For anyone with a campervan, motorhome or a caravan there are two good reasons for visiting Sedan in northern France. Firstly for around €9 a night you can stay at the Camping Municipal de la Prairie. This municipal site is easy to find and is pleasantly placed by the river Meuse, with moorings for boats alongside the site and an open aspect that helps it feel more rural than urban. We were greeted warmly by the member of staff who gave us a map of the town and told us enthusiastically about the castle and told us we could pitch where we liked on the grassy site. The ground is a little uneven but nothing the levelling blocks couldn’t deal with. The sanitary facilities were not the most up-to-date but were clean and the showers were good and hot and we don’t need much more than that and you can’t expect much more for the price.
Sedan is handily placed for us to reach our ferry at Zeebrugge but we arrived with enough time to visit the second reason to visit Sedan. It has what is claimed to be the largest medieval fortified castle in Europe.
It is about a 15 minutes’ walk to the castle from the campsite and it is as magnificent and immense as you could hope, with an impressive curtain wall around the castle and courtyard and lovely views over the town from the corner bastions and the ramparts. We explored the dark corners, alleys and stairwells that were designed to confuse the enemy and from the information boards learnt how the castle had grown over time. I was particularly fascinated by the view into the interior of a round tower that had been enlarged over the years and seeing the interactive scale model of the castle in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian First Battle of Sedan. The Second Battle of Sedan was in May 1940 during the German invasion of France.
After exploring the castle, we strolled around the town that has a history of cloth-making; some think that upholstery from Sedan gave the Sedan chair its name. We found narrow streets and charming shops, lovely botanical gardens and bridges over the river Meuse. Sedan also has an open and covered market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.