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Remembrance of the Great War

Culminating at over 200 meters high, the Montagne de Reims was used as a promontory for 4 years to observe the front line during the First World War, going from Fort de la Pompelle to Suippes, and it was also a scene of much fighting.

In 1914, while the Germans invade the North-East of France, they are stopped during the 1st battle of the Marne. Then a static war begins; a war of attrition and trenches that will mark the territory. In 1918, the German offensives and counter-offensives launched during the 2nd battle of the Marne left many cemeteries and necropolises behind them, testifying for the violence of the fighting.

Deeply scarred by the war, the territory of the natural regional Park counts 11 military cemeteries that keep in memory the scene of the 14-18 war. 3 of the largest necropolises can be visited in the villages of Bligny and Marfaux. The remains of 1,129 British soldiers, 4,417 German soldiers and 3,440 Italian fighters are buried there with no hierarchical distinction. More than 80 war memorials have been erected in the form of engraved plaques or obelisks, sometimes with sculpted figures. The churches of Saint-Imoges and Ville-en-Selve even hold a stained glass memorial.

Military cemetery of Bligny ©PNRMR

On the heights of Montagne de Reims slopes, some bunkers built during the war still dominate the skyline. Opposite the front line of the 1st World War, the villages of Verzy and Verzenay offer the perfect promontory to observe the enemy. It was at Mount-Sinaï, or at Verzenay Mill that the Allies installed their observatories. The military observatory of Mount-Sinaï, in the forest of Verzy, was at the centre of the major observation device installed. Mount Sinaï and its bunkers are classified today as Historical Monuments.

Military observatory of the Mount Sinaï ©PNRMR

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