Tourism - The Battle of Verdun (World War I)

The Battle of Verdun
21st February 1916 - 19th December 1916 (World War I)

On February 21st in 1916, the German army sets off his major offensive against Verdun. This date marks the beginning of a nightmare. The “hell of Verdun” (l’Enfer de Verdun) will last 10 months; 300 days and 300 nights of ceaseless and murderous battles.

The concentration of so much fighting in such a small area devastated the land, resulting in miserable conditions for troops on both sides. Rain combined with the constant tearing up of the ground turned the clay of the area to a wasteland of mud full of human remains. Shell craters became filled with a liquid ooze, becoming so slippery that troops who fell into them or took cover in them could drown. Forests were reduced to tangled piles of wood by constant artillery-fire and eventually obliterated. The effect on soldiers in the battle was devastating, many broke down with shell-shock and some French troops attempted to desert to Spain, those who were caught being shot. On 20 March French deserters disclosed details of the French defences to the Germans, who were able to surround 2,000 men and force them to surrender. Many troops at the battle never saw an enemy soldier, experiencing nothing but artillery shells and many troops on both sides called Verdun "Hell".

A French lieutenant at Verdun who was later killed by an artillery shell wrote in his diary on 23 May 1916:
"Humanity is mad. It must be mad to do what it is doing. What a massacre! What scenes of horror and carnage! I cannot find words to translate my impressions. Hell cannot be so terrible. Men are mad!"

An estimate in 2000 found a total of 714,231 casualties, 377,231 French and 337,000 German, an average of 70,000 casualties for each month of the battle. It was the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history; other recent estimates increase the number of casualties to 976,000. (source: Wikipedia)

300 days of continuous fighting, 60 million shells fell on a small area of only 20 km2, more than 300 000 deaths, French and German, nearly 400,000 wounded ... These figures show the intensity of the Battle of Verdun. Trenches, communication trenches and shell holes are still visible. Many military cemeteries and ruins also remember those tragic memories.

We recommend this tour to Verdun as an extension of our tour to the Maginot Line (Sedan) or vice versa. With night in, why not, Hotel Château Fort de Sedan (medieval castle) for example.
Another combination would be: Ypres incl. Last Post (night in Ypres) - The Somme (night in Reims) - Verdun. All WWI battlefields.

Depending on time available, we suggest following private guided Verdun Battlefield tour:

. The Sacred Road (Voie Sacrée) from Bar-le-Duc to Verdun
. The Bois des Caures - Colonel Driant Command Post
. The Musée Mémorial Verdun - optional
. The site of the destroyed village of Fleury (one of the 9 villages completely wiped out during the Battle of Verdun)
. The Fort of Douaumont
. Douaumont, where the bones of 130,000 unknown French and German soldiers rest in the Ossuary, and more than 150,000 other soldiers in the necropolis (cemetery)
. The Fort of Vaux
. The Trench of Bayonets

Optional would be the Underground Citadel, in Verdun.

We also offer following 2 days/1 night tour:

From The Battle of the Frontiers in Gaume (August 1914) to The Battle of Verdun (February 1916)

Day 1

Leaving Dinant

The Battle of the Frontiers in Gaume - from 22 to 26 August 1914
"L'ennemi sera attaqué partout où on le rencontrera" (Joffre).

Rossignol - 22 August 1914


Virton Bellevue : Franco-German Cemetery

Virton : free time for a (quick) lunch

The Great Retreat - 24 August 1914

Direction Verdun, via Montmédy (27 August 1914)

The Battle of Verdun - the apocalypse from 21 February 2016 to 19 December 2016


The Bois des Caures and Colonel Driant

Beaumont - one of the destroyed villages
Nine villages around Verdun will be completely destroyed and never rebuilt: Beaumont, Bezonvaux, Cumières, Douaumont, Fleury, Haumont, Louvemont, Ornes, Vaux.

Hotel in Verdun


Day 2

Douaumont :

. The Battle of Verdun Memorial (Musée Mémorial Verdun) - optional
. The Douaumont Ossuary & Cemetery
. The Fort of Douaumont
. The Trench of the Bayonets

(quick) lunch in Douaumont

The Postwar: The Maginot Line (1928-1940)

The Ouvrage de La Ferté

The Maginot Line

Return to Dinant (or Brussels), via the Trappist Abbey of Orval (free time)

All our tours are private (guided) tours: only you / your group will be on board.
On board our Ford Tourneo for up to 7 people, or our Fiat for up to 15 people.
Foresee some walking.

If you are looking for a guide only, check out !

Contact us for more details :

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Chaussée Romaine, 10
B-5500 Dinant

phone/fax: +32-(0)82-21 96 37
GSM: +32-(0)475-24 26 50

Skype: scenic-tours
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Creation date : 29/10/2013 @ 20:40
Last update : 10/04/2017 @ 16:09
Category : Tourism

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