I talk about WWII and the occupation of Paris with my guests who visit. I do it in a very simplistic way. I visit memorials and interpret historical markers. Scholastically speaking, I don’t really know that much about the war.
But now, living in a country where they really did feel and see the impact of the war, well, it makes you sit up straight. I’m sure that American Veterans have this experience as well when they are sent to fight war in other countries. They see it and feel it in a way the rest of us can’t.
This weekend, I visited the Museum of Jean Moulin, which ended up being THREE museums. One devoted to the memory of General Philippe Leclerc, another to the Liberation of Paris and the last to Jean Moulin, who fought for the Resistance.
One thing certain that I came away with from this visit is that France DID fight in the second world war. And not just from London and not just underground. That other museum dedicated to General Leclerc tells quite a story, and a surprising amount about the French WOMEN involved in the fight!
And yet, the story really starts with the first World War. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the battle of Verdun. The battle that took the lives of some 700,000+ men, both French and German. There’s an exhibition set up on the Champs Elysees in front of the Grand Palais that explains some but begs us all to visit the memorial at Verdun.