Valentine’s Day, it’s become a synonym for the most commercial holiday. Who still goes along with this in 2015? A special menu at the restaurant charging you double. Specialties with chocolate of dubious quality. The Valentine’s hearts might make you feel a bit unwell…
And if we threw all of this out the window? Meet three holiday-makers heading out to the Ardennes, Valentine or not.
Gilles is a young father from Wavre. He chose the Belgian Ardennes for a delightful trip with wife and kids, but also brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. A whole week in a self-catering holiday cottage close to Maredsous. Scheduled for the trip: a visit to the abbey of Maredsous, hikes and outdoor activities. “The idea was to spend some time together away from home. It’s not the first time we rent a holiday home in the Ardennes. Revitalising in the middle of nature, that’s what we love!”
Carnival? Not really his cup of tea. And Valentine’s Day? It doesn’t even come up. “Maybe we’ll organise something modest on the fourteenth, but only because we have to. We never do anything for Valentine’s Day, it’s a purely commercial phenomenon”, says Gilles.
The Ardennes Strength
Gilles is one of the 8,000 people from the Brussels area who rented a holiday cottage with Ardennes-Etape in 2014. This number is increasing every year. The Belgian Ardennes, the fresh air, the impressive scenery, the excellent location, the activities,… These are all great strengths of the region. The offer of holiday accommodation in the region is completely up to par. High-quality holiday homes are booming.
Ardennes-Etape is, and remains, with a steady annual growth, market leader in the region. It offers over 1,400 holiday cottages in its selection, from cosy chalets for two, over luxury castles to impressive villas for the whole family in the middle of a beautiful natural setting.
“Our holiday home was perfect and the owner ensured us a warm welcome. On arrival, he offered us beer and local pastries”, says Martijn, a fourty-year-old Dutchman. He chose the Ardennes as honeymoon destination. The choice wasn’t that hard: “It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the country! It has been a true pleasure to traverse the small countryside roads and charming villages.”
“We do more than just offering holiday homes for rent! It’s our everyday goal to be the best ambassador for the Belgian Ardennes’ quality. High-quality service, excellent self-catering holiday cottages, discounts for over 140 activities throughout the region,… All this contributes to the extraordinary image of this holiday destination. The holiday-makers are true fans. And so are we!”
Melissa chose the Ardennes to celebrate her wedding. “Original, unique and affordably priced”, that’s how she describes her experience in the Ardennes. Family and friends met up in this impressive holiday home in the Robertville area, just after the ceremony in Liège. Melissa wanted a cosy celebration: “I wanted family and friends around me. It was important for us to spend time together, to be able to sleep on site and to just enjoy ourselves.” She adds: “The next day, after breakfast, we went for a hike in the High Fens, up to the Signal de Botrange. Everything was perfect!”
Melissa will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. “We always do something special. It’s a moment for us to spend just the two of us, without the kids.”
365 Days a Year
Wedding, Valentine’s, honeymoon, family gatherings, a trip with friends or just enjoying the fresh air. The reasons for holiday-makers to choose the Belgian Ardennes are numerous.
14 February? It’s just a day like any other. Martijn: “I’m no Valentine’s fan, it’s too commercial.” Loving each other, that’s something you do every day!”
Contrary to Saint Valentine, the region of the Belgian Ardennes is there 365 days a year to welcome couples in love, families or friends. One fixed date every year to enjoy each other’s company? That’s just not enough! Who would disagree with this?