The Meuse, Verdun, Argonne and the Saint-Mihiel Salient, the names thunder like the guns in the Great War and history is all around. It’s a peaceful countryside now, quiet country roads bordered with Mirabelle plum orchards and vineyards and of course the huge expanse of Madine Lake in the regional park. Or go back further in time and history and visit the jewel-like Renaissance Quarter at Bar-le-Duc.
Verdun, a name that resonates through time. Between the banks of the river Meuse and the woods of the Argonne, where battle raged, a unique military memory remains, a name that has become a symbol of man’s heroism and the horror of war. Discover the history of the Great War in this part of Lorraine by entering the underground citadel and learning about the soldiers’ lives in the trenches. Witness life in the Douaumont and Vaux forts and remember the fallen at Douaumont Ossuary. Wander through Verdun town, now home to the World Peace Centre, and explore medieval forts and lovingly restored Renaissance buildings.
Madine covers over 2,700 acres and is equipped with a marina, fine sandy beaches, water sports centres and a sailing school. Situated right in the heart of Lorraine Regional Nature Park, it’s a lovely summer destination for families and sailing enthusiasts. Take to the skies for a birds-eye view of the countryside in a hot air balloon, microlight aircraft, plane, glider or helicopter flight. The hot-air balloon world capital is based at Chambley Planet’Air and every two years holds the spectacular Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons festival. Weigh anchor at Pont-à-Mousson Marina and explore Prémontrés Abbey, Duroc Square, a triangle of 16th century arcaded houses, and the Renaissance ‘House of the 7 Deadly Sins’.
Bar-le-Duc was the historic capital of the Duchy of Bar and Lorraine and is justly famous for the wonderfully preserved Renaissance architectural splendour of its Upper Town. Old town-houses, elegant facades in ochre-coloured stone, finely sculpted reliefs… it’s certainly not difficult to imagine the splendour of the town in the 16th and 17th centuries. Bar-le-Duc also houses work by the renowned artist Ligier-Richier and the annual ‘RenaissanceS’ festival. Commercy Château is nearby, a favourite royal residence of King Stanislas. The Joan of Arc Museum is at Vaucouleurs, where her journey towards her destiny at Chinon began.