La Vie en France #40: Building Bridges Across the Atlantic

  Watching international relationships build as Americans travel abroad is one of the great pleasures the Webmaster receives from maintaining this website and the very active Facebook Group.  A few weeks ago the Webmaster added a feature article to his website:  “When an American Woman Rediscovers the History of a Small Village in the Meuse.”  It tells the story of Laurie Button, her “adopted” 5th Division Doughboy, Walter “Wave” Miguel, and the moving commemoration ceremony the town of Louppy-sur-Loison held on Saturday, 10 November, Continue reading →

La Vie en France #39: What Comes Next? Serendipity and the New York Travel Show

Regular readers know the “La Vie en France” blog posts talk about the Webmaster’s cultural experiences in France and/or the process that led to his sabbatical to pursue his passion as a freelance tour guide for the AEF battlefields on the Western Front.  This post covers the latter topic.  Specifically, what direction should the Webmaster’s next career take?  His first career was as a financial analyst; but in the world of finance one only gets re-hired at age 55 if one was “the best thing Continue reading →

News & Events–Over There: Ardennes 1944: 75 Anniversary “Battle of the Bulge” Tour, 2-6 October

Randal Gaulke and German historian, Markus Klauer, are proud to announce the details of their Ardennes 1944:  75th Anniversary “Battle of the Bulge” Small Group Battlefield Tour, 2 – 6 October 2019.     The War seemed to be close to an end, but then Hitler’s last major offensive on the Western Front took the Allies by surprise … Hitler had decided to put all his eggs in one basket to defeat the Allies with one great push, the operation “Wacht am Rhein”. Starting on December Continue reading →

New Feature Article: When an American Woman Rediscovers the Memory of a Small Village in the Meuse

  Webmaster’s Introduction:  The story of Laurie Button, her “adopted” Doughboy, Walter “Wave” Miguel, and their ties to the Village of Louppy-sur-Loison is one of the most interesting stories to emerge from the 2018 Centennial Commemorations.  As a result of Laurie’s persistent writing from the U.S. and willing supporters in France, the parties involved organized a Commemoration Ceremony on 10 November that filled the local church and chateau.  Those of us who were present will not forget this day of Franco-American unity!  This story is Continue reading →

News & Events–Over There: 1918-19 Meuse-Argonne Reconstruction / Occupation of Germany Tour

Randal Gaulke and German historian, Markus Klauer, are proud to announce the details of their 1918-19 Meuse-Argonne Reconstruction / Occupation of Germany Small Group Battlefield Tour, 15 – 20 September, 2019:     The war was over, but many in the AEF would remain in Europe for months or years.  After more than four years of trench warfare, the towns in the Meuse-Argonne region were in shambles.  Complete villages had been destroyed.  Others were badly damaged, and four years of combat and shelling left the region Continue reading →

La Vie en France #38: “Where Words Leave Off, Music Begins”

    This quote by German poet Heinrich Heine seems appropriate as my final days in Lorraine, France wind down in 2018 and that melancholy feeling (of leaving France) begins to set in.  During the last two years I have had the great experience of being able to live in France for eight months as freelance tour guide!  I plan to continue offering tours in 2019; but I have to balance my tour plans with the realistic need to find a real job again too.  Continue reading →

Travel Tips: On the Road (Autoroute) Again

    Autoroutes are one of the things that work well in France. (See “La Vie en France #28:  What Works in France.”)  However, they are absolutely terrifying to most first-time drivers–largely because of the toll booths.  This post will extol the virtues of the French autoroutes; provide a few basic rules; and explain the toll system.     The Virtues of France’s Autoroute System There are virtually no potholes.  The Webmaster believes that there are several reasons for this:  First, construction starts with a Continue reading →

Travel Tips: Walking in Their Footsteps Should Mean More Than a Cemetery Stop or a Day Trip From Paris

Griffin Group Photo AM322.  Cross-Roads at Le Chene Tondu.  The Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof is just to the left of this photo.  Most American tourists know only this part of the plateau; but there is a German Camp (the Borrieswaldlager), a German concrete signal bunker (aka Blinkstelle) and a 100+ year-old tree within a few hundred meters?  Also, one can see the foxholes in which the German two battalions of Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 125 held off the 111th and 112th Infantry Regiments, 28th Division for more than a Continue reading →

News & Events–Over There: The Allied Terms of the Armistice

    As the Centennial of the Armistice approaches, it is fitting to spend a little time reviewing and understanding the thirty-five terms of the Armistice.  After millions of deaths and the destruction of hundreds of miles of French and Belgian territory, Marshall Foch and other Allied leaders dictated the terms with no room for German negotiation.  The German representatives received the terms on 8 November and reluctantly signed the terms at 05h00 on 11 November.  The Armistice went into effect at 11h00 on 11 Continue reading →

La Vie en France #37: The Beauty and the Sorrow of the Armistice Centennial

As 11 November 2018–the Centennial of the Armistice–approaches, I find myself having very mixed feelings.  One hundred years ago the combined economic and military might of the Allied powers finally put an end to more than fours years of fighting an industrialized war–the likes of which had never been experienced before.  Certainly, for those soldiers that day was a wonderful day–once they got used to the deafening silence.  This “beauty” of the Armistice is reflected in these carefully staged photos of 5th Division soldiers near Continue reading →