A long Weekend in France – Part 2

Todays plan – a circle from Douaumont to Reims and Auberive after that over Souain-Perthes-lès-Hurlus to Sainte-Menehould. Visit a few more cemeteries and see some French country side.

Douaumont Ossuary

Douaumont Ossuary

A memorial build within the Verdun battlefields. It contains more than 130.000 fallen soldiers of the French and German side. In front of the memorial is a big graveyard with more fallen soldiers. The battle of Verdun was the longest in human history and lasted 303 days. In 2000 it was estimated that the battle took 714,231 soldiers. Recent estimates go up to 976.000 casualties during the battle with 1.250.000 suffered at Verdun in the first world war.
When you drive to the monument you pass trenches and smaller memorials. A whole village that was destroyed and not rebuild after the war. You drive through peaceful forest that was planted here in 1930 – still 100.000 missing soldiers under that forest. And every time they find the remains of one they bring them into the Douaumont Ossuary.

The largest single French military cemetery of the First World War with 16,142 graves.
The largest single French military cemetery of the First World War with 16,142 graves.

Muslim part of the grave yard
Muslim part of the grave yard

10 soldiers in one grave
10 soldiers in one grave

Grave

Douaumont Ossuary

At last 130.000 soldiers are buried under the building
At last 130.000 soldiers are buried under the building

All of them unidentified combatants of both nations
All of them unidentified combatants of both nations

Mitterrand and Kohl lay down wreaths 1984 in memory of the fallen soldiers
September 22nd 1984 the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (whose father had fought near Verdun) and French President François Mitterrand (who had been taken prisoner nearby in World War II), lay down wreathsin memory of the fallen soldiers. They where holding hands for several minutes in driving rain as a gesture of Franco-German reconciliation. And there are some mad monkeys that think Europe is a bad idea! This is the longest time we had no war with the French. In fact no war at all in the European Union since WW II.

Memorial for the Jewish soldiers
Memorial for the Jewish soldiers

Why could they not ask for German translation?? Forbidden lawn?? And even spelled wrong
Why could they not ask for German translation?? Forbidden lawn?? And even spelled wrong

La Pompelle Marker
This stones mark the furthes points the Germans reached during the 1918 offensives. This one in La Pompelle was paid for by the Mexican Association of War Veterans. 200 Mexicans fought in this sector!

Fort de Vaux

This was the second fort that fell into German hands after Fort Douaumont.

Flags over Fort Vaux
Flags over Fort Vaux

Memorial for Rayand's last pigeon
Memorial for Rayand's last pigeon

Hospital in Fort Vaux
Hospital in Fort Vaux

Canon in Fort Vaux
One of the Canons

Enough of the war for today!

Reims

Breakfast in France
Coffee break before we hit the city

Cathedral Notre Dame in Reims
Cathedral Notre Dame in Reims. The first church was build here in 401. In 816 the first King of France was crowned here. After that it was remodel, it burned down and rebuild a few times.

Cathedral Notre Dame
The main entrance in the front

Cathedral Notre Dame
A fire destroyed the towers in 1481

Cathedral Notre Dame
Inside the Cathedral. The 3 windows all the way in the end are designed by Marc Chagall

Cathedral Notre Dame
This is pretty amazing

Cathedral Notre Dame

Cathedral Notre Dame

Public library
Public library – one of the many Art Deco buildings in Reims. After the First World War 80 percent of the city was destroyed. So a lot of buildings where build in the 1020s. I have to go again next year and have a look!

Louis XV in front of the Place Royal
Louis XV in front of the Place Roya

What a nice house
What a nice house

500 years Jeanne D'Arc
500 years Jeanne D'Arc

Reims

The town hall in Reims
The town hall in Reims

Hôtel de Ville, Reims
Hôtel de Ville, Reims

Detail of the town hall
Detail of the town hall

A horse looks out of a wall
A horse looks out of a wall

Sube Fountain
Sube Fountain

A living wall
A living wall

Auberive

Road in Auberive
Road in Auberiv

French cemetry in the front - German one in the back
French national cemetery Le Bois du Puits

They put them 6 feet under head to head
They put them 6 feet under head to head – which is quite unusual

5359 German soldiers - 3124 that could not be identified were laid in an ossuary at the end of the grave yard
5359 German soldiers – 3124 that could not be identified were laid in an ossuary at the end of the grave yard

Book with the names - in case you want to find your great-grandfather
Book with the names – in case you want to find your great-grandfather

Name book

Now it looks quiet and peaceful
Now it looks quiet and peaceful

The clouds made the whole visit even more intense
The dramatic sky with the clouds made the visit even more intense

Flat land and a wide sky
Flat land and a wide sky

We drive to the next place
We drive to the next place

Souain-Perthes-les Hurlus

Souain War Cemetery - French side - more than 30.000 graves
La Crouée War Cemetery is the name of the French side – more than 30.000 graves

Under this stone are 11320 fallen German soldiers
Souain German War Cemetery is the name of the German side. Under this “Unknown soldiers” memorial are 11320 fallen German soldiers buried

Names and rang

Another 1900 graves on the German side of the grave yard
Another 1900 graves on the German side of the grave yard

The Jewish got different stones
The Jewish got different stones

The old stone with outdated information
The old stone with outdated information

 
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