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Bastogne

70km (44 miles) S of Li├Ęge

This southern Ardennes town (pop. 15,000) owes its usefulness as a touring base today to the same assets that made it a strategic target in the past -- the roads that converge on it from all points of the compass. During the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 to 1945, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, outnumbered and surrounded, held the town and its vital road network until a relief force could break through to them. It was a hard fight for the 101st troopers -- the "Battered Bastards of Bastogne," they dubbed themselves. Their commander, Brig. Gen. Anthony MacAuliffe, answered German demands for surrender with a single word that became legend: "Nuts!" During the annual December memorial days, you'll see the division's Screaming Eagle emblem around town.

Han-sur-Lesse

40km (25 miles) NW of Bastogne; 25km (16 miles) SE of Dinant

This village sited on a scenic stretch of the Lesse River is a particularly good stop for those traveling with children, though the two places described below should be interesting for adults as well.