"The Smallest Town in the World"
Smallest... it depends on the meaning of smallest.
It's been a while since I last visited Durbuy, and I don't remember a lot of details besides some old photos that I took. Here's one photo that I scanned from my old collection.
Durbuy? Stay in Barveau instead!
"Where is it?"
When in Belgium I first heard of Durbuy when I had failed to get into Bouillon for the weekend. I asked the man in the TIC in Namur where else he recommended and this was his reply. It was handy for the train, he assured me. I looked up hotels and thought them too pricey for two nights so stayed that night in namur, having decided to head for Luxembourg next day.
By the morning I had changed my mind and asked at the station info office for a recommendation in the Ardennes suitable for the train - Durbuy again.
Brussels - Luxembourg line to Marboie and change for Barveau - trains every two hours - then 2 kilometres to walk. On the basis that there was bound to be a bus I set off.
No problem in reaching Barveau - an unpretentious and thoroughly pleasant little town with more kayaks than I have ever seen anywhere else. But Durbuy was not 2 miles away but 7 - even more certain there would be a bus - but no! Not on Saturdays in September anyway. Walk? too far with kit [heart condition] Taxi? too dear [pension]
So stay in Barveau - elementary.
"Claims to fame."
I put Barveau into the Google search box and got back a history of the 628th Tank Destroyer Batallion in the 2nd world war - and nothing else! Copernic yielded four - all war based. Not even all those kayaks can generate a current claim to fame!
So I tried Durbuy on Google and got back the first ten of about 11,600 results - obviously a place with a claim to fame!!
But what claim? - being the world's smallest town!!! I decided to get some of these websites and see who said so, how often they checked - and above all why they bothered - but the very first one I tried told me it had lost its claim in 1977 when it merged with some nearby places into a single community. I gave up on claims to fame at this point.
"Walk - Barveau to Durbuy"
I was not meaning to do this walk but to look at the riverside walk at Barveau so off I set on a cyclists', horse riders' and pedestrian path. After a kilometre I found it was 6 kilometres on to Durbuy. It was flat, easy and very scenic, a fairly wide, slow and shallow river with surprisingly steep and forested banks. I may have my reservations about Durbuy itself but this walk is really great for a person with limited walking capacity like me.
I walked to Durbuy and back and felt very contented.