Places to visit | Local area map | rail travel*
station at Maubeuge - from Lille via Aulnoye

Maubeuge & Bavay

Maubeuge ramparts
17th century town ramparts designed by Vauban.
Maubeuge Zoo-giraffe
There is a zoo in part of the moat.

France's historic frontier lookout post
Looking over the gently flowing sweep of the river Sambre, you find it difficult to believe that
Maubeuge hasn't always been this peaceful.

Maubeuge was a key frontier stronghold, repeatedly fought over by the French and whoever ruled Flanders. Louis XIV finally captured it from the Spanish and brought it within the borders of France. Its fortifications were strengthened by Vauban in the 17th century.

Industry and canals
In the 19th century, Maubeuge grew as an important centre of the steel industry - its blast furnaces and rolling mills were supplied with fuel by the Sambre Canal (and later railways) from the coalfields of north France and Belgium. As elsewhere in the North, this industry was badly hit by the economic crises of the 1970's and '80's, and Maubeuge was forced to attract new employment.

Second World war
Maubeuge lay right in the path of the German invasion in 1940, which obliterated the old town. Vauban's fort was one part that survived. The Pons de Mons gate and the Pont Dormant bridge have been entirely renovated. The guardhouse (Maison du Corps de Garde) has a museum of fortifications.

Zoological gardens
Maubeuge's safari park at the bottom of the ramparts has over 500 different kinds of animals, birds and reptiles.

River Sambre
Once a busy route for canal barges carrying coal and industrial products between France and Belgium, the river is now used as much for cruises and pleasure boating.

Cruise the River Sambre Maugeuge plane flights
3. Cruises along the river Sambre. 4. You can see the Avenois from the air on a short sightseeing flight from the local airfield.

About 12km to the east, Bavay was once an important Roman town - a regional centre for Belgium and north France. German bombing in World War 2 destroyed later buildings, and revealed that much remained underneath. Archaeologists have since excavated remarkable remains of the
Roman town centre.

Web links and more information
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Places to visit
Boat trips on the river Sambre - at Maubeuge
Brasserie Au Baron - small traditional brewery near Bavay
Museum of Customs & Frontiers [Musée de la Douane] - story of 200 years of guarding the frontier against smugglers before the Common Market
Fourmies-Trélon Ecomusée - Museum of old craft industries at 9 sites
Roman Forum & Archaeological Site - Bavay

Why not try this newfeature?
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QUICK TOUR round the Avenois region, starting with Fourmies-Trélon Ecomusée...
Local area map:

Click on places for more information

Avenois Regional Nature Park - natural park protecting much of the region's countryside and giving access for leisure activities
Lac du Val Joly - outdoor sporting and leisure area,

Background Information:
Vauban - 17th century military engineer




Avesnes Last updated 5th September 1999 © Copyright Invicta Media 1999