Don't miss it !
Wangenbourg is on the edge of the Vosges region. As such it was a strategic point, at a height and protected by thick forest, unlike the areas on the plain. This was why the French 5th Army, including Colonel Charles de Gaulle, was based in Wangenbourg from September 1939 to defend Alsace against a future German offensive.
With an audio-guide, you can follow the trail focusing on the 5th Army, which was based in Wangenbourg from September 1939, soon after war was declared on 3 September of the same year.
In all, over 2,000 men, some 50 cars and over 200 horses arrived in the tourist resort. The soldiers came to keep watch and prepare for a potential attack from the Germans. But for the next 10 months nothing happened and no fighting took place. This is the famous period known as the "Phoney War".
From September 1939 to May 1940, the soldiers lived in Wangenbourg. Their lives mingled with the lives of the local inhabitants, who were unused to a military presence. Most of them had never even heard of the high-ranking officers such as Colonel De Gaulle or General Tassigny.
You can visit the different places where the army was based and see how the men lived in the village. The region was much marked by the soldiers' stay. But they left overnight, on the morning of 13 June 1940. Those were their orders...
Head for the Wangenbourg Tourist Information Office to pick up your audio guide and enjoy a totally independent guided tour. The audio guide is available in French, German and English.