France // Champagne and the Ardennes //

Colombey-les-Deux-Églises

Twenty-seven kilometres northwest of Chaumont, on the N19 to Troyes, is Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, the village where Gaullist leaders come to pay their respects at the grave of Général Charles de Gaulle. The former president’s family home, La Boisserie opens its ground floor to the public but more impressive are the pink-granite Cross of Lorraine, symbol of the French Resistance movement, standing over 40m high on a hill just west of the village, and the Mémorial Charles de Gaulle, an exhaustive chronicle of the man’s life and times in an ultra-sleek museum beneath the cross. It was inaugurated in 2008 with much pomp by Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the fiftieth anniversary of the rapprochement between de Gaulle and then-German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.