Verdun and Meuse are in the spotlight on the occasion of the commemorations of the First World War. Lorraine has been at the heart of virtually every great European conflict throughout history from the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, the First World War and of course, the Second World War. Citadels, forts and other great defensive works still can be seen throughout the region. Vauban fortifications, listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Maginot Line, the Séré de Rivières forts at Montmédy…
More than any other town, Verdun has become the symbol of WWI due to the intensity and length of the battles that were fought there. In 2017, the commemorations highlight the international dimension that the conflict took 100 years ago, when the United States entered the war.
Following the French defeat by the Prussian Army in 1871, Lorraine lost autonomy over the majority of its territory and Nancy was occupied by German troops until the ratification of the Treaty of Frankfurt.
The deep trauma of the past had influenced the French Army; defence lines were strengthened and the Maginot Line took form, destined to stop the German Army in its tracks. History decided otherwise and many forts along the network were not even touched by the attacks they were built to repel.
Every summer, the sound and light show on the Battle of Verdun depicts this great historical event in a spectacular natural setting, with a two-hectare stage, 900 costumes and 250 actors and passionate volunteers.