Fort Vaux or 'Fort De Vaux', located just outside Verdun, was a nineteenth century defensive structure which was fiercely defended by French forces during the Battle of Verdun in World War One. It was the second such fort to be captured after the nearby Fort Douaumont.
The soldiers refused to abandon Fort Vaux, staying until they had run out of all supplies and even carrier pigeons. In a famous moment which represents French heroism, Major Raynal, who was in the fort, was using these pigeons to carry messages to his commanding officers and continued trying until he reached his final carrier pigeon, known as Cheramie.
These efforts proved futile and Fort Vaux fell to the Germans in 1916, only to be evacuated and returned to the French in November that same year. Visitors can tour the inside of Fort Vaux, which includes its impressive weaponry and, of course, the pigeon loft.
Fort Vaux is just outside the town of Verdun (confusingly there is a Rue de Faux de Vaux in Verdun). It is on a small road just off route D913. Verdun is approx. 167 miles from Paris. By car from Paris, take route A4 (a partial toll road)east, exit 30 to Verdun, take a slight left at the D163, and another at the D1916. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto the D603 towards Verdun and keep following it to the town. The Fort is just beyond Verdun and, to get there you would continue through Verdun along the D603, turning left onto the D913. The Fort is on a small road which is the first turning to the right once on the D603, by the railway track. By train, you can reach Verdun from Paris’s Gare de L’Est, but most routes require you to change at Chalons-en-Champagne. Direct trains are infrequent, but available. With the change, the journey takes just over 3 hrs and without it takes 1 hr 40.
Open daily 10am-5pm. Open to 6:30pm April-August (open from 9am July & Aug), to 5:30pm in Sept and Oct and to 5pm in Nov and Dec. Closed noon-1:00pm Feb, March, Sept, Oct. Last admission half an hour before closing. Closed January. Admission costs €3 for adults and €1.50 for children with family and group concessions.
Fort Vaux, Just Outside Verdun along D913, 55100 Vaux
03 29 88 32 88
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