Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Ça tombe comme à Gravelotte…

If you're not French, you're unlikely to have come across that saying. In fact, I get the impression that even those under a certain age will find it unfamiliar. It's used to describe a downpour, but its origin is far more tragic.

Gravelotte, about 11 miles west of Metz, was the scene of some extremely bloody battles in August 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. Seventy-five thousand died in three days of fighting. Gravelotte also hosts a museum to the memory of this episode of history, its antecedents and life in the occupied regions of Alsace and Lorraine from 1871 till 1918 and the 1940 - 1945. Opened in 2014 after its German-built predecessor had been closed in the late 1990's, it's an excellent structure which will tell you all you need to know and more in its thoughtfully-planned exhibition rooms. With an entire section devoted to the tensions and ambitions which led to France declaring war on Prussia in July 1870, it's a comprehensive lesson in a significant thread of nineteenth century European history.

If you do go, have lunch in the nearby restaurant and bar, Le Quinze. It's just a minute's walk away, by the roundabout.
The museum from the German War Cemetery, opposite.

Aformentioned cemetery with memorial shrine.

A cannon. How would you cope without me?

Your lunch awaits…

No comments: