Ardennes (French pronunciation: [aʁ.dɛn]) is a department in the northeast part of France named after the Ardennes area.
The department is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was named after the Ardennes hills, which are located in northeast France, southern Belgium and Luxembourg. It includes portions of the former provinces of Champagne and Argonne (Celtic: "Ar Gonn", meaning "deep forest")citation needed, and the principality of Sedan.
Origins: The name of "Ardennes" ("Ar Denn", from Celtic : "the forest") was first mentioned by Julius Caesar in his book "The Commentaries on the Gaulic War", which describes a Celtic goddess who was named "Arduinna".
The area had been the location of much fighting in World War I and World War II, such as the Battle of the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge.
The department is surrounded by the French departments of Aisne to the west, Marne to the south, Meuse to the east and by the Belgian province of Namur to the north.
Situated in the Ardennes uplands on the border with Belgium, the department of Ardennes includes many areas of very dense woodland.
The principal river is the Meuse River.
The President of the General Council is Benoît Huré of the Union for a Popular Movement.
- Robert de Sorbon (1201–1274), who created in Paris la Sorbonne, the famous French university, was born in the village of Sorbon, near Rethel
- Guillaume de Machaut (1284–1370), poet/composer and author of Le Voir Dit, was born in Machault;
- Turenne (1611–1675), maréchal de France, was born in Sedan;
- Jean-Nicolas Corvisart (1755–1821), famous doctor and scientist, was born in Dricourt, near Vouziers;
- Hippolyte Taine (1828–1893), philosopher and historian, member of the Académie française, was born in Vouziers;
- Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891), one of the most famous poets from France, was born in Charleville.
The population of Ardennes has been in steady decrease since 1982 due to exodus to the cities. With 290,000 people (a density of 55/km²), it is one of France's least-populated regions.