Verdun Battle Ground

Old Jan 11th, 2012, 10:38 AM
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Verdun Battle Ground

Is the WWI battleground of Verdun worth a visit on a trip to France?
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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I'd say so... especially if you have any interest in World War I.

And if you don't have any interest... you will see, learn and feel things you had never before considered.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 11:30 AM
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If WW1 is of interest to you, Verdun has the best sites to be visited to see places where the French fought the Germans. Dramatic battlefields still pockmarked with craters almost 100 years later. Remarkable monuments and French and German military cemeteries.

Of course, this is often less meaningful to visitors from the US, UK, Canada or Australia, who have major cemeteries and battlefields farther north in Picardy or along the Belgian border.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Thanks.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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I visited Verdun in 1969, and still cannot think of it without becoming emotional.
Quick and dirty history: in 1916 Germany made an attempt to end WWI with a studied attempt to bleed France dry at Verdun. Instead, both bled. The battle went from February to December, with well over 300,000 dead, and around 1,000,000 casualties overall.
It is beautiful in it's way, and peaceful, but it is an awful place.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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All the WWI ites are worth a visit. I find them much more moving than the WWII sites in Normandy. They are dedicated to the individual soldier heros not to the power of a nation.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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The more research/reading you can do ahead will help make the experience more meaningful.

Also, if you have a car to get out and see the pocked-marked countryside, definitely helps hit home the living hell of the troops and inhabitants, especially if you happen to visit on a rainy day.

We slogged up a mud-bath of a foot path that led to a battle site, almost ending up at the bottom again before we reached the top several times. Breath vapor heaved into the cold air with our effort...it wasn't too hard to imagine adding "being shot at" and barbed-wire all over the place put yourself back into that horrible time.

p.s.- if you've ever read the trip report here...something about 'feared treading on dead men's brains' in the title...anyway, having read the details with the imagery of brain matter thus described, it left such an image in my mind that I had to throw out my mud-covered shoes when I got home; I couldn't stand the thought of wearing them again...just too gross and powerful.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 01:19 PM
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It's very moving, and yes, worth it.

Here are some coordinates I've posted in the past, since some sites are a bit difficult to locate:

We visited several war sites this summer while in France and Belgium, several were difficult to locate. I noted the GPS coordinates while there which may be of help to others.

Pool of Peace Krater Messine Ridge N50 46.528 E2 51.748
Isle of Ireland Peace Park N50 45.592 E2 53.743
Tyne Cot Cemetery N50 53.264 E3 0.067
Langemark German Cemetery N50 55.311 E2 55.001
Vimy Memorial N50 22.783 E246.176
Dunkerque Memorial N51 2.924 E2 22.933
La Grande Mine - Somme Lochnagar Crater N50 0.973 E2 41.821
Thiepval British Memorial N50 3.158 E2 41.308

The city of Lille is wonderful also!

Have a great trip.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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I believe this is the vivid trip report on Verdun mentioned above:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ern-france.cfm
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