On 3 November, the Feast of St-Hubert is celebrated with a craft market, falconry demonstrations and mass at the Basilica, followed by a blessing of the animals. The St-Hubert Basilica, which dates back to the ninth century, is worth a visit in its own right: long a place of pilgrimage, it has an impressive Baroque façade and Gothic interior. The Musée Pierre-Joseph Redouté (11 Rue Redouté) pays homage to its namesake artist, who was born locally. Best known for his botanical watercolours, Redouté was a favourite of the court of Marie- Antoinette. About 2km from the centre of St-Hubert, the Parc à Gibier (125 Rue St-Michel 125) offers visitors the chance to observe deer and wild boar in their natural habitat.
The recently opened “Nuts Cave” in the Belgian Military Museum commemorates the moment US General McAuliffe answered “Nuts!” to the German demand for surrender in World War II. There are more nuts on 15 December, when the Walnut Fair commemorates the liberation of Bastogne with the throwing of walnuts from the Town Hall’s balcony.
The main attraction is the medieval ruin of the ninth-century Château Féodal de la Roche, on the hillside above the town. Meanwhile, you can learn about the fierce fighting in 1944-45 in the Battle of the Bulge at the Battle of the Ardennes Museum, renovated earlier this year. The town also pays homage to its allies with two tanks turned into public monuments, an American Sherman and a British Achilles.
Attached to L’Auberge du Sabotier hotel, Les 7 Fontaines d’Awenne is set in an ivy-covered 17th-century coaching inn. Chef Luc Dewalque brings a refined touch to local game and produce, served in the beamed dining room.
Partly set in a converted train carriage, Wagon Léo is a bustling brasserie, with a menu of classic Belgian dishes and excellent seafood.
The tourist office sells Le Semeur, an artisanal beer created by the St-Hubert guild.
There are hundreds of well-marked hiking trails in this area; the tourist office at 15 Place du Marché sells a variety of maps.
(rooms from €72) Is a cosy three-star hotel, whose restaurant specialises in game and sturdy Belgian fare. About 25km north of St-Hubert, Hôtel le Beau Séjour (30 Rue de Masbourg, Nassogne, (0)8 421 0696, lebeausejour. be, rooms from €65) has an appealing restaurant and an indoor swimming pool and sauna.
Just south of Bastogne, Le Château de Strainchamps (rooms from €85) is set in a quiet hamlet in the middle of a nature reserve. The restaurant, renovated earlier this year, offers inventive Ardennes cuisine by chef Frans Vandeputte.
(rooms from €80) is a typical Ardennes farmhouse, with well-kept gardens and a restaurant heavy on game dishes.