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So close to Paris, with one foot in Champagne and the other in Picardy, is the Aisne department.
Welcome to the country of maroilles and the "Dames Rouges"!
Come and enjoy the lovely hedge-trimmed pastureland of “Little Normandy”, dotted with charming villages over which tower imposing fortified churches, masterpieces of local architecture. And for the taste buds, there is always Maroilles, a delicious AOC cheese with an orange rind.
If you love nature then you will certainly like the Thiérache with its idyllic pastoral scenery – one of the greenest areas in Aisne. It is affectionately known as “Little Normandy”, not surprising when you see the gentle hills and leafy, hedge-trimmed meadows of this truly lovely countryside.
On the little roads that wind though leafy valleys and cross the many streams and rivulets, you may come around a bend and see before you the imposing outline of one the Dames Rouges, these fortified churches standing tall above their surrounding villages.
The local villages are particularly attractive, with houses built of brick or cob with slate roofs. Why not stop in one and sample some of the excellent Maroilles cheese produced in the area?
This AOC cheese with its brick red rind goes very well with some of the locally produced cider.
If you feel you need exercise after such a delicious interlude, you can always go for a hike down the ‘Axe Vert’ (Green Road), an old railway line nicely converted into a walking and riding track.