Deep into the Ardennes forest, the scenic village of La Roche-en-Ardenne (Welschfels in German; pop. 4000) is a popular holiday resorts with Flemish and Dutch people.
There are a few small museums, a wildlife park and a small tourist train, but the main sight are the ruins of La Roche's feudal castle, perched on a crag overseeing the Ourthe River.
La Roche Castle
La Roche was already settled in the Neolithic period. It later served as a Celtic, then Roman stronghold. The medieval castle was built in the 9th century by Rupes Seremani, a vassal of the Duke of Lotharingia.
The castle was modified in the 15th century to resist firearms. The troops of Louis XIV occupied La Roche for 16 years from 1681, during which time the dungeon was demolished, and the castle changed into a modern fortress.
The castle of La Roche was abandoned by Austrian Emperor Joseph II, and fell into decay in the 19th century.
The ruins are open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm in July and August, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in April, May, June and September, and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm the rest of the year (also 10a to 12noon on weekends). Admission is 2.50 € for adults and 1.50 € for children.
How to get there
La Roche is on the N89, between the N4 (Namur-Marche-Luxembourg) and E25 (Liege-Bastogne-Luxembourg) motorways. Take exit 50 on the E25 or exit for Champlon on the N4. La Roche is about 10km from either exit.
Using public transports, the nearest train station is Marloie on the Brussels-Namur-Luxembourg line. From there, take bus No 15 to La Roche (35min). There are about 6 buses per day. From Liege, take a train to Melreux, then a bus (30min).
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