Fort Mont-Valérien

Suresnes, France

Fort Mont-Valérien was built in 1841 as part of the city's ring of modern fortifications. It overlooks the Bois de Boulogne.

The fortress defended Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, and remained the strongest fortress protecting the city, withstanding artillery bombardments that lasted several months. The surrender of the fortress was one of the main clauses of the armistice signed by the Government of National Defense with Otto von Bismarck on 17 January 1871, allowing the Germans to occupy the strongest part of Paris' defences in exchange for shipments of food into the starving city.

Colonel Henry of army intelligence, a key player in the Dreyfus Affair, was confined at the prison of Mont-Valérien in 1898. The day after being confined, 31 August 1898, he cut his throat with a razor that had been left in his possession, taking to the grave his secret and that of a great part of the affaire Dreyfus.

During the Second World War, the fortress was used, from 1940 to 1944, as a prison and place of executions by the Nazi occupiers of Paris. The Germans brought prisoners here in trucks from other locations. The prisoners were temporarily confined in a disused chapel, and later taken to be shot in a clearing 100 metres away. The bodies were then buried in various cemeteries in the Paris area. More than 1,000 hostages and resistants were executed. The immense majority were members of the French Resistance.

The site now serves as a national memorial. On 18 June 1945, Charles de Gaulle consecrated the site in a public ceremony.

Today, the area in front of the memorial, a reminder of the French Resistance against the German occupation forces, has been named Square Abbé Franz Stock. During the German occupation, Stock took care of condemned prisoners here, and he mentioned 863 executions at Mont-Valérien in his diary.

There is also an American military cemetery on the site, the resting place of 1,541 American soldiers who died in France during the First World War.

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Founded: 1841
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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User Reviews

Nicolas FAUCOMPRET (2 years ago)
Endroit sympathique pour faire des promenades. Attention car certaines pentes sont rudes et glissantes par temps humide.
Jean Gehin (2 years ago)
Juste parfait !
Raph Chi (2 years ago)
Super lieu historique proche de la défense. Petit mont d'une centaine de mètres et quelque avec vue imprenable sur le quartier des affaires de la défense. On aperçoit ici et là la tour Eiffel, cependant un peu cachée par les arbres et quelques buissons, malheureusement. Aussi, il y a une grande route en descente avec les inconvénients que ça apporte au niveau du point de vue... Et intéressante surprise : un cimetière américain ! Ainsi qu'une caserne dans le fort du mont Valérien. A découvrir dans tous les cas de nuit comme de jour ! L'histoire du lieu avec les rois, Napoléon, la seconde guerre mondiale y apporte une touche d'attractivité supplémentaire.
xavier Menet (3 years ago)
un espace d histoire et de tranquillité à Paris
Jean-Regis Matheron (3 years ago)
J’adore cet endroit chargé d’histoire, avec une promenade superbe, et une non moins superbe vue sur Paris et l’île de France, des parcours sportifs, le mémorial de la France résistante, le cimetière américain de Suresnes, notamment. Je me permets de vivement recommander cet endroit pour une sortie en famille, car vous pourrez y allier détente, instruction pour vos enfants et activités physiques, comme du vélo ou une bonne marche! .
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