During WWI or the “Great War” there were upwards of 750,000 British and Commonwealth casualties. France saw over 1.4 million deaths, the most on the Western Front. Historic battles such as the Battle of Somme in France and many smaller yet decisive battles occurred from 1914 to 1918 in France. Throughout the country cemeteries, battlefields and monuments stand today in honor of those who fought in this massive war.
As 2014 marks the beginning of the “Great War”, many sites in countries throughout the battle areas are commemorating this historic time in history with guided tours, special programming and living history presentations. If you are interested in the history of the war and looking for top destinations in France to see in relation to WWI, take a look at four of the most recognized and visited in France today.
Meuse-Argonne cemetery – The resting place of over 14,000 Americans who died in the Ardennes and Lorraine regions during the war. Spanning over 130 acres it is holds more military dead in Europe.
Armistice Glade near Compiègne – A memorial in the Forest of Compiègne, it stands at the spot where the armistice was signed by the Germans in 1918 to end the World War. Today, the site contains a statue of Ferdinand Foch and the Alsace-Lorraine Memorial
Great War Museum at Meaux – A museum that pays homage to those of fought in WWI and includes a collection which is unmatched in Europe.
Lochnagar Crater, La Boisselle – Site of a massive explosion set by the Royal Engineer tunneling companies, this crater stands as a memorial to the violence of the war. Set off at 7:28 am on July 1, 1916, the blast was considered the loudest manmade noise in history and is said to have been heard as far away as London. The site was purchased by a private individuation name Richard Dunning to preserve it for history.
A part of our history and one which will be honored in 2014, these sites offer visitors a chance to try to grasp what this war actually meant to the world, past, present and future.