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WW II places of interest in France other than Normandy

WW II places of interest in France other than Normandy

Old Aug 5th, 2001, 11:28 AM
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WW II places of interest in France other than Normandy

We are traveling to France this fall for two weeks. We will be flying into Nice, (staying in Provence) then touring the Burgundy region and ending in Paris. This is our 4th trip to France but the first time to Provence and Burgundy.

My husband is fascinated with WWII history and we have traveled to the Normandy area on a previous trip where we saw the beaches, museum, cemetary, etc. I would love to do something nice for him since he's usually so patient with me while I shop. My question to you all is, are there any WWII sites or places of interest in the areas we're visiting this fall? I have searched this website for information on WWII places of interest other than Normandy but I haven't had much luck. It's probably because I don't really know what I'm looking for. I'm hoping some of you seasoned travelers are war buffs and can guide me in the right direction.

Thanks to all who respond.......
Old Aug 5th, 2001, 12:54 PM
Beth Anderson
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ooooh, interesting topic. something I wish to do one day. gosh, if I had time and were talented & knowledgeable I would even write a book about touring WWII battlefields...

anyway, here is a little bit of stuff I found so far, including an old post...


Author: Maira ([email protected]) Date: 2/21/2000, 7:14 am ET Message: Mr. Magnusson--- from the American standpoint, a visit to the memorials at the D-Day beaches in Normandy, including the Allied Cemetery, is a very moving experience. Along the route that borders the coast, you get to see, not only the memorials, but excellent museums, Sherman tanks on display by the side of the road and other pieces of artillery left over (somber reminders...). As you walk around the beaches and fields nearby, you can still see fragments of steel (cannons, etc.) imbedded in the ground. Another interesting site in France is the Maginot Line. You can't help thinking about the evolution from the castle to this structure. You can find more info at http://www.lhorizon.com/english/default.htm. In London, a visit to the the War Cabinets is definitely worth it. In Germany, sadly, all we had the chance to see were concentration camps and Hitler's Eagle Nest in Berchesgaten (sp?). In Italy, the site of the battle of Monte Cassino has a small but very informative museum. I haven't been to Belgium, so I can't attest for any site there. The above sites, I definitely recommend. All U.S. services (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) have special memorials, not only in Europe, but in the Pacific. I also recommend Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Definitely worth a visit.





that said, I would suggest browsing in a bookstore through some WWII history books, write down some names of towns involved and do some research that way. Perhaps even write the town hall, etc.

also, on the Riviera - Operation Dragoon was the Allied Invasion of the South of France...

I would be interested to learn what others have to say...


Old Aug 5th, 2001, 05:46 PM
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www.battlefieldvacations.com looks like an interesting website if I were a war buff. I did tell my husband about it and his face lit up! Half of it was him making fun of himself but I think he really would enjoy going on a trip like that. I'll certainly file that website away for future use. Most of the war sites for franced France seemed to point toward the north of France, Belgium, etc.

This would certainly be a lot easier for me if I had some frame of reference. I guess what I really want is for you guys to get me off the hook. It's truly all greek to me because I'm just not into war related stuff I guess. I'm happy to go with him because it's something he'd like but I would truly welcome anyones recommendation regarding places to visit (if they exist) because I'm at a loss here!

Old Aug 5th, 2001, 06:25 PM
Beth Anderson
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OK, more info I have managed to dig up.

First, so that you may do the research yourself before your trip (and make your husband even happier): buy this book:

The Harper Collins Atlas of the Second World War. I have a fair number of books on WWII, and pulled this down from my shelves. It is pretty comprehensive (and big) but it wasn't very expensive. It's basically a whole bunch of maps of the various battles of WWII, all OVER the world, with a lot of explanatory text too. It was edited by John Keegan so you know it's good (print this post out for your husband).

One possibility - the Vercors area. I can't give you specific town names, I am just skimming right now - but do some research on that. also check out


which is about this area.

also check out


which is the American Battle Monuments Commission. Before I went to Normandy I called them and they sent me a very nice booklet. There may very well be some cemeteries/memorials in your path. They are in Arlington Virginia, and the website is very helpful - pictures and everything.

tank museums: (not sure if these are where you will be)

The Tank CollectionE.R.G.M.E.B.; Glen, France
The Saumer Armour Museum; Anjou, France
The Hackenberg War Museum; Veckring, France

It appears that Carpentras and Sisteron may have seen some action too.

Lyons, and of course Vichy, would also be good bets to visit.

I would highly suggest writing to some of these towns to get more info. Or contact the French Govt Tourist Office...
Old Aug 6th, 2001, 08:19 PM
John H
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One place to visit: Oradour-Sur-Glane, between the Loire Valley and Limoges. It was the site of a German massacre of essentially an entire French village that has been left as it was at the time. A very moving visit.

For more information:


John h
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 10:48 AM
Beth Anderson
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More information, I hope you are still reading this!

