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Ardennes, Belgium

The Ardennes is an amorphous region of southeastern Belgium, Luxembourg and France. The name — which comes from the Gaulish word arduenna, goddess of hunting — denotes a forest and weathered massifs lined by rocky cliffs. I doubt many Americans could pinpoint it on a map. The confusion is understandable because the Ardennes is in the geographically confusing, culturally blended heart of the Continent. The region, contested in the 1944 Battle of the Bulge, was a German portal to the west in both World Wars. Its language and wines are French; its taste for robust meat and potatoes German; its modest, gray stone villages with bulb-shaped church steeples quintessentially Belgian. -- Susan Spano Read more: Belgium's gentle fall Pictured: The Semois River. Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
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