Verdun

Located along a bend in the River Meuse, Verdun (pop 20 000) is a calm town that has come a long way from its violent history that has been immortalised in a plethora of books and films. Across the world, Verdun is ubiquitously associated with one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. The town has notably, with grace and wisdom, used its past as a step towards promoting peace. Numerous monuments and sites commemorate and remind visitors about the senselessness and violence of war. The tourist-trodden yet still very much poignant and famous landscape of the Verdun Battlefields is probably what best embodies this quest to reveal the ghastly truth and cost of war.

Verdun should be known for more than just that, though. The history of Verdun, meaning strong fort, stretches far before the infamous war. The town was always noted as the long-lasting seat of the Bishop of Verdun as well as the centre of (unsurprisingly) many conflicts along the course of history. Another little and more light-hearted medal of world-recognition the town wears with pride is being recognised as the hometown to delicious sugared almonds (aka Dragées).

These days, Verdun is a relatively idyllic, calm albeit sleepy town. There are generic tourist attractions as well as typical beautiful French scenery that make afternoon walks a pleasure to the senses. But the allure of the town remains much more morbid and sombre. Throngs of tourists still come by every year intrigued by what is probably its most fascinating aspect- a site of many past atrocities, history frozen and offered for inspection and introspection.

 


 

 

 


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VERDUN1. Tourist office  2. Train station  3. Citadel  4. Cathedrale Notre-Dame  5. Centre Mondial de la Paix  6. Monument de la Victoirie