I am reading a WONDERFUL book called Collected Traveler. She has EXHAUSTIVELY researched various aspects of Provence for this book.

She mentions several books:

WWII in the Mediterranean by Carlo d'Este. A thorough account of the invasion of the French Riviera. This is on my list now...

She also gives a nod to a Michelin map which was reprinted recently:

map #103, Bataille de Provence: Aout 1944 - this should be available at bigger travel stores or online?

amazon gives more info - check out the author Martin Blumenson too.

She also mentions William Shirer who also wrote a book on the Fall of France. If you go to Amazon and look this book up, it gives you LOTS ofbook options (similar reading list, etc.)

Finally, and last but NOT AT ALL least - if you buy her book (I don't know her, no personal plug at all) check out the reprinted article "Wine Talk" within. Frank J. Prial wrote it - it describes how the French zealously protected their vineyards during the war years. It gives a good description of the various wine areas which the French dsoldiers "protected" - they even directed the Americans to 'protect' the 'inferior' vineyards! a very good and funny story - also may be a great research article - go to these vineyards and see if there are any old timers about to talk to about the War (assuming you speak French that is...)

I think I will be taking my own advice...

long and short, if you take a little time to do some research prior to your trip, you will find a TON of stuff to keep your husband happy and occupied. (no pun intended, OUCH!!)
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 11:38 AM
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Read "Is Paris Burning?" Full of descriptions of the fighting in Paris during late August 1944. You can still see some of the bullet holes.
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 03:39 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their help. I just modified our itinerary to include Oradour. I'll post about our experience when we return.

Again, many thanks..
Old Aug 17th, 2001, 03:42 PM
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Have been to Normandy a few times, but really must recommend Bastogne and Diekirch.
Old Aug 17th, 2001, 05:17 PM
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I found the museum at Reims very interesting and complimentary of American troups and General Eisenhower. I believe everything was in both French and English and that the film was in English. I also like the WWII museum at the top of the Montparnasse Station. It has an interesting slide/film show. Everything is in French, and I don't think the Americans are mentioned.
Old Jun 1st, 2002, 06:08 AM
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does anyone have any pictures/mmeories to share of this area?

we are going there this summer...
Old Jun 1st, 2002, 09:12 PM
Jinx Hoover
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My uncle was in the 36th Division which landed near St. Raphael in the south of France on August 15, 1944. They and other units drove the Germans up the Rhone River valley. At a place named Montelimar, they trapped the German armies much like they were cornered in the Falaise pocket in Normandy. What a slaughter! My uncle saw over 10 miles of death--Men, horses, all sorts of vehicles and weapons (including several of the huge railway guns--Anzio Annies), utterly destroyed. The Allies pushed the Germans to the Alsace-Lorraine in just 30 days, over 350 miles. Then things got sticky. It took over 4 months to push the Germans across the Rhine and into Germany. One of the worst winters in history made going very tough. Yes, a lot of WWII took place in this part of France. By the way, Audie Murphy won his Medal of Honor in a battle just north of Colmar. Jinx Hoover
Old Jun 5th, 2002, 08:27 PM
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In two weeks,my husband and I are taking our fifteen yr old son to see the sites in northern France, the Lorraine region specifically where my father commanded a company in the taking of the Dornot bridgehead nr. Metz. This was the second wave of US troops into France but a very important campaign that took back Fountainbleau, then to Reims, Verdun (site of horrible WWI battles) and then Metz, to Belgium and then into Germany.
My father has passed away but we want our son to understand what his Silver Star was for.
For your info: Vastly informative!
Fifth Div. under Patton in France(site by French military historian in Eng.) http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/8149/
Also: the Fifth Div site

There is a French couple part of an organization called "Thanks-GI's" near Dornot who have put up a memorial and museum and have been known to take visitors to this site on the river.(see first site)
North of Metz there are several U.S.cemeteries. Patton is buried at Hamm.(He was killed in an auto accident after V-E day)
My Dad was a career officer..never talked about any of this, but it certainly shaped his and our lives. A sombre but important trip.
Sidelines..this is champagne country, there are many tours available if you are into wine.

Also...I just picked up Tom Clancy's new Shadow Warriors, history of Military Intelligence units (my Dad in this)that discusses the French resistance fighters, the Maquis who worked w/ allies in the area along the Bordeaux Rd to Lyon.

Our trip will take us down thru Burgundy to Dordogne and Provence, then up thru Brittany to Paris
Hope this give something to ponder.
Old Jun 6th, 2002, 10:15 AM
Jinx Hoover
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Linda, Gen. George Patton is buried in the American cemetary on the outskirts of Luxembourg City. I have seen his grave twice. He was injured when his staff car was hit by a US 2 1/2 ton truck after the end of WWII. He died several days later in the US Army hospital in Heidelberg. Regards. Jinx Hoover
Old Jun 6th, 2002, 10:53 AM
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Glad to see someone recognizes that today is D-day.
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