At the top of the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette hill, in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, over 42,000 French soldiers lie in eternal rest, having fallen during the First World War on the front lines in the Artois region and French and Belgian Flanders.
A STRATEGIC POSITION FOR BATTLES IN THE ARTOIS REGION
From 1914 to 1918, the hill of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette proved to be a strategic high point, and was the setting for many violent clashes between French and German soldiers. Today, the national necropolis of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette is the largest French military cemetery, reminding visitors of the landscape’s bloody past.
A REMARKABLE LANDSCAPE
At the centre of the necropolis stands the lantern town and the basilica, watching over the fallen soldiers. Like a lighthouse, the light beaming from the top of the tower can be seen for tens of miles around. Both of the monuments, which have been richly decorated, were designed by architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier.
THE LARGEST NECROPOLIS IN FRANCE
Identified soldiers have individual gravestones, engraved with their name, unit, rank, and date of death. All of the soldiers who could not be identified have been interred in the necropolis’ eight ossuaries. Amongst all of these soldiers who sacrificed their lives for France, silence is called for.