Monuments et lieux de mémoire de la Première Guerre mondiale

Commemorative Plaque at the Church of Saint-Gervais
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The commemorative heritage of Paris and its surrounding area is not especially rich in monuments dedicated to remembrance of the First World War, as Paris was not directly affected by the fighting. Paris was not involved in the war and so there are few monuments to the military operations. However, there are some monuments that directly evoke certain phases, for example the concentrated advance of German troops threatening Paris in September 1914: [list]The American monument in Meaux to the First Battle of the Marne
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The monument was erected on the road from Varreddes to Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), on the exact spot where the German offensive on the Marne was halted in September 1914.

Its creator was the American sculptor Frederick Mac Monnies. The financing of the project was secured from 1916 onwards by subscriptions from more than 4 million American citizens. The memorial was seen as a symbolic gesture, comparable to France's donation of Bartholdi's statue of liberty. It was unveiled on the 11th September 1932 in the presence of President Albert Lebrun, President of the Council Edouard Herriot and American General John Pershing. [list]There are also a certain number of plaques recalling the bombing of Paris by redeployed naval canons, between March and April 1918. These long-range bombings (120 kilometres) that claimed more than 800 victims (wounded and killed) were wrongly attributed to the enormous "Big Bertha" howitzer, used by the Germans along the front to destroy enemy forts and trenches. One highly symbolic plaque recalls the greatest disaster caused at 3 pm on the 29th March 1918 by a shell landing on the Church of Saint-Gervais, located behind the Town Hall, as a large audience attended a religious music concert: 91 people were killed.

Monuments dedicated to the important figures of the Great War

In contrast, there are several monuments dedicated to the protagonists and important figures who lived or "made" the Great War.

Amongst the latter, soldiers are well represented:

Joseph JOFFRE (Marshal)


at 6 rue Michel-Ange - Paris 16th

Plaque outside no. 6 rue Michel-Ange, Paris 16th, where Marshal Joffre (1852-1931) lived from 1909 to 1919. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Joseph JOFFRE (Marshal)Plaqueat 17 avenue de Lamballe

Paris 16th

"Marshal Joffre 1852-1931, Conqueror of the Marne, lived here until the end of his life"
Marshal FOCHPlaquein Bombon


During the offensive of the summer of 1918, the HQ of the allied armies, under the command of Foch, moved into the château. A plaque mounted inside the church recalls this event
Marshal FOCHPlaqueat 52 avenue de Saxe

Paris 7th

In May 1917, his family moved into this house which they would leave in 1920. It was to here that Foch returned on the evening of the Victory, as recalled by a plaque which was mounted in 1930

General MANGIN


in Place de l'église Saint-François-Xavier

Paris 8th

This monument, dedicated to General Mangin, replaced the one blown up by the Nazis in June 1940

Statue of General Mangin. Photograph by Franck Segretain. Source: MINDEF/SGA/DMPA

Georges-Marie GUYNEMERInscriptionat the Panthéon

Paris 5th

In accordance with the recommendation of the Chamber of Deputies on the 19th October 1917, Guynemer's name was registered at the Panthéon.
Georges-Marie GUYNEMERSteleat the Cité de l'Air (Air Force headquarters) - boulevard Victor

Paris 15th

The Cité de l'Air was named after Captain Guynemer, on the 2nd July 1984.

Some monuments relate to the "political figures" who ran the country during the war Georges CLEMENCEAU Statue in the Avenue des Champs Elysées Paris

Georges CLEMENCEAUStone bustin the Palais du Luxembourg


Stone bust - a work by the sculptor Sicard. On lectern no. 14, a medallion engraved with the President's face in profile marks his seat in the debating hall.
Georges CLEMENCEAUPlaqueat 8 rue Franklin


Clemenceau's apartment and office.
Georges CLEMENCEAUMonumentParis 8thThe monument of Clemenceau "the Tiger" is a work by Coigniet.



at the Palais du Luxembourg


The character of the former senator of the Meuse is evoked by a bust mounted near the entrance to the palace

Famous civilians and intellectuals who died during the war are also well represented

Charles PEGUY (Poet)Monumentin Chauconin-Neufmontiers


Monument in the national cemetery where Charles Péguy is laid to rest
Guillaume APOLLINAIRE (Poet)Plaqueat 202 bd Saint-Germain

Paris 7th

In this house the poet Guillaume Apollinaire... lived and died

In the same manner, several monuments recall those lost from the great Parisian institutions

Here we should mention the monument to those who died from the finance inspectorate (1920), the one of the Ecole normale supérieure - a teacher training college - (1923), both the work of the great sculptor Landowski and the one of the Légion d'Honneur (1925) by Henri Bouchard. The monuments to France's Allies France recognised very early on the debt she owed to her allies and there are therefore several monuments dotted throughout the Ile-de-France area. Here are a few, listed by nationality: [list]Belgian: Paris (20th, in the Père Lachaise cemetery: a monument to the dead;

Paris (8th) in the cours de la Reine: a monument to King Albert 1st, Paris (8th) in the place de la Reine Astrid: a monument to the Franco-Belgian agreement; [list]British: in La Ferté sous Jouarre (Seine et Marne): a memorial to those lost in the battles of Mons, the Marne and the Aisne, as well as a Monument to the "Royal engineers" of the 4th Division (battles of 1914); [list]Italian: in Ivry/Seine (Val de Marne), in the local cemetery, an Italian square with a monument; Paris (20th) Père Lachaise Cemetery: a monument to the Italian volunteers of the Foreign Legion:

