Tucked away between the Paris region to the south, Belgium to the north and the wide plains of Picardy and Champagne to the west and east, the Aisne is a département of green countryside with quiet meandering rivers.
The landscapes of alternating valleys, hills and plateaus are constantly changing, and this diversity makes for great quality time and is ideal for outdoor leisure for all the family.
The towns and cities in the Aisne have remained on a human scale. The host of architectural treasures dotted around the countryside are like open books in which you can read the region’s immensely rich history. The Aisne is at the heart of France’s first ever kingdom and the paths that criss-cross it are soaked with memories. In fact, it is France’s fourth ranking département in terms of listed buildings.
The Aisne has five smaller districts or terroirs, each of which offers an opportunity to discover its own specific traditional way of life and original craftsmanship. You can taste specialities ranging from champagne to cider, beans to strong maroilles cheese in settings that are made warm and intimate by the simplicity and hospitality of the local people.
The Aisne has raised, enthralled and inspired numerous painters and writers. Its paths and unruffled canal waters, from museums to gardens and village homes, provide the perfect setting in which to discover their works, which in return reward visitors by offering magical insights into the spirit of each place.
Top 10 must-sees
- Art Déco city of Saint-Quentin – www.saint-quentin-tourisme.com
- Familistère Godin, social palace at Guise – www.familistere.com
- Fortified churches in the vicinity of Vervins – www.tourisme-thierache.fr
- Cité médiévale de Laon – www.tourisme-paysdelaon.com
- Chemin des Dames, WW1 route – www.chemindesdames.fr
- Caverne du Dragon at Oulches-La-Vallée-Foulon, WW1 underground museum – www.chemindesdames.fr
- Abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes at Soissons – www.tourisme-soissons.fr
- Champagne tourist route and cellars in the vicinity of Château-Thierry – www.lesportesdelachampagne.com
- Château of Condé at Condé-en-Brie – www.chateaudeconde.fr