Colombey-les-Deux-Églises Department: Haute-Marne (52)
Region: grand est
[Champagne-Ardenne]

Found on the edge of the Champagne region, bordering Burgundy and Lorraine, Colombey, today a village of fewer than700 souls, has long been a halt on the route from Paris to Basle. But in recent times it rose to fame through its most illustrious citizen, Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, the 18th President of France, who lived in the village at La Boisserie from 1934 until his death in 1970. 

De Gaulle is buried in the cemetery in Colombey, in a humble grave with the inscription "Charles de Gaulle 1890-1970". In addition, a 145ft (44.3 m) high Cross of Lorraine was built at the western exit of the village, commemorating his distinguished wartime role as commander of the Free French Forces.


A memorial museum was inaugurated in October 2008 by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. This joint Franco-German act marked the 50th anniversary of talks in Colombey on 14 September 1958 between Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, as part of the process of post-war reconciliation.


In his Memoirs, De Gaulle lovingly described this Champagne region: “steeped in sadness and melancholy… former mountains drastically eroded and resigned… quiet, modest villages whose soul and location has not changed for thousands of years...”.

In Mémoires de guerre, he wrote: Silence fills my house. From the corner room where I spend most of the day, I embrace the horizon towards the setting sun. No house can be seen over a distance of 15 kilometres. Beyond the plain and the woods, I can see the long curves sloping down towards the Aube valley and the heights rising on the other side. From a high point in the garden, I behold the wild forested depths. I watch the night enveloping the landscape and then, looking at the stars, I clearly realise the insignificance of things.


La Boisserie

During WWII, La Boisserie was severely damaged by the Germans. General de Gaulle only returned with his family in May 1946 after repairs. It has not changed since that time and the public is encouraged to visit this home, where the great leader spent much time thinking and writing.

The public is allowed into the downstairs drawing room, full of mementoes, books, family portraits and photographs of contemporary personalities, into the vast library and the adjacent study where General de Gaulle spent many hours, and the dining room.

Open
April–September daily 10am–1pm, 2–6.30pm
Rest of the year daily except Tue 10am–12.30pm and 2–5.30pm.

Closed
Mid-Dec–Jan. Tel: 03 25 01 52 52


Mémorial Charles-de-Gaulle

Inaugurated on 18 June 1972, the memorial overlooks the village and surrounding forests (including the Clairvaux forest where St Bernard founded his famous abbey in the 12C) from a great height of 397m. 

Open
May–September daily 9.30am–7pm
October–Apr Wed–Mon,10am–5.30pm.

Closed
24–25 and 31 Dec and Jan.
Tel: 03 25 01 50 50.
www.memorial-charlesdegaulle.fr




TOURIST INFORMATION

72 r. du Gén.-de-Gaulle. 52330 Colombey-les-Eglises.
Tel: 03 25 01 52 33.


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