[list]Polish: Paris (7th) at the Hôtel des Invalides: a commemorative plaque; [list]Portuguese: Paris (16th): a commemorative plaque on the avenue des Portugais; [list]Romanian: Paris (8th) on the avenue de l'Opéra, a plaque commemorating the Romanian unity committee (1917-1919); [list]Czech: Paris (20th): a monument to the dead in the Père Lachaise cemetery; a plaque on the rue Bonaparte (temporary government) 1916) Monuments to French colonial troops, the example of the tropical Garden In 1899, a trial garden was created in the bois de Vincennes to study and grow tropical plants for production. Between May and October 1907, the site served as the setting for a large colonial exhibition, most notable for the reconstruction of native villages (Congolese and Madagascan etc.).

Some buildings were also constructed or relocated. As an example, the "Reunion pavilion" had existed since 1901 and the one in Tunisia was built in 1907; the "Chinese gateway" came from the colonial exhibition of 1906, which took place at the Grand-palais in Paris. During the 1914-1918 war, buildings erected for the exhibition of 1907, most notably the "Indochinese pavilion", were used as temporary military hospitals (the dead were buried in the Nogent/Marne cemetery). In 1917, an association founded by ex-servicemen of the Far East, wanting to pay tribute to the Annamite tirailleurs "who died for France", received ownership of the public Thu Dau Mot temple from the state, which was converted into a Buddhist temple in memory of those who had died. In 1919, the Emperor of Annam, Khai Dinh, decided to dedicate these sites to the spirit of the Annamites. At the same time, two monuments were built nearby: one to the Christian Indochinese and the other to the Laotians and Cambodians.

In 1927, the Emperor Khai Dinh and his son - who would later become the Bao Daï - paid a visit to the temple (destroyed in 1984, it would be replaced by a symbolic pagoda in 1992).

Because the site had become, since the dedication of the pagoda, manifestly devoted to the memory of the dead, other monuments were erected in the 1920's: a monument dedicated to the Black people who "died for France" 15, another, more general one to the "Colonials" (in an extremely broad sense: the Tonkinese, Tahitians, Congolese, Indochinese and those from Martinique etc.), and a third to Madagascan soldiers.

Finally, Paris is of course the capital city and as such plays host to some of the monuments that are "national symbols" of this conflict.

Although the Monument to the "Glory of the French Army 1914-1918" is in the 16th arrondissement, it is at the Arc de Triomphe that the Unknown Soldier has reposed since the morning of the 28th January 1921, the symbol, if ever there was one, of the massacre that this war represented to the French population.

At the Invalides are the remains of some of the great chiefs of the French army during the conflict. Marshal Foch was buried in the Church of Saint-Louis, where a ceremony is held each year by the Military Governor of Paris in the presence of his family, the Military Attaché of Great Britain and the Military Attaché of Poland in France. An unrecognised aspect is the architectural and cultural heritage of the Great War. One of the consequences of the First World War was the construction of the Great Mosque of Paris (the first mosque to be built in France), the principal decision for which was taken following the Battle of Verdun, which claimed the lives of a great number of Muslims. The first stone was laid in 1922 and it was opened on the 15th July 1926 by the President of the Republic, Gaston Doumergue.

In the churches, there are numerous plaques and/or chapels that also recall the sacrifice of a large number of Parisians. The "wave" of construction of monuments to the dead also dates from immediately after the war. The majority of the monuments were created between 1919 and 1923. The state participated in this movement by making provisions in the bill of the 25th October 1919 for grants for those towns that wanted to honour those from their community who had "died for France". The Parisian museums of the Ile-de-France region The memory of the conflict is borne by numerous museum halls and themed museums, most notably: [list] Clemenceau's house in Moret-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne);

[list]The Clemenceau Museum, in Paris [list]the international contemporary document library in Paris (former war museum); [list]the three "defence" museums (the Army Museum, the Naval Museum and the Air and Space Museum); [list]the Carrier Pigeon Museum in Suresnes; [list]the Museum of the traditions of the republican guard.

The national necropoles and military graveyards

A certain number of national necropoles also leave their mark on the Ile-de-France region, amongst them: [list]Chauconin-Neufmontiers (in Seine-et-Marne) known as "the Great Tomb of Villeroy", is an ossuary where Péguy, who was killed on the 5th September 1914 during the Battle of the Ourcq River, was laid to rest; [list]Etrepilly and Chambry (where there is the monument to those who died from "the Army of Paris") are two other national necropoles from the same battle. We should also mention the Parisian military graveyards where the soldiers who died in the city's hospitals in the course of the conflict were laid to rest. France's former Allies and enemies also have their own cemeteries, for example:

[list]the American cemetery in Suresnes; [list]the graveyard of 748 Serb soldiers in Thiais (Val-de-Marne); [list]the German graveyard in Versailles, which houses 37 graves from 1914-18... A tour of the graves of Père Lachaise There are several individual monuments scattered around the Parisian cemeteries, the most famous of which is Père Lachaise, bearing witness, like so many of the individual memorial sites, to the tragedy that the First World War caused for millions of anonymous people. Here the grave of Apollinaire is the most noteworthy.

This brief list does not claim to be exhaustive, but tries to show the various types of First World War monuments and memorial sites that Parisian visitors or those "passing through" can expect to find in the Ile-de-France region.