A Land Marked by the Wars

A land of thoroughfare and invasion since the dawn of time, the Ardennes, holds in its land, many traces of combat. It is a land of memory on which history is told and shared. The region of the Ardennes Metropolitan Urban Area includes battle-field sites, strategic locations, and areas where significant historical events occurred such as the capitulation of Napoleon III in 1870 or the transformation of the fortified castle of Sedan into a prison during World War I.

The destiny of France, even of Europe, has played out many times in the Ardennes. Charleville, Sedan and the communes of the Ardennes Metropolis remember these wars. To visit these places full of history (to avoid history repeating itself) is to realise the need for memory. It is also to appreciate the peace that has been regained and rediscovered, and to get beyond the military context to see the beautiful countryside out of which has developed the heritage of Charleville/Sedan in the Ardennes.

Réconciliation franco-allemande, paix France Allemagne

Walk in the Footsteps of the Soldiers

On a free or on a guided visit, relive the fate of men and women, military and civilian, occupiers and occupied, to better understand the history and birth of Europe.

The Great War 1914-1918

The Mission of the Centenary has been to label places to visit tourist sites to see and events of the communities of the Ardennes Metropolis. Up until the end of 2018, a memorial cycle has been organised for the region. An important national commemoration is planned for the 11th of November 2018 in Vrigne-Meuse, where Augustin Trébuchon fell, the last front-line soldier to be killed in combat.

See the video on the fate of Augustin Trébuchon, last frontline soldier killed in combat in 1918.

Sedan: Three Wars, One Battlefield

Three major conflicts have turned Sedan into a battle field in the past. The memorial sites testify to the tragic stories of the war of 1870, the Great War, and World War II. They are places of memories, rooted in the past, that recount chapters of different wars today.

Détail du panorama de la bataille de Sedan en 1870

The Battle of Sedan in 1870 can be seen at the Fortified Castle

The name of Sedan remains associated with the Prussian victory on the 1st of September 1870. A room in the fortified castle is dedicated to the war of 1870. The Panorama of Sedan by Louis BRAUN is shown there: a canvas of 11.30 metres wide by 1.57 metres high.


World War II and the Reconstruction of Sedan

In May 1940, Sedan was one of the points by which the German army crossed the Meuse, known as the breakthrough of Sedan. To slow their progress, the Franco-British forces bombarded the town. After the war, a whole neighbourhood located on the bank of the Meuse was rebuilt by Jean de Mailly. Here there are guided tours by the Heritage service.

Charleville, an Occupied Town

Charleville, during World War I, was the rear base of the German military staff that occupied it throughout the conflict. All the factories, mansions and produce was requisitioned by the occupying forces, and the local population was starved.

Remembrance Tours and Memorial Sites

Charleville, Sedan, and the Ardennes Metropolitan urban area communities can testify to the conflicts. They carry the traces of the history in their most sombre hours. Each memorial site conserves the memory of facts and exceptional actions of soldiers and civilians of all the nationalities. In visiting these memorials, you become conscious of the courage, suffering and the necessity to preserve peace.

Topoguide Circuit de mémoire en pays sedanais

Heritage and Wartime Memories Tours

The heritage and wartime memories tours presents the events and the history of the war and provides 5 mapped routes to follow in order to discover the battle sites. Book available at the tourist board of Sedan.