World War I
During the Third Battle of the Aisne in spring and early summer 1918, Imperial German forces were opposed by troops of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) at Château-Thierry.
The Kaisers's troops succeeded in capturing Château-Thierry, then turned their attention toward Belleau Wood, where they were opposed by US troops incuding a brigade of US Marines. Fighting at close quarters, the Marines bravely held their positions against continued German attacks in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, proving the courage and effectiveness of their arms.
The Allied supreme commander Maréchal Ferdinand Foch ordered his predominantly French forces to launch a surprise counter-assault against German forces. The AEF took part in the battle near Soissons and Château-Thierry.
The US 3rd Division bravely and successfully supported French colonial forces in the defense of bridges in Château-Thierry, proving the mettle of this new and unproven military force.
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, 11 km (7 miles) northwest of the center of Château-Thierry (map), is the final resting-place of 2,289 soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces. In the tall memorial chapel are the names of 1,060 soldiers with no known graves.
It's a beautiful, peaceful site in contrast to the horrors of war that these men knew. Helpful staff are at your service to explain the significance of the battles here. More...
The struggle for Belleau Wood was a formative battle for the renowned US Marine Corps. Few in number, untested in such a battle, they proved their courage and mettle against Imperial German troops in this bloody encounter. The forest, blasted to splintered stumps during the intense fighting, has grown back into a shady refuge. Field cannons, a small monument, and explanatory signs help visitors to understand the significance of what happened here. More...
High on the hill overlooking the city of Château-Thierry is a white marble temple built in memory of the American and French contributions to the liberation of the town, the district, and of France. Extensively renovated in 2017, it is a fitting memorial to the forces. More...
Getting to the
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, the main focus of World War I American commemoration here, is 11 km (7 miles) uphill to the northwest of Château-Thierry (map).
From the cemetery to the WWI Marine Memorial at Belleau Wood is 1.9 km (1.2 miles).
Public transport does not serve these monuments. Taxi tours are available, but can be expensive because of the waiting time while you visit these locations. The best solution is to have your own vehicle so you can tour them at your leisure.
The Château-Thierry Monument, easily visible from many parts of the city, is a 4.7-km (3 mile) drive or a 2.5-km (1.6 mile) walk uphill from the Place Jean de la Fontaine. You can shorten this walk to 1.1 km (7/10 mile) by riding Fablio city Bus 3 from the La Fontaine stop toward Buisson, getting out at the Roosevelt stop, then following Chemin des Henry up the hill to the monument.
Château-Thierry is at the southwestern extent of the Champagne wine-growing region. You'll see vineyards surrounding the town. For a tour of a champagne winery, its cellars and caves, and a tasting of the delicious wines, make your way to Champagne Pannier, which also includes Champagne Jacquart. Fablio City Bus 2 will take you right to the door (the Champagne stop). More...