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The Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial

October 31, 2012

Remains and souvenirs of both World Wars are a common sight in Paris. War memorials  can be seen in almost all arrondissements but only few people venture outside Paris to visit the Mount Valerien, a suburban hill rich in history. Mount Valerien is dominated by a fort that was built by Napoleon I in the 19th century. The fort was occupied during WWII by German soldiers who executed more than 4.500 political prisoners  and members of the French Resistance. A Monument honors their memory at the entrance of the fort.

Mount Valerien also hosts one of the 8 permanent cemeteries in Europe for American Soldiers. The United Stated has had perpetual use of this piece of land for more than 90 years. The Cemetery is a 7.5 acres garden with more than 1.500 headstones honoring 1.541 victims of World War I and 24 Unknowns from WWII. It is divided into 4 plots, three for WWI victims and one for WWII victims. Each tomb has a white-marble stone with either a Latin cross or a star of David, with no distinction as to rank.

It was created in 1917 in order to bury American victims of the fights who died in Parisian hospitals. The Cemetery was dedicated in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson.

The White Chapel at the top of the Cemetery was completed in 1932. It is surrounded by two loggias and two Memorial Rooms where Bas-Reliefs, statues and tablets listing Missing in Action celebrate the memory of soldiers. An additional plot and a celebrating loggia were added at the end of WWII to pay tribute to 24 unknown American soldiers.

Last but not least, with its location at the top of a hill, the cemetery offers nice views on Paris and more specifically on “La Défense”, the business district, and the Eiffel Tower.

Other WWI American cemeteries in France include:

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery

St. Mihiel American Cemetery

Somme American Cemetery

Meuse-Argonne, Romagne

Other WWI American cemeteries in France include:

Epinal American Cemetery

Lorraine American Cemetery

Draguignan American Cemetery

How to get there?

  • Take the “suburban train” at the Saint-Lazare train station (departing from one of the first 4 platforms)
  • Take a train heading to “Versailles Rive Droite” and make sure it stops at the “Suresnes – Mont Valérien” station
  • Get off at  the “Suresnes – Mont Valérien” station
  • When you exit the train station, take the “rue Worth” on your right
  • Turn right on the rue du Calvaire and walk ~300 meters
  • Turn right on the “Boulevard Washington” and walk ~200 meters
  • The cemetery will be on your left.

Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial

123, boulevard Washington

92150 Suresnes

Open every day from 9am to 5pm

+33 1 46 25 01 70

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