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Fast Facts
WHAT IT IS

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WHAT IT IS

carto-usa-pptThe commemorations for the centenary of the First World War are an opportunity for France to promote an excellent proposal that transforms territories into historical touristic destinations; ranging from Nord-Pas de Calais to Alsace, passing by Picardie, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine
Significant economic benefits were observed in 2014 with more than 11 million of visitors to the remembrance sites.
The benefits for the territories will continue to be observed in 2015 and 2016, a major year for commemorations of the Battles of the Somme and Verdun.
2017 will be marked by American commemorations.

Partners – Local Authorities

  • Nord-Pas de Calais region
  • Somme Department
  • Aisne Department
  • Champagne-Ardenne
  • Lorraine
  • Meuse Department
  • Vosges Front and Haute-Alsace Tourisme

LOCATION

 


Two regions located in North East of France: Hauts de France (Northern France and Picardy) and Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine.

HISTORY

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WHAT IT IS

(US troops and key dates)


cimetiere_americain_de_belleau-%e2%8c%90h_balesse-5The First World War was a key event in the history of the United States. The United States initially showed trepidation and maintained a certain distance from the war raging in Europe. Eventually the United States entered the fray alongside the Entente powers, bringing significant military and financial aid from 1917 onwards.
France has preserved the memory of individual American volunteers from the beginning of the war in 1914 and that of the sites are chock-full of history, former battlefields that today have become places for peace and commemoration including remembering doughboys in 1917 and 1918, all of whom fought alongside the French on their home soil. The country also remembers their participation in the victorious counter-offensives in Picardy, Champagne and the Lorraine, which culminated in the armistice of November 1918.


The memory of the 126,000 Americans who lost their lives on our soil still resonates today at the Belleau Wood cemetery, in the Aisne, and in the contemplative setting of the American cemetery at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon.

WESTERN FRONT NEWS

Major upcoming events : end 2016 and 2017

18 November 2016 - Commemoration for the last day of the battle of the Somme
15-16 avril 2017 - Centenaire de l’offensive du Chemin des Dames

Camp de reconstitution et spectacle son et lumière en soirée sur le Chemin des Dames ; cérémonie du centenaire de l’offensive du 16 avril 1917 à Craonne.
Information : M. Viltart /+33 (0)3 23 24 88 39
www.aisne14-18.com

13 May 2017 - Cérémonie internationale au Mémorial du Chemin des Dames à Cerny-en-Laonnois

Information : M. Viltart /+33 (0)3 23 24 88 39
www.aisne14-18.com

Last Sunday of May 2017 - Memorial Day dans les 3 cimetières américains de Belleau

Seringes-et-Nesles et Bony, journée de commémoration en hommage aux soldats américains
Information : ABMC – T : +33 (0)3 23 70 70 90
www.abmc.goc

30 July 2017 Compétition - le Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons

Il a lieu tous les 2 ans depuis plus de 20 ans. Nous aurons à nouveau la 1ère compétition au monde de montgolfières qui a lieu sur une ancienne base aérienne américaine de l’OTAN (y a vécu l’Américain Michael Collins 1969 – Mission Apollo XI sur la lune). La dernière édition en 2015 a accueilli plus de 400 000 spectateurs. Deux nouveaux records du monde y ont été enregistrés2 836 membres d’équipages venus de 46 pays ont été comptabilisés ! Les USA sont toujours très représentés.

Site des organisateurs : www.pilatre-de-rozier.com

Reopenings :
2016 and 2017

February 2016 - The renaissance of Verdun Memorial - Verdun

The Museum has been refurbished and expanded. Built on the battlefield site, the extensive collection is housed in 1,600m2 of permanent exhibition space, helping visitors to understand the battle and the hellish conditions endured by soldiers.

www.memorialdeverdun.fr

June 2016 - Opening of a new Interpretation Centre - Thiepval

Thiepval Interpretation Centre, part of the Museum of the Great War in Péronne, is being expanded with two new exhibition spaces.  Designed to complement the collection housed at Péronne, the museum aims to provide additional information highlighting various key moments of the Somme’s fighting.

www.historial.org 

2017 - World War 1 Interpretation Centre – Vignacourt

Vignacourt was located behind Allied lines during the First World War and soldiers from all over the world were billeted in the village. Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, a local couple passionate about photography, started taking pictures of the civilians and soldiers who passed through the village. Between 1915 and 1920, they took over 4000 photographs.
www.somme-battlefields.com

2017 - Vimy Visitor Education Centre

In 2017, Canada will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a seminal event in Canada’s history. The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations will be the unveiling of state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – a project from Veterans Affairs Canada in partnership with the Vimy Foundation.
While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, currently visitors are given little context at the existing information booth as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage. The Vimy Visitor Education Centre will answer these questions.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca

