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Visiting Corbion, Belgium: tranquil village close to an unusual, wooded border

Updated on November 6, 2015
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Corbion | Source

Trees and tanks

Corbion (1), a village in Belgium's Luxembourg province (2), resembles on the surface many others, but it is a village with a difference: close by is the border with France in a densely wooded area. On the French side of the border, the forest is known as la forêt de Sedan. It was through this densely wooded area that Nazi German Panzers unexpectedly broke through into France during the Blitzkrieg in May, 1940.

Interestingly, to the west of the village of Corbion, there is, leading from the village of Sugny, a road known as rue de Bouillon, because the town of Bouillon lies to the east of Corbion. However, as this road gradually approaches Corbion, for a few kilometers along this densely wooded area the road changes name and is known as the D777, thus designated because this stretch of the road is in France, in the Ardennes department. Then, continuing in the same, eastward direction, the road enters Belgium again, and is known as rue du Tambour. Intriguingly, the two Belgian localities — Sugny and Corbion — linked by a French road which lies directly between them, are situated in different, Belgian provinces: Namur and Luxembourg respectively.

A 16th century mill close to the border stream of Joly and a church building with a small spire are included in the village's significant architectural heritage.

Noted historical personalities associated with the village include Sébastien de Corbion (born 1520), to whom the invention of the pistol is attributed.

Corbion forms part of Bouillon municipality, in Belgium's Walloon region (French: Région wallonne); I am sometimes reminded by Belgium's many, large and rural municipal boundaries of the tendency of Canadian politicians to draw huge, sweeping lines across rural areas and designate all land within them a 'city', as in Ontario's City of Kawartha Lakes, for example!

Thus, this small village in southern Belgium, close to the French border, seems to some extent to epitomize both intriguing transitions of sovereignty and — given its part in World War Two history — its violation also.

November 6, 2015


(1) NB: There is also a hamlet in Belgium called Corbion situated near Ciney in Namur province.

(2) The independent Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is adjacent to, and geographically smaller than, the Belgian province of the same name.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia.

Map location of Bouillon in the Belgian province of Luxembourg
Map location of Bouillon in the Belgian province of Luxembourg | Source

Also worth seeing

Bouillon (distance: 7.7 kilometres), also on the Semois River, has the ancient castle of Crusader Godefroid de Bouillon, which overlooks the town.

Frahan: (distance: 5.5 kilometres), noted for the rugged, surrounding topography and striking views of the Semois River.

Sedan , France (distance: 20 kilometres); its great fortress, significant in French history, dates from the Middle Ages.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available; distance from Brussels Airport to Corbion : 155.9 kilometres). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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