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The Great War Centennial




From August 1914 to November 1918, France was the theatre of the most violent, casualty-filled war history had ever known.

Within the first weeks, the harshness of the battles forced belligerent troops to abandon their war of movement.  Men buried themselves in trenches, from the plains in the North to the chalks of Champagne, in forests and mountains.  A war of attrition was added to their deadly offensives, and, separated by merely a few hundred-metres, the men's daily lives were filled with bombings, the explosion of mines and the boredom of waiting. 

The era's most modern and powerful weapons, like tanks and poison gas, lead to the deaths of millions of men from the five continents.  Still today marking French soil and world memory with their battles and deaths, they continue to nourish our contemporary hopes of international peace.

Traces of the First World War are still visible from Nord-Pas de Calais to Alsace, in Picardy, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine.  Follow their vestiges through the networks of trenches, by the shell holes in the Vosges forest or the quarries and underground galleries of the Aisne and the Oise.  Gather yourself in the vast cemeteries and memorials of Artois, discover the Historial of Péronne in the Somme, the vertiginous mine holes in Boiselle and Vauquois in the Meuse, and visit the Fort de la Pompelle in Reims or the Fort de Leveau in Maubeuge.