Ardennes, a N. E. department of France, bounded N". by Belgium; area, 2,021 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 320,217. The forest of the Ardennes, an elevated wooded tract, from which it is named, begins in its N. part, thence spreading in various branches, but chiefly along the Meuse and Sambre, over the Belgian provinces of Namur, Hainault, and Liege, and over Luxemburg. The department is also traversed, mainly in the east and centre, by ridges and offshoots of the Argonnes. The principal rivers are the Meuse and the Aisne. The valley of the latter is remarkable for its large crops, and there are other very fertile valleys. Among the sheep are several long-wooled and merino breeds; the horses are fine, and game abounds. There are iron, lead, calamine, and coal mines, and important slate and marble quarries. Nails and other iron wares, earthenware, glass, leather, woollens, firearms, and other articles are manufactured. Timber is the fuel used in the iron and copper works, besides being exported. The capital is Mezieres. Sedan is the chief place for the manufacture of cloth, and Charle-ville for the iron trade.
The department is divided into the arrondissements of Mezieres, Rocroy, Rethel, Vouziers, and Sedan.