Battered in the past

Houffalize Travel Blog

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A bike on a bridge

The municipality of Houffalize approx. 4,800 is located in the massif of Ardennes, close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The municipality of Houffalize has since 1976 consisted of the former municipalities of Houffalize, Mabompré, Mont, Nadrin, Tailles, Tavigny and Wibrin. The village of Houffalize is watered by the Eastern Ourthe (Ourthe Orientale), which merges with the Western Ourthe (Ourthe Occidentale) to form the Ourthe a few kilometers upstream from Nadrin.

Houffalize is well-known for its road bridge that allows highway E 25 (Utrecht-Genoa) to cross the Eastern Ourthe between Liège and Bastogne. The total length of the bridge is 369.6 m, its span is 162 m and its height is 60 m, making of it one of the biggest bridges of that kind in the world. The bridge was built from 6 May 1974 to 14 June 1979; it is indeed made of two twin bridges of 16 m in width, each divided into 14 isostatic spans of 26.4 m in length.

During the Dutch rule, the village of Bernistap near Tavigny was the place of the huge building of a canal expected to link the rivers Meuse and Moselle.

Overviewing the river
After the independence of Belgium in 1830, the Dutch withdrew with their funds and the project was abandoned. The development of road and railway transport made the canal obsolete.

 

A Gallo-Roman villa was found in Nadrin in 1975. It is of the so-called facade-gallery type, characteristic of the region.

The chapel Notre-Dame-de-la-Forêt is a pilgrimage place located on the old path from Houffalize to Sommerain. Jean Thieskin's testament, dated 25 March 1656 and bequeathing 50 guilders for the building of a chapel, is the oldest mention of the sanctuary. The today's chapel was built around 1750 in Mosan style (with a curved slated roof and bulbs) by Friar Fule Buchoux, from the St. Catherine priory of Houffalize. The only remain of this priory is today the parish church of Houffalize. Its building started 1243, when the priory was transferred to the north of the village, and was completed in the early XIVth century. The St. Marguerite chapel of Ollomont, restored in 1961, is the last remain of a Romanesque church built in the XIIth century.

The German Panzer exhibited in Houffalize belonged to the 116th Panzer Division; the exact causes of its destruction are unknown; it was retrieved from river Ourthe on 20 September 1948.

City centre
The village was totally destroyed in January 1945 during the Von Rundstedt counter-attack known as the Battle of the Bulge. General George Patton (1885-1945) wrote a poem recalling the destruction of Houffalize (published by A. Dubru in L'offensive von Rundstedt à Houffalize).

O little town of Houffalize,

How still we see thee lie;

Above they steep and battered streets

The aeroplanes sail by.

Yet in thy dark streets shined

Not any goddamned light;

The hopes and fears of all thy years

Were blown to hell last night.

Relaxing on the town square

 

During World War II, Generals Montgomery and Patton met up in this town, Montgomery from the north and Patton from the south, in a counter-attack against the German forces remaining in the area.

The village of Achouffe, known for the Brasserie d'Achouffe brewery, is located in the municipality, and this is the brewery that produced the Cuvee du Tcheste I tried at La Ferme des Sanglochons.

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A bike on a bridge
A bike on a bridge
Overviewing the river
Overviewing the river
City centre
City centre
Relaxing on the town square
Relaxing on the town square
Overviewing the river
Overviewing the river
Step and narrow
Step and narrow
The city of Houffalize
The city of Houffalize
City church
City church
Houffalize
photo by: cvanzoen