En Hommage a De Gaulle: France Opens Its First Museum to the General

By Hadley, Kathryn | History Today, October 2008 | Go to article overview

En Hommage a De Gaulle: France Opens Its First Museum to the General


Hadley, Kathryn, History Today


Colombey-les-deux-Eglises is a small village in the Champagne-Ardenne region, where Charles de Gaulle moved to his family home, 'la Boisserie', in the 1930s and is now buried in the graveyard of the village church.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In 1954, General de Gaulle reputedly told a journalist : 'Voyez cette colline. C'est la plus elevee. On y edifiera une Croix de Lorraine quand je serai mort'. (See that hill. It is the highest. Upon my death, a Croix de Lorraine shall be erected there.)

Four months after de Gaulle's death on November 9th, 1970, a committee was indeed constituted to organize the construction of the cross. The massive 44-metre-high Croix de Lorraine, covered in pink granite and bronze, pictured left, and weighing approximately 1,500 tons was built in less than seven months. It was inaugurated on June 18th, 1972, by President Georges Pompidou and de Gaulle's wife and family.

In France today, the legacy and popularity of de Gaulle lives on; he is still remembered as one of the greatest men in French history, on a par with Caesar or Napoleon. …

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