Sedan Things to Do

  • Sedan with the fortress in the center
    Sedan with the fortress in the center
    by mtncorg
  • Looking across the heights of La Marfee to Balan
    Looking across the heights of La Marfee...
    by mtncorg
  • Three Germans lie to a grave here at La Marfee
    Three Germans lie to a grave here at La...
    by mtncorg

Most Recent Things to Do in Sedan

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    LA MARFEE

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Looking across the heights of La Marfee to Balan

    The heights to the southwest of Sedan, la Marfee, have figured strongly in several epochs of battles that have rattled around Sedan through the ages. The first large encounter was 6 July 1641, one of the countless encounters of the Thirty Years War. Sedan was a local principality at the time under the leadership of Frederic de la Tour d’Auvergne – his son would become Marshal Turenne, one of the most famous soldiers of France. Frederic gathered together factions eager to re-establish the privileges of the great feudal lords that had been lost to Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. He also gained support from his friend Ferdinand III, the Holy Roman Emperor. The French royal army under Marshal Gaspard III de Coligny had a slight numerical advantage when he met the Sedannois here at la Marfee, but in only one hour of battle, Frederic led his cavalry around the hills into the Royalist flank and routed them. Despite the defeat, the royal army persevered and besieged Sedan. Frederic agreed to give up on 4 August with Louis XIII giving him command of his Army of Italy in exchange. An inveterate plotter, Sedan was annexed a year late after Frederic was caught conspiring anew.

    The second major episode was the climactic battle of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 on 1 September 1870. As the battle raged around Sedan that day the Prussian king, Wilhelm I, his prime minister, Otto von Bismarck, and the chief of the Prussian General Staff, Helmut von Moltke, all watched from these heights.

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    MONUMENT TO THE CHASSEURS D”AFRIQUE

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    Regimental monuments lead to the main event
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    Behind the French WWII cemetery you come to a large monument dedicated to the Chasseurs d’Afrique with a separate monument to each of the different regiments who have been a part of the Chasseurs. The different regiments have seen actions in most of the many wars France has fought since the unit’s inception early in the 19th century. A list of the battles in each conflict is noted upon each regimental monument. There is also a mass grave to those men of the Chasseurs who died in the charges here at Floing.

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    FRENCH CEMETERY FLOING

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    Entrance to the WWII French Floing Cemetery
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    Actually, there are two French military cemeteries at Floing. The first is where some of the cavalrymen of General Maurgeritte are buried. German panzers would crash through the cemetery during the fighting here in May 1940. Up higher on the little road you come to a much bigger cemetery – not as many mass graves as below. There are a fair number of Muslim soldiers buried here. The introductory note at the entrance to the cemetery describes some of the fighting that took place here in May 1940.

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    ILLY WAYSIDE CROSS

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009
    Illy Cross stands atop Plain of Illy
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    This small cross above Sedan was the scene of some the hardest fighting on 1 September 1870. The French position here was gradually destroyed by concentrated Prussian artillery fire from all directions throughout the day. When the French were forced off the little plateau they dissolved into the nearby woods where the cannonade became even deadlier. They would surrender by the battalion or flee back into the town of Sedan.

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    ILLY WAYSIDE CROSS

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    Illy Cross stands atop Plain of Illy
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    This small cross above Sedan was the scene of some the hardest fighting on 1 September 1870. The French position here was gradually destroyed by concentrated Prussian artillery fire from all directions throughout the day. When the French were forced off the little plateau they dissolved into the nearby woods where the cannonade became even deadlier. They would surrender by the battalion or flee back into the town of Sedan.

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    OSSUARY AT BAZEILLES

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    Monument atop the Ossuary of Bazeilles
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    The Bavarians captured Bazeilles on 31 August 1870 but French marines – the Blue Division because of the color of their uniforms – recaptured the town late in the day. The next day, the Bavarians were back in over numbering force and eventually the French were forced out of town once more. About 100 meters down the street from the Last Cartridge House you will find a sign pointing to the Ossuary which lies at the back of the Bazeilles community cemetery. The Ossuary holds about 3,000 men from both the Bavarian side – they are buried in common tombs – and the French side – they are laid out in gloomy skeletal fashion, side-by-side-by-side. Ever bit as powerful as its much larger cousin at Douamont in Verdun.

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    LAST CARTRIDGE HOUSE – BAZEILLES

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    The Last Cartridge House in Bazeilles

    A former inn and now a museum, this house on the north edge of Bazeilles was occupied by about 30 French marines under Commandant Lambert. They were surrounded by men of the 15th Bavarian Regiment and fought here for over four hours down to their last cartridge before giving up. The marines were originally going to be used to invade the northern German coast, but events moved too fast for that to occur and they had been added on to the Army of Chalons. The marines would give as well as they got on this day. Proof is to be found down the street in the Ossuary.

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    CEMETERIES AT LA MARFEE

    by mtncorg Written Jun 25, 2009

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    Cross rises above German Cemetery at Noyer
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    There is a French cemetery atop La Marfee with some 4500 men who died in the fighting during the retreat in 1914 after the failure of the French Battle of the Frontiers in the Ardennes. There are also several British soldiers buried from both World War I and II here as well. Down the hill a bit to the south you will find the much larger Noyers-Pont-Maugis German cemetery which contains 14,000 graves from the First World War and almost 13,000 from the Second War. Almost 5,000 of the graves are ‘unbekannt’ = unknown. French defenses here were swept aside in heavy fighting 12 May 1940 opening the way for German panzers to race west towards the coast as a part of their Sichelschnitt operation which succeeded in cutting the Allied line in two. It was 1870 all over again for France, but with a much more ruthless German at the helm.

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    FORTRESS

    by mtncorg Updated Jun 25, 2009

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    Sedan with the fortress in the center

    The first fortifications here at Sedan were erected in 1535 with a central citadel dating to about the mid 16th century. Jean Errard helped the Prince of Sedan enlarge and create the main fortifications in 1585. Vauban would later make improvements on Errard’s work. Today, mainly the central citadel is all that is left of the once much larger works. Guided tours and a gift shop are here as well as a hotel which fills an old powderhouse.

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    The largest fortified castle of Europe

    by floche2001 Written Aug 24, 2008

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    6 centuries old castle is a must see while visiting the region of Bouillon Sedan. Just accross the belgian/french border, Sedan is a quiet little town.
    The viist of the fortified castle was nice and during the month of august there were mediaval tournaments. A nice moment to share in family.
    Take care, the place is definitly not accessible for disabled or with kids buggies (many stairs).
    Entrance fee is 7,5 € for adults and 5 € for kids (2008)

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Sedan Things to Do

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