at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises

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  • Charles de Gaulle…a man, a home, a symbol

    It was on 18 June 1940 that General de Gaulle entered into the history books with his appeal to the Resistance, which he made from the BBC in London.
    After working for the Liberation of France, he retired from power in 1946, before being called back as Head of State in 1958. Once again, he left his mark on history during this period with the creation of the Fifth Republic.

    Charles de Gaulle established close ties with Colombey-les-deux-églises at a very early stage: he purchased “La Boisserie” there in 1934. A simple place of residence before the war, it became the de Gaulle couple’s main home in 1946.

    The General spent his time there walking and reading, but above all writing: it was in his study at La Boisserie that he wrote his War Memoirs and Memoirs of Hope.

    He also made history by welcoming Chancellor Konrad Adenauer there on 14 September 1958, a significant gesture of post-war Franco-German reconciliation.
    Once in power, Charles de Gaulle did not neglect La Boisserie. Quite the contrary. He used to return about once a fortnight and set up home again there at the end of his political career in 1969. He died there on 9 November 1970.
    According to his wishes, he was buried in Colombey-les-deux-églises cemetery next to his daughter Anne with the simple inscription “Charles de Gaulle 1890-1970”.

    A vast crowd attended General de Gaulle’s funeral in Colombey-les-deux-églises.
    In the years that followed, a host of visitors from all over the world gathered at the grave of “the most illustrious Frenchman”. In this surge of enthusiasm, the Cross of Lorraine was erected in 1972 and can be seen from some thirty kilometres around. From the hill on which it stands, a broad landscape opens up before the eyes and serves as a reminder of how much the General loved these distant horizons marked by history.