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.
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.
Muslim part of the grave yard
10 soldiers in one grave
At last 130.000 soldiers are buried under the building
All of them unidentified combatants of both nations
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
Why could they not ask for German translation?? Forbidden lawn?? And even spelled wrong
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
Memorial for Rayand's last pigeon
Hospital in Fort Vaux
One of the Canons
Enough of the war for today!
Coffee break before we hit the city
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.
The main entrance in the front
A fire destroyed the towers in 1481
Inside the Cathedral. The 3 windows all the way in the end are designed by Marc Chagall
This is pretty amazing
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 Roya
What a nice house
500 years Jeanne D'Arc
The town hall in Reims
Hôtel de Ville, Reims
Detail of the town hall
A horse looks out of a wall
A living wall
Road in Auberiv
French national cemetery Le Bois du Puits
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
Book with the names – in case you want to find your great-grandfather
Now it looks quiet and peaceful
The dramatic sky with the clouds made the visit even more intense
Flat land and a wide sky
We drive to the next place
La Crouée War Cemetery is the name of the French side – more than 30.000 graves
Souain German War Cemetery is the name of the German side. Under this “Unknown soldiers” memorial are 11320 fallen German soldiers buried
Another 1900 graves on the German side of the grave yard
The Jewish got different stones
The old stone with outdated information
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