The highlight of the visit for me was the falconry display even though the whole show was in French. The trainer gives a presentation with a variety of birds-hawks, falcons, owls, vultures. The birds are stunning to see close up, they are trained to fly right over the heads of the audience.
The Chateau de Bouillon was home to Duke Godefroy de Bouillon until he mortgaged the chateau to raise funds for the First Crusade. The Chateau then passed to the prince-bishops of Liège until the 15th century after which is changed hands many times.
Our visit to the Chateau was self guided, there are numbers around the chateau that help direct you around.
Admission is 6.50€ for adults
The 'Parc Animalier' is just outside Bouillon on the west side. It has 60 different kinds of animals, a large playground and a large restaurant. You can watch the animals along a 2 km long route.
Looks like a nice thing to do with young children!
The park is open all year round from 9.30 to 19 hrs in summer and until 17 hrs in winter.
Entrance fees are 8 euro for adults, 5 euro for children (4-12 yrs).
We did not have time for a visit, we made it to the car park !
While you are at the fortress, you may hit upon the 'ballet of birds of prey'. It's a half funny 20 minute show in French and Flemish/Dutch in the central court yard. There are 4 shows per day usually, in high season.
The birds live in the court yard in their individual cages. Even outside the shows you can admire them there.
The show is free (you have paid entrance to the fortress anyway) and you can sit on the tribune or stand around somewhere else.
Canoeing (or kayaking) is a very popular sport in the Belgian Ardennes. You can rent canoes just about anywhere. In Bouillon too, of course!
The sign points you to the spot on the river side, just opposite hotel Porte de France (where we stayed).
There's plenty of fast moving water in the river Semois, so it should be fun!
This museum houses collections from the iron age, folklore, local industry (tin), music and various (christian) art.
I especially liked the attic where they showed the old tin factory from Bouillon which obviously played a big part in people's lives.
The huge fortress at Bouillon looms above the town, almost the full length of the town!
Your visit will take about 2-3 hours.
Definitely fun for children too!
Of course you should check the website (tourist office), but here are the details for 2010:
Entrance fees: 5.90 euro (adults), 4 euro (children 12 yrs).
Night visits (including burning torch): 7.90 euro
Printed guides in French, Dutch, English, German and Japanese: 1 euro.
No dogs allowed.
Really not very far from Bouillon, at all, lies little, tiny Luxembourg and her capital - The Grand Duchy which is rather a clean, green, beautiful and interesting city (where the residence all seem to speak German, French and English at least!).
There's enough to keep you fully entertained and occupied for a day (at least) and it really is a worth while city to visit.
The Bouillon Castle has a long history going back to the Xth century.
Perched on the top of an unscalable rock, with the only accessible side enclosed by the river, it must have been a dream of a fortress, and an excellent place to lord if over from. It proved its worth in gold when Godfried (of Bouillon) sold it off to sponsor the First Crusade a thousand years ago.
These days it's an open museum (daily til about 6pm, as of Aug 2007, ticket is 5.90 euro). In the summer they also do torch-lit visits at 10pm.
It's well preserved and worth seeing, least of all for the glorious views. Altho' the torture room is somewhat cramped and lacking in imagination, the prison was bad while the 'oubliette' (the room of the forgotten) was just plain evil.
Godefroid de Bouillon led his army to the Holy Land, purportedly massacred up to 40,000 Muslims & Jews and claimed the title Defender Of The Holy Sepulchre. He was the last Duke of Buillon and sold the castle in 1096 the funds from which he used to go on his giant orgy which started in Germany.
The castle is everything a csatle should be and you can walk around all the dark passageways, climb to the tops of the towers and look (headily) down from the battlements to the sleepy village below hugging the River Semois... a Feudal castle of little boys dreams
Within the grounds there are birds of prey but I believe they are only present during the summer months.
In 2005 it cost E5.20 for adults, children were 1/2 price and under 6 years free.
Open July & August 9:30am - 7pm
April - June & Septembedr 10am - 6pm
December - February 10am - 5pm Sat & Sun
March, October & November 10am - 5pm
Inside the castle in the court, a falcony show ("ballet de rapaces") takes place three times a day, at 11:30, 14:00 and 15:30. It is included in the castle admission fee. It's an interesting show - even if you don't understand the French and Dutch explanations! The show takes about 30 minutes and also some voluntaries are asked to join. It's always funny if the birds fly close over your head and everybody ducks his head! It only seemed to be difficult to calm down the little children... Before and after the show, you can also take a look on the birds of prey, there are several birdcages.
This is just like a castle has to be: old walls, full of corners and hidden places to discover, with gloomy corridors and dungeons! Not only children will like to explore this castle! I'm not sure if we have really seen all places... In any case, this castle is my favourite Belgian castle - my next favourite is La Roche en Ardenne!
In summer there are also guided tours during nights by torch, that must be great, too!
First records of this castle date from 988, so it is really old, and besides it's also quite big. The castle was once owned by "Godfrey of Bouillon", a famous leader of the first crusade 1096 who died in Jerusalem. There's a room in the castle dedicated to him, with a cross under a glass pane in the ground.
There is a free parking in front of the castle, but I think it's much nicer to go there by feet. On both sides, small paths go up to the castle.
Opened from 10:00 - 17:00/18:00 (depending on the season)
Admission: adults 5,20 Euro / children 3,50 Euro
Why is it so special? I'm not sure but some castles satisfy the little child part of us which refuses to go away as we get older and some castles don't. Since it is an emotional and not a logical reaction, there is probably little point trying to explain it - but this castle hits that spot.
There are long, low, dark passages interspersed with spiral stairways, battlements and towers.
I probably went up more steps than was a good idea for me but I think I should do it again. This is magic.
We made a walk in the neighbourhood of Bouillon, and passed through the town of Frahan (population: 74, according to Wikipedia )
Visit the castle of Godfrey of Bouillon (c. 1060 – 18 July 1100), who joined the Holy Crusade and became King of Jerusalem. That's me wearing silly pants and no matching T-shirt.