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To understand the history of World War I, few experiences are more rewarding than visiting the actual French battlefields where soldiers fought for their lives. With this guided tour from Paris, history enthusiasts can see where US Marines fought the German soldiers in Belleau Wood. Visit actual trenches and bomb craters, see the graves in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, and stop at the Devil Dog Fountain—all with a guide to lead the way.
History enthusiasts visit Belleau's World War I sights, on a tour from Paris
Visit two cemeteries and the Chateau-Thierry Monument, and walk Belleau Wood
Explore exhibits at the Museum of the Great War, with entry fees included
Travel from the 1st Arrondissement in central Paris, with only eight guests
With your guide you will walk in the wood and you see the traces of the fighting (trenches, fox holes, bomb craters) wich are still visibles today.
Belleau Wood is located on the high ground to the rear of Aisne-Marne American Cemetery south of the village of Belleau (Aisne), France. In the center of the road leading through the woods is a flagpole and a monument commemorating the valor of the U.S. Marines who captured this area in 1918.
It commemorates the actions of the 4th Marine Brigade of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division. The 2nd Division attacked German positions beginning on June 6, 1918. The 4th Marine Brigade liberated Bouresches that day. Its 5th and 6th Marine Regiments fought in Belleau Wood through most of June 1918.
Their gallant actions resulted in the Battle of Belleau Wood ending on June 26. On June 30, 1918, the Commanding General, French 6th Army, officially renamed Belleau Wood as “Wood of the Marine Brigade.”
With headstones lying in a sweeping curve, the 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, sits at the foot of Belleau Wood. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne Valley in the summer of 1918. The memorial chapel sits on a hillside, decorated with sculptured and stained-glass details of wartime personnel, equipment and insignia. Inscribed on its interior wall are 1,060 names of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. In 1940 during World War II the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery chapel was damaged due to heavy fighting in the vicinity. All damage was repaired except for one shell hole in the chapel, left as a reminder of what took place.
Today, every veteran or marine, during his visit to France, must go to the site of Belleau. After wandering the remnants of the battlefield and going to the chapel, he had only one desire: to go to the «Bulldog Fountain» This fountain in the form of a bulldog head throne, in the courtyard of the former stables of the castle of Belleau completely destroyed during the First World War.
The German military cemetery of Belleau was created by France in March 1922, where the remains of soldiers from 123 different places located between the Chemin des Dames and the Marne are gathered.The cemetery was created to collect the remains of German soldiers who had fallen during the First World War. The remains of 8,625 German soldiers rest there, mainly in two ossuaries1.
The 4,308 individual graves are materialized by stone crosses. 22 soldiers have not been identified to date. Of the 4,322 bodies buried in the two ossuaries, only 487 were identified. Among the buried soldiers are German prisoners of war who died between the end of 1914 and the beginning of 1918.
The World War I Chateau-Thierry American Monument, designed by Paul Cret, is located on a hill two miles west of Chateau-Thierry, France, and commands a wide view of the valley of the Marne River. It commemorates the sacrifices and achievements of the Americans and French before and during the Aisne-Marne and Oise-Aisne offensives.
The monument, also known as the American Aisne-Marne Memorial or Le Monument américain à cote 204, consists of an impressive double colonnade rising above a long terrace. On its west facade are heroic sculptured figures representing the United States and France. On its east facade is a map showing American military operations in this region and an orientation table pointing out the significant battle sites.
German advances in late May 1918 led to the 3rd Division joining the fight. Its units assisted French troops in preventing the Germans from crossing the Marne River. The 3rd Division held the south bank of the Marne until the French American counteroffensive forced German withdrawal. It earned the nickname “Rock of the Marne.” At the nearby cemeteries rest those Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country.
A 2,000 square-foot visitor center opened at Chateau-Thierry American Monument in May 2018 to celebrate the centenary of the battle of Belleau Wood.
To end that very moving day, you will visit the «Museum of the Great War » in Meaux. That museum display a huge collection of artefacts (up to 50000) and is also the largest museum in europe who focus into the world war one conflict. Overthere you will learn more about the politicals reasons who led to the war, and discover a lot of materials, vehicles, uniforms and weapons designed and used by the soldiers during the conflict.
At the beginning of the museum, there was a man, Jean-Pierre Verney, a passionate historian, who, over a period of 50 years, collected objects and documents to tell the story of the First World War. In 2005, the town of Meaux bought the exceptional collection which consists of over 50 000 items and decided to build a museum in order to value their history !
Today, more than 65 000 items make up this collection !
The Great War museum holds a rich and diverse collection which tackles the conflict as well as the technical and military plans from a human and societal point of view. Discover full uniforms from the majority of the warring countries, weaponry and artillery, heavy machinery, objects from daily life on the front line and back home as well as many documents and a great range of artwork.
Best tour ever. Booked it now. You won't be disappointed. Adrian Roads and owner Regis Piteux are 5 star. Great value for the money. I cannot believe there is anyone better to show you the Battle Field at belleau Woods.