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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Verdun visit May 2005


channelhopper

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A very up to date reply on the Prunellia - I have just returned from a few days in Verdun.

I stayed at the Prunellia, and it was fine as a base. The rooms are basic but OK, and it is right next to the Formule 1 if you want to go for the budget option. The breakfast buffet is plentiful and fresh. I ate in the hotel the first evening I spent there, and I probably wouldn't reccomend it as a dining place - the menu was fialry limited and my main course came with a baked potato still in foil. But as a B&B base - very good. Not a lot of places nearby to eat, and the centre of Verdun is a fair walk, probably one and a half miles.

I ate at the Beausejour (the Italian restaraunt) two nights, and as Christina says it is popular but I got a table without having to book and the food and service was very good. Highly reccomended.

Also, I did visit both "Max" and Camp Marguerre - both are good, but I have to say that Camp Marguerre is without doubt one of the best Great War sites I have visited - it is like a small village of bunkers in various states of repair, and in some of the living quarters there are even wall decorations ( I will post some pictures when I am on the laptop again). The site is one I would put on a must see list even though it is a little bit north of the main Verdun battlefields.

Fort Douamont was also stunning, especially the interior. It wasn't particularly busy when I visited, and it was incredible to walk through the coridors and into the rooms, my footsteps echoing and the stalactites dripping from the ceiling. I didn't see the interior of Fort Vaux, as it was closed when I got there later one evening. The destoyed villages, particularluy Fleury, were also incredibly moving. All in all, a must see battlefield, one I have wanted to visit for a long time and although I packed a lot into 4 days I by no menas saw it all. I did some walking, and the forest is almost spooky it is so silent, with isolated graves, bunkers and trenches along the way.

I was planning to do some mountain biking until I saw the inclines on the roads that lead to the battlefields from Verdun. It would have been great fun coming back down, if I had been able to manage the ride up!

Any questions just let me know.

Alan

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Another hotel worth trying in the Verdun area is the Hotel de la Sirène in Etain. Although a little way off the main battlefield - Etain is 14 km north of Verdun - it's worth considering, as parking is very easy - right outside - and it's close to Camp Marguerre and the gun site at Duzey (the Long Max gun pit). The manager speaks enough English to make a booking. It's pleasant and quiet and the rooms are comfortable. It's been a very fine place with it's own tennis courts and no doubt when Etain was a busy garrison town it was the grand place in the area. The hotel is big enough to take a coach load of visitors, the food is good and the menu prices very decent.

During WWI the Sirène was turned into a concrete shelter for the use - apparently - of the Crown Prince. A huge concrete blast wall was erected in front of the hotel, none of which remains. There are postcards of it and a painting in the front all. I don't know when the wall was demolished.

Christina

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