Givet to Revin alongside the mighty River Meuse

The River Meuse

An amazing ride alongside the mighty River Meuse as it flows out of France and into Belgium. Whilst passing through everchanging scenery. From nuclear power stations; to quiet villages and towns; to deep forests and wide open flower meadows. With a touching visit to a Second World War memorial for the local men and women; that lost their lives fighting for freedom in the resistance movement. The greenway is tarmacked for the entire distance; with a few sections on quiet roads.

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The chimneys of Chooz

Approaching Chooz; alongside the River Meuse

I was staying at a campsite situated right on the east bank of the Meuse; on the outskirts of Givet. There are very few campsites in this area; with this one being the most convenient. To find out more; see here:

Wheeling out of the campsite gates; I turned left and into the morning sun. There was a fresh morning breeze blowing up the river; a perfect balance to the rising sun. Other people were already out exercising or commuting; so I made the effort to bid everyone a ‘Bonne Journee’. The riverside is wide enough for a large service vehicle to use; so I could pass other cyclists and pedestrians with ease.

#EDF Chooz for a Instagram classic!

As I gently warmed up my leg muscles; the river curved around to the left and then into a great right curve below a range of hills. In the middle of this amphitheatre; stands a nuclear power station with its grande chimneys. A complete juxtaposition to the rural landscape and the quaint neighbouring village of Chooz.

Whilst the dangers of a nuclear accident are sadly already known. The benefits of using a cleaner energy source are necessary as populations boom along with the upcoming mandatory use of electric cars. Yet when the chimneys tower over the rooftops of a sleepy village; it is hard not to long for yesterdays world.

The greenway was clearly marked and I soon rode around the vast complex. Passing through the narrow sections with high barbed wire fences either side to prevent terrorist attacks; to wide open pastures rolling down to the river bank. Looking back over a wheat field; only the chimneys were visible. With the intelligence of highly educated engineers; I hope the future is bright, clean and safe.

The chimenys of Chooz

Down by the riverside

Looking downstream; somewhere south of Chooz, alongside the River Meuse

Rolling on upstream, the river valley opened up and the Meuse seemed to widen too. There were fewer people on the greenway now; so I relaxed and took time to look around at the passing scenery. I could no longer hear the humming sound of traffic on a main road; just the occasional birdsong as they flitted over the river. The wind rustled through the overhanging beech trees and cows grazed silently in the fields.

I was fairly near to many large cities in northern Europe; such as: Paris, Lille and Brussels. Yet I felt as though I was on some remote island. Akin to exploring the upper reaches of the Amazon; all be it on a tarmac path!

Approaching Haybes; alongside the Meuse

After a while the greenway passed the villages of Haybes and Fumay. There is another campsite at Haybes; see here: As well as a small selection of guest houses. In addition, I spotted a restaurant and a food trailer in Fumay; selling the local delicacy: French Fries! Yes, fried sausage and chips is a favourite here; so be sure to cycle off the extra calories the next day.

However, the restaurant seemed too busy and the food trailer shut in the afternoon; so definitely plan ahead when it comes to rations. More importantly, I failed to see any water fountains along the entire route. Maybe it is best to stock up at the Intermarche supermarket in Givet?

A fast food truck in Fumay

Memorial to the French Resistance – Monument du Maquis

Pay your respects to the men of The Maquis

After the village of Fumay; the greenway continued in a south-west direction. At times on the banks of the Meuse; then sometimes far away from the river to navigate around railway lines, roads and private land. Finally arriving to Revin; was somewhat of an empty climax. The path passes under a railway, then a road; whilst only enter the outskirts of Revin on a quiet residential street. Having read about the nearby decisive battlegrounds of the Second World War; I was aware of a memorial overlooking Revin on a quiet lane.

The road up to the memorial was short but steep; with the heat making it feel even steeper. Yet I soon arrived at this simple but sombre memorial to the local men. It was said that when the Allies landed in France on D-Day; the Nazi’s realised they needed all the manpower it could muster. So 250 ‘Maquis’ delayed 3,000 Nazi soldiers from rushing to Normandy by fighting them in the woods above this monument. When the local men were finely overpowered by the Nazis; only 150 remained alive. Of these 105 were executed and buried in shallow graves in the woods; which you can still visit by continuing up this road. The rest were sent to concentration camps to probably meet a more painful death. This memorial lists those 105 brave souls that gave their lives for our freedom.

Retourner à Givet

The view of Revin from the monument to the Maquis

I read every name on the memorial as some small token of my respect. Feeling the heat on my neck; I turned around and looked out over the town of Revin. I realised that my easy life of cycling holidays in picturesque places with the sun and a fresh breeze on my face was only possible because of these men.

Turning to go; I looked back at the names one last time. By enjoying my life and doing healthy and fun things like a bike ride along the River Meuse. I am respecting them the best way I can; because I am making the most of a freedom they never saw again.

Returning the same way I had came along the River Meuse; I rode without feeling tired. The heat and muscle fatigue seemed nothing compared to the pain these brave men faced. Arriving back to my campsite in Givet; I held a beer aloft to the French tricolore on the fort above the town in their memory.

Please come and enjoy this beautiful part of France. Respect these men by just enjoying your freedom.

Almost back to Givet; alongside the River Meuse

To see more of my adventures in France; then please click here: Routes in France
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