Follow in the footsteps of the combatants and experience the daily lives of soldiers and civilians during the three great conflicts of the 20th century that left their mark on Europe.


From 1870 to 1944, the fate of France, and indeed of Europe, was played out on several occasions in the Ardennes. As witnesses to history, Sedan and its neighbouring communes tell poignant stories through the memorial sites that dot the battlefield. As you go through it, you'll be doing your duty to remember, but you'll also have the chance to contemplate our beautiful landscapes and remarkable heritage. On sale at the Sedan Tourist Office.


Visit a museum or fortification to immerse yourself in history: the Maison de la Dernière Cartouche houses bullet holes, the Fort des Ayvelles and the Ouvrage de la Ferté recount the tragic fates of their garrisons, and the Musée Guerre et Paix en Ardenne retraces 100 years of war, presenting national and local military aspects of the wars of 1870, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.


Less well known than the next two conflicts, the war of 1870 was the detonator that upset the balance of the world.

Mémoire Augustin Trébuchon

World War I

Between 1914 and 1918, Sedan was occupied by the German army. It became a hospital town, and the population suffered oppression, requisitioning and repression.

World War II

In May 1940, the German army's "coup de faux" fell on the French army during the Battle of Sedan.


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.

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.


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.

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.

La Maison de la Dernière Cartouche à Bazeilles
Certaines pièces de la Maison de la Dernière Cartouche conservent la trace des derniers combats de 1870.

La Maison de la dernière cartouche (House of the Last Cartridge)

During the 1870 war, soldiers from the Infanterie de Marine stationed themselves in this inn to put up a last stand against the Bavarian soldiers during the fighting on 1 September. The structures of the building still bear witness to these events.

The Great War 1914-1918

The Mission du Centenaire has accredited a number of visits, tourist sites and events in the communes of Ardenne Métropole. From the Fort des Ayvelles to Vrigne-Meuse, where Augustin Trébuchon, the last soldier to die in battle, fell, fulfil your duty to remember by visiting these must-see sites.

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

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.

Charleville, ville occupée - Kronprinz


A booklet to discover Charleville and Mézières during the Great War. Available at Charleville's tourist office.


The Second World War left indelible marks on the landscape and in the memories of the people of the Ardennes. To mark the "Sedan Breakthrough" of 1940, a number of special events are scheduled.


Charleville, Sedan and the communes of the Ardenne Métropole conurbation bear witness to conflicts. They bear the traces of history in its darkest hours. Each place of remembrance preserves the memory of the deeds and exceptional acts of soldiers or civilians of whatever nationality. By visiting these places of remembrance, you become aware of courage, suffering and the need 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.