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Meuse (55) - France Travel Notes

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Travel Notes: France: Departments: Meuse

Department map of France showing the location of Meuse.

The department of Meuse is located in the region of Lorraine.

The prefecture is Bar-le-Duc and the sous-prefectures are Commercy and Verdun.

Neighbouring departments are Ardennes, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges.

Meuse Tourism

The department is named after the river Meuse (Maas in Holland).

The Meuse is about two hours from Paris and Strasbourg or three hours from Brussels, Frankfurt and Maastricht; making it better known to French tourists and visitors from Belgium, Germany, Holland and Luxembourg than those from Britain.

The TGV Est (Paris-Strasbourg) service cuts journey times to La Meuse down to just over an hour; with a brand new station (TGV Meuse) built between Verdun and Bar-le-Duc (1km away from the 'Voie Sacr�e', the World War I supply road between Bar-le-Duc and Verdun).

During the First World War, one of the longest battles was fought in the countryside around Verdun.

La Meuse’s strategic, geographic location has given the area a rich cultural and architectural heritage worth exploring and one which will appeal to   history buffs who enjoy discovering some of the more unusual facts and figures.

Tourism Meuse:
33 Rue des Grangettes - Bar le Duc.
While the Meuse Tourism website is primarily in French, they do have PDF guides available to download; in English, Germand and Dutch.

Gites de Meuse:
The descriptions of Gites in Meuse are only available in French but you can look at the pictures.

Meuse Chamber of Commerce:
6, parc Bradfer - Bar le Duc.

Contacting Meuse Tourist Offices

Office de tourisme de Bar-le-Duc:
5 rue Jeanne d'Arc - Bar le Duc.

Office de tourisme de Clermont en Argonne:
5/6 place de la Republique - Clermont en Argonne.

Office de tourisme de Commercy:
Place Charles De Gaulle - Commercy.

Office de tourisme de Damvillers:
23 rue Carnot - Damvillers.

Office de tourisme d' Etain:
31 rue Poincaré - Etain.

Office de tourisme de Ligny en Barrois:
7 rue de l'Asile - Ligny en Barrois.

Office de tourisme de Montmedy:
Citadelle de Montmedy - Montmedy.

Office de tourisme de Revigny sur Ornain:
Rue du Stade - Revigny sur Ornain.

Office de tourisme de Saint Mihiel:
Rue du Palais de Justice - St Mihiel.

Office de tourisme de Stenay:
Place Poincaré - Stenay.

Office de tourisme du Val Dunois:
Avenue de la Gare - Doulcon.

Office de tourisme de Vaucouleurs:
15 rue Jeanne d'Arc - Vaucouleurs.

Office de tourisme de Verdun:
Place de la Nation - Verdun.

Bar-le-Duc

With the reign of Rene II began the most prosperous period of Bar-le-Duc's history.

The old historic centre of Bar-le-Duc is an exceptional treasure of Renaissance architecture from this illustrious period in the 15th century.

The College Gilles de Trèves, described by Montaigne as 'the most beautiful urban house one could find in France', is only one example of the important Renaissance heritage of Bar-Le-Duc.

Admire the mansions along rue du Bourg (off Place de la Couronne) or stroll over to Place Saint-Pierre, where the elongated shape of the square allowed medieval jousting tournaments to be held, and admire the many old houses along rue des Ducs de Bar.

The annual Renaissance Festival takes place around the end of June or beginning of July.

Conseil General de la Meuse:
Place Pierre Francois Gossin - Bar le Duc.

Mairie de Bar-le-Duc:
In 2002, Bar-le-Duc was given the label of 'Ville d’art et d’histoire' (City of art and history).

Map of Bar-le-Duc:
An interesting map of Bar-le-Duc, where you move a magnifying glass around the plan on the left to see a zoom image moving around on the right.

Commercy

Commercy posseses a 17th century Chateau and a Benedictine convent.

Commercy is also famous for its cakes. King Stanislas of Poland named them 'Madeleines', after the kitchen maid who rustled up some surprise desert for the royal stomach when his own pastry cook fell ill.

Office de Tourisme de Commercy:
Place Charles De Gaulle - Commercy.

Varennes-en-Argonne

Louis XVI was arrested in Varennes-en-Argonne on 21st June 1791, after being recognised at a coach staging post by a member of the public.

His arrest is marked by a plaque on the Tour de l’Horloge (Clock Tower) and there's another plaque marking the site of the house where he spent the night, before being taken to Paris to face his fate.

The Mus�e d’Argonne, in Varennes, has a collection of archive material relevant to the arrest of Louis XVI, during the turbulent period of the French Revolution.

Pennsylvania Memorial:
The American State of Pennsylvania has a memorial in the town, near the museum, and there are two others within easy reach.

The Village of Varennes-en-Argonne:
The picturesque village lies in the midst of the Argonne battlefields.

Vaucouleurs

Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) started her famous campaign against the Anglo-Burgundian troops in Vaucouleurs, where she came to seek support from the Sire de Baudricourt. The locals bought her a horse and armed her, before she set off from Vaucouleurs to join the French Dauphin.

The town’s historic buildings and monuments reflect this period in its history and the museum is dedicated to the local heroine.

To follow the Jeanne d’Arc Trail (either on foot, horse or bike) will take between two and four days; going from her birthplace at Domremy (renamed Domremy-la-Pucelle) to the town of Vaucouleurs, via various sites that are significant in her early history.

Vaucouleurs Office de Tourisme:
15, rue Jeanne D'arc - Vaucouleurs.

Villages Around Vaucoulers:
Map of the area around Vaucouleurs.

Vauquois

The strategic hill northwest of Verdun was the scene of three and a half years of fighting between French and German forces, until the arrival of American troops finally brought the fighting to a close.

Visit the trenches at Vauquois, for an eerie reminder of the battles fought so that we could eventually travel across borders without a passport.

On the first Sunday of the month (and every Sunday in May, June and September) there's a guided tour of the German tunnels; where over a thousand soldiers lived at any on time.

Verdun

It's said that every village in France lost one of its sons in the ten-month battle around Verdun, from February to December 1916, until the Battle on The Somme diverted attention away from here.

The history of Verdun didn't begin in 1916 though.

Verdun Tourisme:
Place de la Nation, Verdun.

Ville de Verdun:
Mairie de Verdun, 11 rue du President Poincaré, Verdun.

Staying in Verdun

Hostellerie du Coq Hardi: Verdun.
8 Avenue de la Victoire, Verdun.
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Official Website:
Hostellerie du Coq Hardi

A delightful 150 year-old hotel overlooking the Meuse River, right on Verdun's main plaza. The rooms are large and comfortable with an excellent but slighty pricey restaurant on the premises. For more budget minded travelers, there are many cafes and boulangeries within easy walking distance.

Book a Room at Hostellerie du Coq Hardi

Verdun is an essential site, for those interested in World War One, and Hostellerie Du Coq Hardi is a comfortable place to return to after a touring the area.

Chateau des Monthairons: (Dieue sur Meuse)
The Chateau is a four-star hotel and restaurant, situated 12km South of Verdun - on the D34.


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