12 symbolic sites in France

Doing memorial tourism is, first and foremost, exploring a region that has gone through important moments in its history.

Due to its geographical location and history, France thousands of sites dedicated to commemoration. Mainly dating from the two world wars of the 20th century, they trace key events and allow visitors to reflect as well as maintain memory function so that these important places of our common heritage are not forgotten. Where to do souvenir tourism in France? Here are the 12 most emblematic places!


Verdun, located in the northeast of the country, The famous battle that took place during World War I. Here you can visit various museums and monuments, such as Fort Douaumont, where a guided tour is available. Verdun Monument should be. Just like its cemetery, which houses the remains of more than 100,000 soldiers.

Douaumont Cemetery
Douaumont’s Tomb © rdnzl

And direction to better understand the living conditions of Poilus Chattancourt trench it offers a 100-meter track where the visitor can project himself on the skin of a soldier, thanks to many explanations and exhibits.

? READ ALSO : Visit Verdun and its surroundings

landing beaches

On June 6, 1944, allied troops land on the Normandy coast. This exceptional event, France’s II. It led to his victory over the Nazis in World War II. Prepare your accommodation and head to Utah Beach, Juno Beach or Omaha Beach to see the area’s most iconic landmarks. Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery will also be a highlight as well to visit Caen Monument.

Statue of the Brave at Omaha Beach
Statue of the Brave at Omaha Beach © artfocus

Ladies’ Way

The high place of memory tourism, the Chemin des Dames in Aisne, witness death of thousands of young soldiers during the First World War. 8 sites over 35 km allow you to relive this sad period. Besides cemeteries, villages and old battlements, spend a few hours at the Refugees Museum. Dragon CaveAt Oulches-La-Vallée-Foulon.

Dragon Cave in Chemin des Dames
Dragon Cave in Chemin des Dames © Poudou99 / Wikimedia Commons

READ ALSO : 10 must-visit places to understand WW1

Maginot Line

This set of fortifications is intended Consolidating borders during World War IIwas created by André Maginot, who was then Meuse’s deputy. The site is now open to visitors and Memorial Museum It is a wonderful account of the daily life of 800 men living in the underground galleries.

Maginot line in memory tourism
Part of the Maginot Line © tobago77


In Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, in Pas-de-Calais, that is largest french national necropolis. Surrounding the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Basilica are more than 20,000 tombs and eight ossicles to pay homage. fallen soldiers during the Great War. Extend your historic visit by heading to the neighboring town of Vimy, where there is a monumental white statue. 11,225 names of Canadian soldiers who died during this conflictaccompanied by many trees.

Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in memory tourism
Our Lady of Loreto © havana1234


Doing commemorative tourism also means paying homage to great men. This town in Haute-Marne, Marked by General de GaullePlaying a decisive role during the Second World War and Liberation. erected in his memory famous Cross of LorraineSymbol of Free France, it is also a monument Fascinating allowing you to relive much of 20th century history through the eyes of the former president.

Cross of Lorraine
Cross of Lorraine © didier salou


This small village in Limousin experienced a day of horror: 4 days after D-Day in 1944, German SS soldiers massacred the entire population there, a total of 642 dead. The men were shot dead in the barns, while the women and children were imprisoned in the church and burned alive. To reflect this tragedy, the ruins were left as they were and a memory center built.

Oradour-sur-Glane in memory tourism
Oradour-sur-Glane © 4olivierphoto

Izieu House

located in Ain, Izieu House It is also called the Monument to the Exterminated Jewish Children. Indeed, this is where hundreds of children were gathered before being sent to Nazi extermination camps. Now turned into a museum, it pays homage to these lost children, but above all to itself. to convey a universal message of peace and tolerance.

house of Izieu
Izieu house © Jorge Alves

Shoah Memorial Museum

Indispensable for commemoration tourism Shoah Memorial Museum, in Paris, presents permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as an extensive documentation centre. The most moving part is the “names wall” where the names are written. Names of 70,000 Jews deported from France. The “Wall of Honest” collects the names of French resistance fighters.

Shoah Monument in Paris
Shoah Monument in Paris © frdric

Armistice Wagon

It is in the forest of Compiègne in the signed commune of Rethondes. First World War Armistice Between the German generals and Field Marshal Foch. to be calm, This famous signature was cast on the 2419D car of a train.. The original wagon burned down in 1945, but Armistice 14-18 Museum visiting one of the same series exhibiting objects from the period.

Replica of the wagon in the Armistice Museum for memorial tourism
Replica of the wagon at the Armistice Museum © Fab5669 / Wikimedia Commons

Arc de triomphe

This work, commissioned by Napoleon, One of the most important historical heritage of Paris. First dedicated to the Revolutionary and Imperial armies at its opening in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe has been paying tribute since 1921. unknown soldier. In addition, a memorial fire is lit every evening at 18.30. From its top, you will have an amazing view of the Champs-Élysées!

Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Arc de Triomphe in Paris © ahriam12

Père Lachaise Cemetery

This is another type of memory tourism: Father Lachaise. It is the largest but also the most famous cemetery in Paris with a total of 70,000 graves. Inside a wooded place that invites contemplationYou will be able to see the funeral concessions of many well-known figures such as Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Molière, Balzac, Jean de la Fontaine.

Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père-Lachaise cemetery © hdemestier

If you are interested in memory tourism, it is because history has an important place in your life!

To complete this article, take a look at the article dedicated to 17 sites to learn the History of France. Do you know any other places dedicated to the past? don’t hesitate Share it in the comments!

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