Hastière

20 years without coming to one of my favorite region in Belgium.
An eternity, therefore, without visit in the Haute-Meuse and yet, the memories that I have left are quite astonishingly faithful to reality. Very little has changed here. The Meuse, the big bridge, the old church, the abandoned railway line1, the restaurant perched above the road, the stream, everything is there.
For my greatest pleasure.

As often, I preferred to visit this place in winter : at least, I'm sure not to cross many people on the spot. I don't like people, let alone tourists.
The sky is very low, the light is execrable.

Hastière

Welcome to the Haute-Meuse, province of Namur. We are in Famenne, not in the Ardennes.

Hastière

Typical landscape of the valley of the Meuse.

Hastière

The Meuse has dug for centuries a deep valley through the limestone rock.

Hastière

These rocks are the paradise of climbing. Although fatal accidents occur from time to time...

Hastière

Facing the castle of Freÿr.

Hastière

Although seeming calm, this river is a true force of nature...

Hastière

Facade facing the Freÿr Castle. Its present appearance dates from the 17th century.

Hastière

But its origin is much older. It has its roots in the Middle Ages. Its exceptional location makes it a tourist place of great value.

Hastière

Its gardens are a centerpiece. Wedged between the steep slopes of the valley and the Meuse, they are dominated by a pavilion.

Hastière

It is one of the earliest examples of Renaissance Mosane style.

Hastière

Flood marks dating from 1880 and 1925. Located more than two meters high, they testify to the ferocity of the Meuse.

Hastière

The notch made by the railway line 154 Dinant-Givet through the gardens of Freÿr. From the bottom of the gardens, this railway line is totally invisible.

Hastière

View of the whole area and the Freÿr Rocks. Over one hundred meters high, they are 340 million years old.

Hastière

 

Hastière

Another view of the Freÿr Rocks. They were proposed a few years ago to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Hastière

The N96 established on a dyke between the moats of the castle and the Meuse. This road is regularly under water. So be careful...

Hastière

Courtyard of the castle (and incidentally visitor parking).

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The long path of the castle park.

Hastière

Signal on line 154. It will not be used for a long time...

Hastière

The pretty Waulsort station, lost in the middle of the old grand hotels on the edge of Meuse.

Hastière

 

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"Waulsort station. Five minutes stop."

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Hastière

If the metal structure is in poor condition, the wood floors look new. Simple security measure or index suggesting that the railway line could reopen one day ?

Hastière

After a few kilometers, here we are in Hastière. Hastière-par-Delà on the right bank, Hastière-Lavaux on the left. The jewel of the village : the abbey church Notre-Dame.

Hastière

Somewhat unwelcome in this beautiful setting, the bridge of Hastière similar as an interchange of a highway.

Hastière

Hastière station, frozen in time for more than 20 years. Everything is still in place for the arrival of a hypothetical train.

Hastière

The view of the passengers disembarking here.

Hastière

In the center of Hastière-Lavaux flows a seemingly nameless stream. It goes down the rugged terrain along the Anthée road.

Hastière

The Saint-Nicolas church in the middle of the village (dating from the 18th-19th centuries).

Hastière

 

Hastière

The crossroads are perched above the road and the Dinant-Givet railway line.

Hastière

The tower of Notre-Dame church. From the time of the abbey, it was dedicated to Saint-Pierre.

Hastière

 

Hastière

Other flood marks. The last date of 1995.

Hastière

The church from the old abbey, founded in the 10th century by Wigéric de Bidgau.

Hastière

The succession of volumes is harmonious : Gothic choir of 1260, nave of 1033 and tower rebuilt in the 19th century.

Hastière

 

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In the center of Hastière-Lavaux, where restaurants abound.

Hastière

I don't like photographing cemeteries but this one, I found it particularly aesthetic.

Hastière

 

Hastière

A stream, dotted with small falls, making it very noisy.

Hastière

The houses look very small next to the cliffs. Under these cliffs, there are many caves, including the famous caves of Pont d'Arcole.

Hastière

 

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Heer-Agimont. Last crossing point between the banks of the Meuse before France.

Hastière

 

Hastière

 

Hastière

 

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How tempting...

Hastière

A valley in the winter mist.

Hastière

 

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Part of Heer-Agimont station. Its size for such a small village is explained by its status as a border station. Currently being redeveloped (housing, school ?).

Hastière

Only possible view on the quayside. Although abandoned, there are still many vestiges railway.

Hastière

The Hermeton river, who gave his name to the village he waters.

Hastière

In the center of Hermeton-sur-Meuse. In 1914, this village was martyred by the German Imperial Army.

Hastière

Original indication of the direction of Namur on the bridge of Hermeton...

Hastière

... as well as the distance remaining. The other parapet indicates the direction of Givet.

Hastière

 

Hastière

The viaduct of the Athus-Meuse line at Anseremme. Just after the viaduct, there is the confluence of the Meuse and Lesse.

Hastière

North Head of Waulort Tunnel. The other end of the tunnel is visible on the first picture. Although this may seem obvious, NEVER wander on a railway line, even if it seems unused.

Hastière

If I allow myself this incursion into the tunnel, it is because I made sure that this line no longer represented a danger. Although still present in the NMBS/SNCB inventory, it has been deactivated and no more trains have been in circulation since 2000.

Hastière

Even if this line has a real interest (both in terms of tourism and mobility), NMBS/SNCB and the Walloon region don't want the reopening of this line.

Hastière

 

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Bye bye Hastière !

7

February 2010

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Note

  1. 1. Railway line 154 Dinant-Givet.
    Closed south of Dinant to passenger traffic in 1984 and freight traffic in 1989, the line still exists but is no longer exploitable.
    The French government and the SNCF want to participate in the rehabilitation of this line, but in Wallonia, it's estimated that it's better to promote other things.

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