August 2017 - Ouverture de l'Historial franco-allemand de la Grande Guerre Hartmannswillerkopf – WATTWILLER

L’historial franco-allemand de la Grande Guerre sur le site du Hartmannswillerkopf concentrera, exposera et réfléchira sur l’Histoire du plus grand site 1914-1918 de la guerre de montagne en France. Au sein de divers espaces d’expositions (Le Reichland, le Front des Vosges et Hartmannswillerkopf 14-18, l’organisation du champ de bataille français et allemand, la vie quotidienne des combattants français et allemands et de la population civile, le Hartmannswillerkopf depuis 1918) dotés des dernières technologies numériques et audiovisuelles, sera évoquée l’histoire spécifique de ce haut lieu d’affrontement devenu aujourd’hui terre de réconciliation et de mémoire pour la paix européenne.
www.memorial-hwk.eu

November 2017 - Inauguration of the Historical centre of the Battle of Cambrai

100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai
Overlooking the battlefield, the historical centre will focus on the tank Deborah (now a historical monument) uncovered in 1998 at a depth of 2,5 metres in a field. It will tell the story of the tank, its 5 members crew burried in the nearby Flesquières Hill cemetery and of the battle of Cambrai.
Contact : cambrai office.

Delphine Jouvenez (d.jouvenez@tourisme-cambresis.fr)

February 2017 - Réouverture du Musée National Franco-Américain du Château de Blérancourt

Extension du musée pour valoriser les diverses collections relatives à l’aide huma nitaire prodiguée par Anne Morgan et l’amitié-coopération franco-américaine
Information: + 33 (0) 3 23 39 14 71

http://museefrancoamericain.fr

WEST FRONT ITINERARIES

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GREAT WAR VISITS – US SITES AND MUST SEES

Le Hamel Memorial

Cantigny American Memorials

Château of Blérancourt, Franco-American Museum

Dragon’s Cave, Chemin des Dames Museum

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

Belleau Wood

Pompelle Fortress

Blanc-Mont American Monument at Sommepy-Tahure

Montfaucon d’Argonne American Monument

Vauquois Hill

Montsec Memorial

Verdun battlefield

Fort de Troyon – Saint Mihiel American Cemetery

Hartmannswillerkopf Memorial


See full details – Click here

FRANCO-AMERICAN MUSUEM

The Franco-American Museum re-opening, originally announced for the fall of 2016, will now take place late February 2017.
Tribute to the meaningful French-American relationship
No other museum in France focuses on the relationship of France with another country. The Franco-American Museum highlights the centuries-old strategic relationship between France and the U.S. through artwork, documents and memorabilia. They depict the critical aid France gave to the insurgents during the American Revolution and that of Americans who assisted the French in both World Wars. One can also enjoy the artistic exchanges between the two countries.
A “hidden jewel” of a museum
The Museum offers an eclectic presentation of American artists who often studied and mastered their art in France, as well as French artists who’ve been inspired by America. This is not the Louvre, yet the Franco-American Museum presents little-known treasures: Likenesses of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington by noted French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon; paintings by Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder; as well as Paul Colin’s poster project for La Revue Nègre, the first appearance of singer/cultural phenomenon Josephine Baker in France. An amazing WWI collection including an American Field Service ambulance—a model T Ford—as well as poignant photographs and films showing the devastation in Picardy and the reconstruction work achieved by American women volunteers that demonstrate the important French-American connection.
History that comes to life
Visitors will be amazed to discover how the buildings on site first served as headquarters for Anne Morgan and her American women volunteers during World War I to coordinate ambulances (with the American Field Service) and heal wounded soldiers. Anne Morgan would later make the château the seat of operations post-WWI to rebuild Picardy with her women volunteers. Since the Museum is located at the site of significant WWI battles, they will know much more about the history regarding the two countries. It’s considered the “land of memory” because of WWI and WWII, the numerous battlefields, cemeteries and monument.
A celebration of life
The magnificent gardens of Blérancourt feature French and American plants and trees, including a poppy field to stand for the bloodshed nearby and red, white and blue patterns. They are a breath of life in an area infamous for the terrible battles of both World Wars.
Wonderful tourism opportunities “off the beaten track”
In the Picardy region there’s no lack of charming villages that France is famous for. But one also finds exceptional medieval cathedrals, including the Amiens cathedral (the largest in the world) and Beauvais (the tallest in the world), the château of Chantilly (considered one of the gems of French heritage, with its Condé Museum), the historic town of Senlis and the new World War I museum in Meaux, midway between Paris and Château-Thierry. The region is a highly symbolic place for American visitors.

For more on Anne Morgan in France, click here

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