|What to See & Do in Verdun, France|
|Today a pretty city, Verdun formerly witnessed the cataclysm of World War I first-hand.|
The Porte Châtel (Châtel Gate) leading to La Roche Square is the sole remnant of the medieval city walls, battered by cannons for centuries. In 2018 it was completely enveloped in scaffolding and sheathing as restoration work was carried out.
The 17th-century Citadelle is still an active military base, but the four kilometers of tunnels beneath it, known as the Citadelle Subterranée, are open to visits.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun
Founded in 990, La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun is the oldest in Lorraine, and among the oldest in Europe. Repaired and expanded, it was consecrated in 1147. Other extensive changes occurred in 1755, and after serious damage during the Battle of Verdun in (1916) World War I.
Despite its storied and sometimes unhappy past, the cathedral is a marvel, with a long cloister, elaborate crypt with a chapel, and stained glass windows created from 1927 to 1934 to replace those shattered during World War I.
The 18th-century Episcopal Palace was the princely home of the bishops of Verdun. It is now a public library and home to the World Peace Centre.
Musée de la Princerie
Le Musée de la Princerie, in the former residence of the princes of Verdun, is a treasure house of artifacts and artworks from the entire culture of the region, from Prehistoric times through the Gallo-Roman period and the Middle Ages to modern times. There's a garden as well.
Mémorial de Verdun
The memorial museum, was founded in 1967 and extensively renovated in 2016. Exhibits include weapons, personal effects and other artifacts recovered from the battlefields, arranged to bring to life the daily conditions under which the combattants lived...and died.
The memorial crowns a forested hill in Fleury-devant-Douaumont, along the Avenue Corps d'Europe (the Voie Sacré of the Battle of Verdun), 14 km (9 miles) southwest of Verdun on the way to the Douaumont Ossuary (Ossuaire de Douaumont).
Cemeteries & Memorials
The World War I Battle of Verdun was so horrendous that, even today, remains of the combattants are discovered and consigned to the the French National Douaumont Ossuary. Indeed, most of those killed in battle here could never be identified—even if their remains were found.
Signs of the infamous battle remain in the many monuments and military cemeteries, including the French National Cemetery and Douaumont Ossuary.
World War I Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon northwest of Verdun, is for the more than 14,000 American troops who died here during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918 during the last months of World War I.
The Consenvoye German War Cemetery holds over 11,000 graves of German soldiers who died in World War I.