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Visiting Frahan, in the Semois Valley: one of the most photogenic localities of Belgium

Updated on February 4, 2013
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
The Semois at Frahan
The Semois at Frahan | Source
Map location of Bouillon municipality in the Belgian province of Luxembourg
Map location of Bouillon municipality in the Belgian province of Luxembourg | Source

Amidst rugged topography

Frahan is said to be one of the most often photographed localities (1) in Belgium, and it is quite evident why this is so. Its location at a steep bend of the Semois river, and the dramatic topography of the surrounding Ardennes (French spelling convention in Belgium: Ardenne ) make for impressive views.

Frahan is situated in the Bouillon municipality of the province of Luxembourg, in Belgium's Wallon region (French: Région wallonne ). Some observant travellers may find that the Semois Valley is supposedly in the Namur province; others yet will read that it is in France's Ardennes department, and that it is spelt, 'Semoy'. All these observations are accurate.

Along with many other localities in Belgium, in 1977, Frahan, which was formerly part of Rochehaut municipality, was attached to that of Bouillon, which now covers a wide area (2).

A recent survey gave the population of Frahan as being only 74. But in the summer months especially these numbers are greatly swelled by visitors, many of whom come down from The Netherlands.

Features of the village include a church building, dating from 1843, with a conspicuous, turret-like tower.

While popularized over several decades by the diffusion of colour photography, views of Frahan reveal scenes which have barely altered over centuries.

February 4, 2013


(1) It seems that the photogeneity — in the sense of the dramatic character — of the Belgian landscape is somewhat in proportion of to a locality's remoteness to the capital, Brussels. Only when one has travelled to the eastern and south-eastern areas of the Walloon region — approaching the borders of Germany, Luxembourg and France — does one come to some of the country's more rugged topography.

(2) Canadians familiar with politicians' schemes to create entities such as the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, with its far-flung, rural areas, will be able to empathize at the surprise sometimes caused by realization of the sheer size of some of Belgium's municipalities, especially some of its rural and sparsely populated ones.

Also worth seeing

Bouillon (distance: 13 kilometres), also on the Semois River, has the ancient castle of Crusader Godefroid de Bouillon, which overlooks the town.

Sedan , France (distance: 22 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 Frahan : 175 kilometres). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please 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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