The Douaumont Ossuary in Verdun, France, is a memorial site to the soldiers who died whilst fighting in the Battle of Verdun during the First World War. The Battle of Verdun was one of the fiercest during World War One, lasting from 21 February 1916 to December 1916 and resulting in estimated casualties of 400,000 soldiers for each of the French and German armies who fought in it.
The Douaumont Ossuary houses the bones of approximately 130,000 unknown soldiers from both sides, marking a fitting reminder to the savage consequences of this battle and the war as a whole. These remains can been seen through small windows inside the Douaumont Ossuary and the Ossuary’s cloisters are lined with plaques of the names of fallen soldiers and the locations of where each body was recovered. It also has a chapel where ceremonies take place.
Made up of an imposing stone structure with a 46 metre tower and beautifully maintained fields which house a cemetery with the graves of a further 15,000 French soldiers, the Douaumont Ossuary overlooks the battlefield of the Battle of Verdun. Visitors can climb to the top of its tower for panoramic views of these fields.
The first floor of the Douaumont Ossuary is dedicated to a museum of the First World War which includes weaponry, pieces from destroyed villages and the Minenwerfer, a well preserved 76 mm German mortar. Visitors to the Douaumont Ossuary can view a twenty minute film on the heroism of the Verdun soldiers in German, English and Dutch, which is shown every half hour.
The Douaumont Ossuary is in Verdun, approximately 167 miles from Paris (3hr journey) via route A4 (a partial toll road) east, exit 30 (Verdun). There are trains to Verdun from Paris’s Gare de L’Est, but with most of them you have to change at Chalons-en-Champagne (3hrs). Direct trains are infrequent, but available (1hr 40).
Open daily, 2pm-5pm (6pm April-Sept, 5:30pm Oct, 5pm Nov-Dec) Closes noon-2pm in March, Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec. Closed Jan-Feb school holidays. Admission costs 4 Euros for adults and 3 Euros for children. Group concessions available.
Route D913, 55100 - DOUAUMONT