In the neighbourhood
Like four neighbouring villages, Saint Algis has signposted a short walking trail over local foothpaths, that passes our house. We can give you the brochure with the routes.
The villages themselves are also on walking distance from each other by the 'axe vert', an old railway track turned into a walking and biking trail, a stone throw away from l'Ermite
The axe vert is an easy level walk through the valley. It passes meadows, forests and slopes with ramsons, old trees with mistletoe, wild roses and bushes of hawthorn and sloes. Sometimes it crosses a village and sometimes you spot a curve of the little river l'Oise. There are two bars not far from here, where you can get a refreshment. In the region there are also several circular walks and there are a few forests to explore.
From l'Ermite it's a short walk to 2 locations where you can rent a canoe for a trip of 1,5 or 2,5 hours on the l'Oise or the Ton.
It's nice to discover the region 'la Thiérache' on the bike. The axe vert in the valley is part of the EuroVelo3, de scandibérique. You can rent a bike at several places nearby or bring your own.
The Thiérache is known for its fortified churches. Because of the multiple wars fought in this region inhabitants started to fortify their churches from the 14th till the 17th century. There are some beautiful examples, one of which is in Saint Algis.
Follow the 'route de Vallée de l'Oise' and in 20 minutes you'll arrive in Guise. Our guests are impressed by the Familistère of Godin, the founder of the factory in cast iron cookers and stoves. You can easily spend a few hours there and for example watch the English film in the little theatre. Each year there are spectacles on the first of May, with lots of music, theatre and expositions.
Saint-Quentin is 40 minutes by car. The town has a vivid market Wednesday- and Saturday mornings, a nice basilic and a lot of beautiful art-deco buildings.
At the bureau of tourism you can hire a English auditive tour. The town houses the musea of the French motobécane, of ancient crafts, of butterflies and one of fine arts. The last mentioned shows a collection of pastels of Antoine Lécuyer.
Halfway Saint-Quentin and Guise, a bit towards the north, lies the factory of Le Creuset at Fresnoy Le Grand, with its famous cast iron pots and pans. It houses an outlet-store where you can always find a bargain. Once a year in the last weekend of November, three days long, there's the grand sale. At the same time Le Bourget has its sale of ladies stockings, 50m further on the same road.
A bit more to the north you'll find the house of birth of the painter Matisse in Bohain-en-Vermandois. And in Le Cateau-Cambrésis there's a museum with some of his paintings, selected by himself.
Fifteen minutes by car lies the little town Vervins, where there's a small market every Saturday morning and a market with local products every first Friday of the month, from 16h till 21h.
The tourist office of the Thiérache is situated outside the town centre, on the Avenue de Préau. In the centre is situated the museum about the Thiérache. You can there find some very nice information in French about the landscape, washing places, water mills, pigeon lofts, et cetera.
A bit further south lies Marle, where there's an open air museum where you can experience how life was in the 5th till 8th century. Each summer there's one weekend in which they play history from this time till one century ago.
Laon's cathedral, about a 45 minute ride from l'Ermite, lies on the edge of the beautiful old city centre uphill, with a fantastic 180° view.
Closer to the east you'll find a secial little church in Jeantes, with wall paintings by Charles Eyck, a Dutch painter. Take a two-euro piece with you, so you can enlighten the interior of the church.
And at Etreaupont, not 10 minutes from l'Ermite and also accessible via the axe vert, every third Saturday there's a farmers market, les fanes de carottes.
At Sars Poteries you'll find a wonderful glas museum, with spectacular pieces and a permanent exhibition of pieces of art the former glass blowers made from scraps.
Nice to combine with a visit to Chimay, for the castle in city centre or the abbey of the monks who brew the beers and make the cheeses. Nearby Chimay you can find the source of the l'Oise, the small river that flows through the valley here, or make a visit to the bunker where a famous German dictator prepared the invasion of France.
We have lots of brochures, leaflets and small books about this beautiful region, so it's too much to mention here.
And you can also just take a long rest in the garden.