Do not miss
The Place Ducale, a 17th century gem, is the centre of Charleville, a city favoured by an Italian prince, Charles de Gonzague.
Built between 1606 and 1624, it is attributed to Clément Métezeau, the brother of the King's architect Louis Métezeau, the designer of the Place des Vosges in Paris (which no doubt explains a certain similarity between the two squares).
The Place Ducale is a vast rectangle measuring 127 m x 90 m at the crossroads of the main streets in the heart of the city, one of which leads to the former Ducal water mill on Quai Rimbaud by the Meuse, now the Rimbaud Museum.
It comprises twenty-four town houses with four bays and triangular pediments, and four higher houses with two aisles, surmounted by domed bell turrets.
Its palette of colours ensures that it is magnificent at any time of the year: ochre (stone from Dom-le-Mesnil), red (brick) and blue (slate from the Ardennes).
Fine arcades surround the square, where visitors and locals may stroll, have a drink or eat in one of the many cafés and restaurants whose terraces are a great attraction on fine days.
The Ardennes Museum is also to be found there.
The Place Ducale is the venue for many events which enliven the summer period, such as the Beer Festival, the Festival of the Gastronomic Brotherhoods and the World Pupper Theatres Festival. Recently a "Ducal Beach" has even been laid out in summer, a source of family enjoyment for all.
You will love the Square whether you discover it as a festive venue or just somewhere to stroll: a must-see in your Ardennes trip.
Further details at www.charleville-tourisme.com
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