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Remembered Today:

Visiting Verdun in winter


Christina Holstein
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Any Pals intending to visit the Verdun sector in the winter might like to know the following:

Fleury Memorial Museum, the Ossuary, Ft. Douaumont and Ft. Vaux are all closed from about 20th December until the first Monday in February.

Hunting takes place across the battlefield and while you mightn't expect it to prohibit access to major historical sites, it does. Hunters these days wear an orange hat, jacket or scarf and put up signs to say that a hunt is in progress (Chasse en cours), which is an improvement. If that is the case, use Plan B and don't try to go where the hunters are.

If it's icy or snowy there is only one safe, salted road up onto the battlefield. That is the D 112, which runs from the Faubourg Pavé cemetery on the N3 (direction Etain) to the Lion Monument by Fort Souville. The road is salted up to Lion Mt, and from there past the Memorial and the Ossuary and up to, roughly speaking, the cafe called l'Abri des Pélérins. It doesn't go any further. In slippery conditions, as I know to my cost, it is not easy to get downhill past the Abri to the Trench of Bayonets, or to Ft. Vaux, or to the Ft. Tavannes/Hospital Battery area.

Having said that, Verdun, empty and abandoned, in deep silence and snow, is an extraordinary experience, so don't let me put you off a winter visit!

Christina

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Indeed......the cold, fresh atmosphere of my visit last January just seemed to add to the experience of walking the battlefields. And of course, there is the obvious benefit of lack of undergrowth and greenery aiding visibility of contours and features.

As for the hunters.....I think this year I will be paying a visit to the local Decathon store to buy a hi-vis orange hunting hat ! Last year, I wore an old army surplus overcoat (German, incidentaly !) that took all the mud, etc., but it can't have been very good in the "don't shoot me" department......

I plan to be in the area Weds.3rd > Fri.6th Jan.'06, so if anyone is going to be in the area, it would be nice to meet up and compare notes. Also, if anyone is wanting some photos taken, or things checked out, let me know, and I'll see what I can do. (Note for the latter, I'd like to put a limit of 5 locations to check, as I'm not there that long for my own purposes).

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  • 2 years later...

2 Weeks ago we also visited the Verdun battlefield and there were quite a lot a hunters around, so wearing coloured clothers like Christina said, is indeed very recommended.

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Christina thanks for your infos. Nevertheless, as told before, I will wait until you do the next off tourist track field trip and will join you from Cologne if I may. Any chance for Hoehe 304, Wald von Avocourt and Toter Mann, generally from Forges Bach direction south??

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