Martin Banks offers the low-down on Wallonia’s most popular holiday destination – the Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure.
Admit it: who would not fancy living in a wooden chalet in the beautiful Ardennes? For most of us such fanciful musings remain, sadly, a pipe dream but a vacation park in the heart of Wallonia offers something resembling the next best thing.
Nestled around five picturesque lakes, Les Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure is a holiday village that each year attracts scores of visitors in search of the Great Outdoors. With great accommodation and plenty of activities, this is reportedly the biggest tourist attraction in Wallonia and makes for a great ‘nearby’ destination” for people in Brussels.
In 2015, the park, just south of Charleroi, got even bigger with a refurbished aquacentre (newly-opened in May), wellness (opening in July) and bike-park. That’s not to mention numerous other things to keep you busy, including walking, stand-up paddles andkayaking. There’s also a dam which you can scale to enjoy a particularly good panoramic view. For the seriously energetic, you can try sailing, water skiing, jet-skiing and diving.
And if you thought you had to trek to the Belgian coast to surf you’d be wrong because you can do that here too. There are also 300km of sign-posted paths for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and mountain bikers. Other facilities include hard tennis courts, mini golf course, jeu de boules pitch and beach volleyball. During the Dutch and Belgian holidays there is also a full entertainment programme.
If that wasn’t enough the area’s local vicinity offers a fascinating range of places to visit, such as Stavelot Abbey and the spring museum and thermal baths in Spa. It also makes a good base for Formula One fans with the famous Francorchamps circuit not too far away.
At the heart of it all, though, is the Golden Lakes Village and those aforementioned chalets, each located on the banks of the largest of the five lakes (Lac de la Plate Taille), with its very own beach and promenade. Designed by architect Philippe Valentiny, the comfortable wooden chalets are cleverly integrated into the tree-lined surroundings and boast all home comforts, including electric heating. There’s an open kitchen and partly-roofed patio with garden furniture. Many of the tastefully-furnished villas also offer a terrific panorama of the lakes and countryside.
The uncluttered lay-out of the site, a blessed relief from so many holiday parks, lends itself to a peaceful break. Thanks to landing ramps and pontoons the resort also allows guests the chance to attach non-motorized boats right across from their rented property.
Les Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure, a comfortable 90 minute drive from Brussels, is an ideal place to re-energize and get away from it all… albeit for a few days.