In 1874, King Leopold II built the Royal Castle of Ardenne in Houyet in the magnificent park of the Domaine d’Ardenne. It was the most beautiful castle in Belgium. King Leopold II turned it into a luxury hotel to attract the crowned heads and the biggest fortunes of the whole world to Houyet. He wanted Belgium, Houyet in particular, to be the tourist center of Europe. Successful bet !
This great European palace lived a fabulous time between 1899 and 1949, first under the leadership of the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits until 1911, then under the leadership of the Marquet family from 1922 to 1949.
Destroyed by the 2 world wars, the Royal Castle of Ardenne closed its doors definitively in 1950. It was abandoned and perished in flames in 1968 before being demolished and razed in 1970.