the Ardennes motorway. Source O Rama tells us how a drop of water that falls into the Embourg Chaudfontaine limestone massif emerges after 60 years underground... Tilff is a town known for its carnival and its folklore group "les Porais". Méry, Hony, the Fêchereux footbridge... We are in the Ourthe loop with its magnificent viewpoint over "La Roche aux Faucons". The region was once a holiday resort in the Liège Ardennes. Fêchereux was the birthplace of scouting in Belgium in the 1910s. We have found traces of this history in the Glandier group in Seraing. Protest fights took place under the aegis of the "Friends of the Ourthe". The preservation of nature won out in the face of vandalism, and dam and real estate projects. There was even talk of creating national and nature parks throughout the Ardennes. Throughout this walk along the Ourthe, you can discover many vestiges of the old Ourthe canal, the lock houses and the information panels.

Han is a preserved village located a little on the left while going up the river towards Esneux. We are now in Esneux, best known for its "Fête de l'Arbre", an event created in 1905. Walkers, hikers and tourists will be able to take a break from walking at the numerous stations in the valley, such as Tilff, Méry, Hony, Esneux... Arriving at Esneux bridge, there will be a fantastic view towards the château du Fy and its many stairs leading up towards the church. Don't miss the Parc du Mary and its many paths and tracks.

We hope we have convinced you to come and discover this beautiful green valley. A large number of signposted paths, the long-distance hiking trails of the Ourthe valley, the Tour du Condroz hiking trail, the Saint Jacques de Compostelle trail... numerous organised walks, guided walks and more. I look forward to meeting you on the region's trails.

Jean-Pierre Englebert.


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