Introduction

The Semois River forms eccentric loops flanked by vividly green waterside meadows swiftly swallowed in steeply rising wooded valley sides. By car, follow winding roads that roller-coaster between streamside and plateau-top villages. Courbion to Vresse-sur-Semois via Rochehaut is one of Belgium's loveliest drives. Although some riverside meadows are marred by caravan sites, there are many lovely scenes to admire. The river around Vresse and Alle is ideal for kayaking. In autumn the colours here are spectacular.

Regional centre Vresse-sur-Semois has a fortress-like 1786 stone church-tower and an incongruous reconstruction of Belgium’s first steam locomotive. Historically, it was a retreat for artists and thinkers, including surrealist poet Jean Cocteau; a gallery exhibits some of the works of the 'Vresse School'. Across its 18th-century bridge (Pont St-Lambert) is the pretty stone hamlet of Lafôret.