Margerm Europe 2009 travel blog

Restoration of the Reims Cathedral Notre Dame

French coronation church since 1097.

Stained glass that survived the World War I bombing.

Verdun Memorial

World War I memories.

Armoury Memorial

French Cemetary

French Cemetary Memorial

Fort Douaumont bomb scars

Tunnels and more tunnels at the fort.

Trenches in the Verdun forests.

Verdun Forest Chapel

Breakfast was included with our hotel so we headed down stairs for our first restaurant breakfast. Which turned out to be the same breakfast we have been having anyhow (croissants, jam, cereal and yogurt). After breakfast we zipped up the block to the cathedral and walked through a beautiful square. The church was in the midst of being restored. We found out once in the church that it had been heavily bombed and that with age, built in the thirteenth century, was the culprit. Oddly enough the early restoration done in the 30's after the war was financed by the New York Rockefellers. But they had a display on how the restoration was done with the computer and it was quite remarkable what they could do. Being that we were in the Champagne valley Dave popped into an all Champagne store and got us a little bubbly (16 Euros) which was pretty wild as we had been living off of French wine for the past week (3 or 4 Euros). So off we headed for a little war history in Verdun. The town itself was largely destroyed in World War I as it was a the site of a year long battle. The tourist centre said any of the buildings left standing still had bullet holes in the walls. We stopped for a picnic lunch and then headed to the memorial. It turned out that they had made the entire hillside into a memorial. The ground was riddled with trenches and bomb holes. The cemeteries were acres of crosses. We finished with a French Fort that was 12 km of tunnels. As we walked down the tunnels you could only imagine the noise and smells that would have been in a place that was bombed for twelve months. We left Verdun to get a little closer to Switzerland before dinner. We ended up in a little town called St. Die. And Thank God we found a French restaurant and had a wonderful French meal on our last night in France. By midnight we had finished our confit de canard (Alyssa was a little traumatized that they ate duck) and chocolat mousse and headed for bed.

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