Signy-le-Petit, Aouste, Liart, Rouvroy-sur-Audry…Here towers similar to those of a castle, there loopholes or watchtowers to watch for the enemy…
To the west of the Ardennes department, just on the edge of the Aisne department (where the same phenomenon extends to the North), the circuit of the fortified churches of Thiérache proposes a route of 150 km in about twenty stages to discover these amazing buildings that combine religion and fighting. Let's discover some of these nuggets.


Signy-le-Petit: Saint-Nicolas church

Signy-le-Petit: Saint-Nicolas church

The current church of Signy-le-Petit dates from the end of the XNUMXth century. The walls, three meters thick at the base of the tower, are made of quartz schist. Through the square porch tower flanked by two watchtowers with pepperboxes, one enters the vaulted nave of bricks on intersecting ribs of yellow stone.

Rumigny: The Courtyard of the Meadows

La Cour des Prés is located among the great centuries-old beeches at the entrance to the village of Rumigny. This old fortified house was built in 1546 by Louis Martin, provost of Rumigny responding to the call of King François 1er who wanted the region to be fortified to better protect the population from invasions by the imperials of Charles V.
Today, the Avril family will take you through the history of their home and make you appreciate all its charm. In summer, evenings of baroque music and candlelit dinners are scheduled there.
Information, guided tours on 03 24 35 52 66

Aouste: Saint-Rémi church

Beautiful fortified church whose architectural characteristics make it belong to the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries. The Flamboyant Gothic style western portal is surmounted by a powerful gatehouse. On the left stands a square tower-keep pierced with loopholes and gunboats. A currently walled well and a vast chimney allowed a fairly long period of isolation.

Liart: Church of Our Lady

The Notre-Dame church, fortified in the XNUMXth century, has a rectangular porch-tower with the appearance of a powerful two-storey dungeon. A gatehouse and numerous firing ports were used to defend the narrow western entrance. The tower covered with curious roofs looks like a castle. Access to an attic-refuge above the choir is via the two turrets.

Rouvroy-sur-Audry: Church of Saint-Etienne de Servion

It is the XNUMXth century fortified gate-tower that deserves your attention. It is square in plan and two round corner towers complete the defense system. The north tower contains two superimposed casemates, the south tower, a spiral staircase which gives access to the two floors of the tower-porch. Currently, the church is no longer a place of worship but hosts temporary cultural events.
An associative vineyard was planted in 2011 near the church. It extends over 20 acres and is made up of 3 different grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Auxerrois to create a 100% Ardennes wine (but not marketed).

Last strong ramparts against attackers

Churches are the last solid ramparts against attackers. They are transformed or designed to resist and protect the inhabitants, like some farms (fortified house of Maipas, Hardoncelle, Remilly-les-Pothées) or small castles such as that of The Cour des Prés in Rumigny in particular.
In a bucolic and verdant nature, between hills and groves, these nuggets are open-air pages of history. Cross again the Forests of Signy-le-Petit then that of Signy-l'Abbaye toward the Pre-Ardennes ridges and discover on the way other extraordinary curiosities such as the former post house on horseback in Launois-sur-Vence.

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