Oct 20, 2010


Verdun area has seen fierce fighting during the Great War (not so great for the soldiers). There are many American monuments there related to that war. Verdun is not far away from Luxembourg and features many scenic roads and viewpoints, as well as numerous unpaved roads :)

Going east from Longuyon:

Now a mountain is visible that I will reach soon:

On the way I went through Louppy-sur-Loison. The river going thru the town has bridges but also old fordings next to them.

In the town of 122 people there is a castle, one of the most amazing examples of the Renaissance style in the region. It was built in the first half of the seventeenth century. Louis XIV lived there during the siege of Montmedy in the summer of 1657. During the first World War it was pillaged by the German army. During World War II, it was occupied and served as a prison camp. The castle has an English garden that grows along a meander of Loison and consists of rare species. But I missed that part. [1]

Surely there is a church:

Finally I have arrived near the mountain seen from the distance. I have tried some dirt roads, but they ended at a Foret Domainale - so no-go. But when going thru Lion-devant-Dun I have found an open trial (car accessible) going up the mountain.

Le Mont Saint-Germain - formerly ARIMONT is completely isolated from the massive Côtes de Meuse. The summit of the northern tip is a wonderful viewpoint where you see the whole forest of Woëvre (foret domainale), Stenay, Montmedy, St. Walfroy, and the cemetery in Marville.

The elevated position of Mont Saint-Germain, near a river, overlooking a vast plain and with steep slopes makes it very difficult to access the plateau that crowns the hill. Romans choose this mountain to establish a permanent camp, and some ground modifications remain to be seen today. On this site various antiques, medals, weapons, tombs, bones and remains of buildings were discovered. There are archeoligical findings related to Romans, dating as far as AD 588. For many years hill sides were used for wine growing but that ended with a wine disease destroying the wineyards in 1860. The coral rock, which is forming the top of the Saint-Germain, contains an abundance of polyps, and even a rare fossilized snake was found there once. [1]

The hill has at least two spots with paragliding runways oriented in opposite directions:

There is also a monument but the description is hardly readable:

Continuing on dirt roads I reached a secluded village of 41 people called Fontaines-Saint-Clair. From there I tried a very promising dirt road but after a couple of km it became a muddy road. Too muddy, and on the map it was not too promising. So back to the village and another road became a very nice dirt road leading all the way to the river Meuse, near Vilosnes-Haraumont.

From there I went on scenic roads going up, cut across dirt and gravel roads and finally arrived at a monument:

There are "villages that died for France" - never rebuild since they were destroyed during the battle of Verdun in 1916.

This monument, erected at the initiative of Captain GLOCK of Pittsburg in memory of officers and soldiers of the American regiment of 316 ° 79 ° who died in the area of Verdun. One side of the monument tells the story of the regiment since its’ organization at Camp Meade, Maryland, United States, August 29, 1917, until the discharge, June 9, 1919. The 316 ° has lost 78 officers and 3128 soldiers.

Montfacon has seen battles with Vikings raiding the area in the 9th century. But the monument there commemorates the American victory during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during the period September 26, 1918 to November 11, 1918, when the American First Army forced the enemy to conduct a general retreat on this front.

Further I have rode past Butte de Vauqois, where the French and the Germans were mining under each other and blowing up each other.

Then I headed home...

[1] Source: Wikipedia