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In a few kilometers away on the north is situated the immense forest Les Epioux. Most of this forest (1721 hectares) is own by the CPAS of Mons.

Mr. Victor Louis Auguste Dejardin (1830-1915), farmer in Harmignies, has bequeathed this place to the Civil Hospices of Mons through the will of January 1st 1898. According to a legend still perennial in the area of Florenville, Mr. Dejardin, poorly-dressed peasant, a bit stingy, bought Les Epioux on June 21st 1887 for 630.000 francs (15.617€). He would have paid cash because he was carrying gold coins. Some people also say that he carried gold coins in his umbrella (!). Some other say that there were holes in his umbrella!!!

The CPAS of Mons has the drafts of the correspondence with Mr. Dejardin from July 1887 to the end of 1899. The skinning of this can help us understanding the personality of this nice man and giving him the justice he deserves.

Mr. Dejardin was a cultured man. He graduated from high school in 1850. It was uncommon at that time, especially in the countryside. He was interested in archeology and antiquities. He was a poet as well. He published a collection of some of his work. He was also a careful businessman and a wise farmer. Sometimes, Mr. Dejardin doubted if it was a good idea to acquire the domain because of the reforestation's cost.
His doubt became even bigger when the Big Pond's dike broke down (1888). This event liberated 500.000m² of water which caused big costs of reconstruction and of indemnity as well. This indemnities were claimed all along the Semois up to Bouillon. The factories of Epioux-Bas were destroyed.
After the death of Mr. Dejardin, les Epioux got estimated at 12.000.000 francs (29.750€) on August 31st 1915. The inheritance tax was 1.500.000 francs (37.184€) in 1921. The property value of this area keeps growing.

In the center of this property, we can see vast ponds, one of them is 12 hectares big. We can also see the castle of blacksmiths dating from the 17th century. Those ponds provided the necessary hydraulic energy for that kind of steel operation. The forges of Epioux and Roussel (Epioux-Bas) have been two important centers of the South-Luxemburgish’s metallurgy during three centuries.

The castle of Les Epioux was built in 1650. It was restored in 1730 and the tower has been elevated by Louis Zoude in 1878. It hosted the famous Prince Pierre-Napoléon Bonaparte, son of Lucin and nephew of the emperor. He had an adventurous, restless and turbulent life while traveling around the world. But he also had some peaceful years in a few Luxemburgish haven like the castle of Les Epioux in which he lived from 1862 to 1871. During those years, he hunted and wrote some publications that he printed himself.

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Contact

  • Syndicat d'initiative de Florenville sur Semois
    Esplanade du Panorama 1
    6820 FLORENVILLE
  • +32 (0) 61 31 12 29

Opening hours of the Tourist Office

FROM 1 NOVEMBER UNTIL 31 MARCH
From Monday to Saturday : 9:00 > 17:00. On Sundays and public holiday : 10:00 > 17:00

FROM 1 APRIL UNTIL 31 OCTOBER
From Monday to Saturday : 9:00 > 18:00. On Sundays and public holiday : 10:00 > 17:00

JULY AND AUGUST
From Monday to Saturday : 9:00 > 18:00. On Sunday : 10:00 > 17:00

ANNUAL CLOSING
Christmas Day : 25 December. New Year's Day : 1 January
Carnival Sunday in Florenville

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