ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Jeumont and the Sambre River, France: Remembering Writer Robert Louis Stevenson

Updated on May 15, 2020
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
The Sambre at Jeumont
The Sambre at Jeumont | Source
Bridge over the Sambre, Jeumont, Christmas 2006
Bridge over the Sambre, Jeumont, Christmas 2006 | Source
Medallion head of Robert Louis Stevenson outside the Writers' Museum, Edinburgh
Medallion head of Robert Louis Stevenson outside the Writers' Museum, Edinburgh | Source
Map location of Jeumont, France
Map location of Jeumont, France | Source

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go" (R. L. Stevenson)

I stayed at a hotel overlooking the bridge over the Sambre River; this bridge carries rue Jean-Jaurès , which connects the Downtown area of Jeumont with rue d'Erquelinnes , on the border with Belgium.

In the main photo, above, this road bridge over Sambre river may be seen in the distance; the photo was taken from under the rail bridge.

Interestingly, it seems that, here, 'all roads lead to Belgium', to paraphrase a well-worn concept. Rue Jean-Jaurès connecting with rue d'Erquelinnes ; the Sambre river; the railroad: all these three elements present to some extent in the main photo, above, are located only a few hundred metres from France's border with Belgium, at Erquelinnes, in the Walloon region (French: Région wallonne ).

For so many travellers — by road, by rail and, yes, by the Sambre river which connects with the Sambre-Oise Canal and flows into Belgium here — Jeumont is a place that one travels through rather than to.

Recently, however, the local tourist authority in the Avesnois area of France's Nord department, has taken to turning on its head this notion that Jeumont is a place one goes through rather than to (1). The relaxed navigability of the Sambre river here is stressed as an attraction; the electric boat hire opportunities on the Sambre at Jeumont are promoted, and, interestingly, the memory of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is invoked. The famous author of Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde travelled in a canoe down the Sambre river in the summer of 1876, and some of his thoughts in so doing have been recorded for posterity. R L Stevenson once wrote memorably (2):

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake.

For Stevenson, such a journey along this eminently navigable course of water was surely proof of the truth of his maxim. Stevenson died in Samoa in 1894, but one may suppose that it would (for example) do violence to the central thesis of Edward W. Said's Orientalism (3) to suggest that the Sambre river is any less exotic than Samoa!

It's a good enough thought, though, by which to try to attract people to visit Jeumont, and make use of its boating facilities!

Jeumont is located in the Avesnes-sur-Helpe arrondissement of France's Nord department.

December 13, 2012



(2) R. L. Stevenson, qu. in: La Voix du Nord ,

(3) Edward W. Said, Orientalism , Vintage Books, 1978

Also worth seeing

In Jeumont itself, parts of the church of St. Martin are several centuries old; this building is within walking distance of the border with Begium.

Maubeuge , France (distance: 12 kilometres) contains striking fortifications dating from the 17th century.

Erquelinnes , Belgium (distance: 1 kilometre) has a marina, and an interesting old church.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. Brussels is the nearest large airport to Jeumont (distance: 88 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains rail links with the adjoining Belgian town of Erquelinnes. 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


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)