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“Must visit when in the area”
Review of Verdun Battlefield

Verdun Battlefield
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Small-Group WWI Day Trip from Paris: Verdun and Meuse-Argonne Battlefields
Ranked #1 of 28 things to do in Verdun
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
93 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Must visit when in the area”
Reviewed July 12, 2012

The whole battlefield area is forrested so you better do some research before coming otherwise its hard to find landmarks

Visited June 2012
3 Thank Saar G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hampshire, UK
Level Contributor
261 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 242 helpful votes
“The key Verdun sites to visit if you only have one whole day....”
Reviewed July 8, 2012

The area, along the D913 if full of memories of WW1 and the battles that took place here, just a few miles north-east of Verdun.

Start your trip at the nearby Verdun Memorial Museum (Satnav: 1 avenue du Corps Européen
55100 Fleury-devant-Douaumont 7Euro pp entrance fee), less than 1 mile from Fleury-devant-Douaument to get a full flavour of the chronology of the war in this area, then stay on the D913 towards the Ossuary and you will pass a wooded area on your left, with parking by the side of the road - this is the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaument.

There is a small chapel built on the site, and as you walk around the wooded area, you will see lots of signs saying that you are walking along a path that was once the main street through the original town, and also signs stating where the school, bakers, farms, Mayors office etc once stood.

All around you, the ground is full of craters where bombs fell - nothing now stands in this quiet and eerie forested area. Bring repellent with you, as there were a few mosquitoes when we visited. (July)

Within the forest are several memorials along the trails.

There are no toilets here (or at nearby Fort Douaumont or Fort Vaux), but you can find toilets at the nearby Memorial Museum and the Ossuary. Plus there is a simple but nice little restaurant, signposted to the right of the Ossuary - a great place to have a light lunch as there is very little else nearby.

Then proceed down the road to the Ossuary and pay the 5 Euro pp entrance fee to watch the short 20 min film, which was excellent in setting the scene of the soldiers who came to this area to fight for their countries; and finally, continue along the D913 for another 2-3 miles following signs for Fort Douaumont (bring a sweater as is it quite cool within the fort and the tour lasts a good 30 minutes if you listen to every story on the headset).

Inside the fort, you can pay 4 Euro for a personal IPOD & headset, and do the self-guided tour of the fort, hearing how the fort changed hands during the war and the events that occurred there. Most people probably just walk around the exterior of the fort, but is is well worth going inside and hearing the commentary on the personal IPOD.

Visit these 4 places for a comprehensive overview of the Verdun battles.

I would also urge you to visit Vauquois-En-Argonne along the D38, about 18 miles west of Verdun, so see the hilltop (Butte de Vauquois) where the French and Germans fought to take control of this significant lookout hill. Here you will find a small museum, original trenches and a memorial up on the hillside - no charge, but check timings as the museum was open when we arrived around 1pm, but closed soon after.

Visited July 2012
17 Thank Luxtraveller66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Moving and Haunting”
Reviewed June 20, 2012

I am a history buff and for my sixteenth birthday my mother took me to Europe for a world war battlefield tour (both WW1 and WW2). I saw a lot of impressive museums and moving cemeteries, but this one stands out in my memory. Verdun was largely a French and German experience, a tragic battle with an epic cost in human life, and I think most North Americans skip stopping here in favour of visiting places like Normandy, Vimy Ridge, Flanders etc. Even though it was years ago, I remember this museum as striking. There is a video that plays there (in French with subtitles) and it brought both my mum and I to tears. This is a French museum so they do not dwell on false ideals of patriotism and glory. Instead, they highlight the tragedy and horror, the experience of the common man in a hellish war. I hope they still play that film! The cemetery itself is huge and overwhelming and incredible. More crosses than you can imagine. Look for the troops from French colonies among them, including those from Algeria.

My visit was awhile ago, back in 2003, and I hope to return someday and re-experience the museum.

Visited July 2011
8 Thank Issobell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glastonbury, Connecticut
Level Contributor
110 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Can't add much”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

WWI is fast becoming a lost war. My day in this region - and on the battlefield - was an educational and emotionally powerful experience. Some complain about how it's not prettied up, how it's grown over. I can see how that would bother some but I was not bothered in the least. It's not Disneyland. It's the site whereupon thousands upon thousands of people died. Leaving it in a rough state didn't have any impact on the power of that or my imagination.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Bill K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Eerie, Interesting, Almost Abandoned”
Reviewed May 20, 2012

I visited the Somme a few years back. I make the comparison because both the Somme was about as significant to the British as Verdun was to the French.

The Somme looks like a battlefield. It's on rolling farmland. Even though farmers plant their crops over much of the battlefield now, battle sites, trenches, cemeteries and the like are all well marked. The area is very well organized, particularly for France. It's also quite frequently visited.

The Verdun battlefield is situated on a forested ridge, or series of forested rigdes, almost a forested plateau to the north of the town. Most of the battlefield is completely overgrown. It appears to have been heavily wooded before the battle but now it's an actual forest. The signage for the most famous sites is good. All the rest of the signage is pretty poor. Some sites have descriptions in well written English and German. Most only have French and even then these do not explain much of anything other than 'Seargant X fell here on this day', not who was attacking, the direction or stength of the attack, the position of the defense, the attacking forces objective, etc. The battlefield is almost entirely about the French, not the Germans that fought there, but given that it's in France I guess the French get a pass on largely ignoring the other army that fought there.

Two outstanding thoughts remain with me. One is the spectacularly chewed up nature of the ground. Maybe some parts of the Somme would still look like that if they hadn't gone back under the plow but not sure because the British at least, according to Martin Middlebrook, were lacking heavy guns. Anyway, it is really demolished with innumberable stagnant pools of water in some spots which are no doubt responsible for the abundance of bugs.

The other thought is; Wow, the Germans attacked this position!? They attacked uphill against well entrenched and well fortified positions in a heavy wood. Had the French had to defend the same kind of ground the Germans defended on the Somme Verdun would almost certainly have resulted in a short-order Germany victory.

Visited May 2012
5 Thank pyjenbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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