The Belgian Grand Canyon - Foundry des Chiens

I had already heard of it: the so-called Belgian Grand Canyon. So I was curious.

Belgians are quite proud of their country and what it has to offer, so naturally, I had to find out if Belgium’s Grand Canyon could match its namesake in the USA.

As an experienced traveler, I had previously visited the actual Grand Canyon in the U.S. twice, once via the touristy South Rim and once via the lesser-known North Rim, so why wouldn’t I want to revisit this magnificent natural wonder within my own country’s borders?

Karoadtrips, the authentic travel professional, comes to the rescue to determine if the Belgian Grand Canyon deserves its formidable reputation! Let’s see if it was worth all the hype…

Rocky Ride

The drive to the Belgian Grand Canyon leads to the south of Belgium, also known as the “Ardennes.” No matter where you come from, the order is invariable: highway, cobblestone road (thank you, Romans), and you end up on a poorly asphalted path among rolling fields. Just when you think you’ve taken a wrong turn, you see the redeeming sign “Fondry Des chiens”. Something to do with dogs (chiens is French for dogs) or the great natural spectacle we were looking for? Park among the other visitors, and we’ll see. Apparently, it is a popular destination betrayed by a full parking lot with international license plates and installed picnic benches. Exciting. I think…

Can You call it a Canyon?

The drive to the Belgian Grand Canyon leads to the south of Belgium, also known as the “Ardennes.” No matter where you come from, the order is invariable: highway, cobblestone road (thank you, Romans) and you end up on a poorly asphalted path among rolling fields. Just when you think you’ve taken a wrong turn, you see the redeeming sign “Fondry Des chiens”. Something to do with dogs (chiens is French for dogs) or the great natural spectacle we were looking for? Park among the other visitors, and we’ll see. Apparently, it is a popular destination betrayed by a full parking lot with international license plates and installed picnic benches. Exciting. I think…

Can you call it a Canyon?

Excitement was building during the whole drive, and expectations were high! Grandeur with a small g this one. Sorry.

After a two-minute walk from the landscaped parking lot, you are there. At first, we didn’t really realize it because you expect marbled rock formations with dizzying depths.

But the selfie-taking families at the edge of a rock betrayed this tourist attraction, aka Canyon. And then, my usual sarcastic thoughts: “This is it, then? The Belgian “Grand Canyon”. (I go for honest reviews remember?)

I must be honest; it is a nice photo opportunity for families and likely soft porn for geologists. But I’m not a geologist. I am an adventurer. One who has actually visited the Grand Canyon and stood on the rim of the largest canyon in Europe (check my blog about road trip Norway for this). So, sorry Belgian tourism marketing people, I think you’ll have to promote this one differently.

Walking away

It’s not all doom and gloom. As I said before, you are in the Belgian Ardennes, though. And if you like nature, you’re in the right place. There were fun hiking trails that took you past vibrant forests and paths back and forth to the engaging small town of Nismes. Pro tip: check the trails’ routes before hiking them. Personally, I’m more of a go-with-the-flow type and therefore started walking around the Canyon purely by feeling. We saw beautiful things, and most of the time, we walked all alone in a deserted landscape. So that was great..

But afterward, I really can’t tell you which route we followed, so I can’t recommend it. At one point, we descended to the point where we were gabbing along the water in Nismes, so we were no longer in the Canyon. A lovely little town with a nice park, castle, and church. Basic Belgium.

Overcoming potholes and miles; is it worth it?

The Belgian Grand Canyon may not be as grand as the real one, but it was nevertheless a beautiful experience. Exploring the scenic trails, fresh air, and cozy village was a pleasure. And indulging in laughter in the great outdoors. Because I did really enjoy it. The peace and quiet, nature and company. Overall, it was an ideal way to spend a Sunday and a perfect destination for any traveler looking to explore the Belgian Ardennes. But not if you’re looking for an alternative to the Grand Canyon.

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