Tag Archives: Western Front

People of the Meuse-Argonne: Alain Cesarini

Even today French locals, other Europeans and Americans find themselves drawn to the Meuse-Argonne region of France.  Once drawn there, many return time and again; often working on multi-year research or preservation projects.  In this irregular interview series, the Webmaster hopes to introduce readers to some of these individuals and their labors of love.     1)  What are your name, nationality and occupation? Alain Cesarini French Retired for six years   2)  Which languages do you speak, and how fluently do you speak them? Continue reading →

La Vie en France #12: Through the Years, Im Laufe der Jahre, A traverse les annees

The Webmaster has met many new friends through his website and Facebook group over the last few years.  Yet many people do not know that he has been coming to the Meuse-Argonne regularly since 1994.  In fact, he held his 50th birthday party at the Hôtel du Commerce in Aubrèville in 2013, where he has been a regular guest since 1997.  Here is a partial selection of photographs from his June 2013 birthday slide show.   1994  Deutsches Erinnerungskommittee Argonnerwald–Irma Tunnel         Continue reading →

La Vie en France #10: Finding Suitable Places for Ladies to Pee

War-Time German Postcard:  Caption Reads “A Height Record for the Air Ship Service”   After completing his first two tours with female clients, the Webmaster is again reminded that hiking the battlefields of rural France is much easier for men than for women.  Men can simply walk behind a bush or tree to urinate.  Anatomically speaking, the same is true–but a bit more complicated–for women.  However, American women tend to see this as an option of last resort.  Thus, from a male point of view, Continue reading →

La Vie en France #9: Cheap Gas, Sundays and Creative Solutions

“When in Rome do as the Romans do,” goes the popular phrase.  Said differently, when travelling abroad one can’t expect everything to be done as it is in one’s home country.  That is definitely true when travelling from suburban USA to rural France.  Here are a few examples:     Gas Prices and Finding Cheap Gas Gas is expensive in Europe:  Right now the cheapest diesel is about €1.30 per liter.  €1.30 x 3.78 liters per gallon x $1.13 exchange rate = $5.55 per gallon! Continue reading →

Then and Now: Samogneux

    Caption:  Samogneux is on the D964 at the edge of the Verdun battlefield East of the Meuse.  In 1918, any of the American divisions (33rd, 29th and 79th) fighting East of the Meuse would have passed through it.  Unfortunately, trees block the view of the canal and river in the now photo.  However, the horizon matches up well.   The now photo is taken from in front of the statue in the town cemetery.  The cemetery is on a slight hill, which mirrors Continue reading →

La Vie en France #8: It Takes a Team Part 2–Language Lessons

    The Webmaster has just returned from tracking down a difficult “Then and Now” photo with extreme gratitude for his language tutor, Alexis P. Miller!  After fifteen months of language lessons, 2x per week more or less, the Webmaster can at least express himself and explain what he is doing:  Even if he doesn’t understand everything that others say.   On today’s search the Webmaster thought it best to ask a farm family before driving off into their field in search of the site of an airplane crash landing.  He Continue reading →

La Vie en France #7: Welcome to the Punch Bowl

La Vie en France #6 proved to be quite popular, as there seems to be a good bit of interest in seeing where the Webmaster is living during his six months in France.  Le Vie en France #7 shows a panoramic view of the “Punch Bowl” encircling Doulcon.  It is taken from a hillside along the D164 perhaps a kilometer West of Doulcon.     Western portion of the punch bowl.     Eastern portion showing Doulcon and Dun-sur-Meuse.  The church on the Hillside at Continue reading →

Research Tips: The “Griffin Group” Photos in the National Archives

A special shout-out is due to Marc Romanych of Digital History Archive who introduced the Webmaster to the Griffin Group photos!!!  As a result, the Webmaster spent the last two days in the National Archives “walking” the Western Front shortly after war’s end.   National Archives record group 120-G is a collection of 2,262 photographs of the American battlefields of the Western Front taken in early 1919 under the direction of Major T. H. Griffin of G-2.  His team of photographers was tasked with taking Continue reading →

Join the Friends of Romagne and Support the Romagne 14-18 Museum

  Jean-Paul de Vries’ Romagne 14-18 Museum one of the best known museums / attractions in the Meuse-Argonne, and it is visited by thousands each year.  (The Webmaster first visited the museum in 2004, right before it moved to its current location.)  However, as with most museums it takes a tremendous amount of work and funds to operate.  In order to ensure adequate financial support for the museum, the foundation “Friends of Romagne” has been established.  Below is a letter from the foundation’s Chairman encouraging visitors Continue reading →

La Vie en France: Post #3. Skills and Talent Residence Permit Visa Obtained!!!

A key part of the Webmaster’s plan to work in France as a freelance battlefield tour guide was obtaining the “Skills and Talent” residence permit visa.  Per the France in New York website: “If you have a project, the three-year, renewable “Compétences et Talents” card allows you to exercise the professional activity of your choice in connection with your project.” However, at the Visa Section of the French Consulate-General one will not find a life coach who will guide one through the process.  Rather, one Continue reading →