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A tongue of land jutting south into France, the Botte de Hainaut (Boot of Hainaut) is a natural extension of the Ardennes range further east, if a little flatter and less wooded. It’s mostly visited for its gentle scenery and country towns, among which Walcourt and Chimay are the most appealing – the former graced by a handsome basilica, the latter by a charming château and perhaps the prettiest main square in the whole of Wallonia. The Boot’s one and only train line runs south from Charleroi to Walcourt, Philippeville and ultimately to Couvin; local buses fill in most of the gap, with a good service between Charleroi, Couvin and Chimay, but to tour beyond the towns you’ll need a car. The other complication is that apart from campsites, accommodation is extremely thin on the ground. Chimay is your best bet, but consider making advance reservations in all cases, either direct or via the main regional websites: whttp://www.botteduhainaut.com and the more comprehensive whttp://www.paysdesvallees.be.

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