Oradour-sur-glane: Dordogne

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“It was so harrowing, like some sort of ghost village, discarded prams and cars rusting in the street. Everything left as it was after that day, almost 70 years ago.”

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This is what a colleague of mine reported after she’d visited Oradour-sur-glane during a trip to France one year. I’ll always remember the impression this place had on her, as she recounted her visit one gloomy Monday morning back in England. This was over ten years ago. Her story had really stuck a chord with me too, which is why we’ve made a detour in our schedule.

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On 10th June 1944, 21km northwest of Limoges, Nazi S.S. soldiers surrounded the prosperous village of Oradour-sur-glane and ordered the villagers to go to the fairground. Women and children were taken to the church and men to the barn. Nazi machine guns took 642 lives. There was only one woman who escaped the massacre with her life, Mme Rouffanche. The youngest of the children was only eight years old. The soldiers set fire to the village which has since been left untouched, complete with tram tracks and pre-war electricity lines.

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Imagewww.oradour.org

Le Village Martyr: 8 Euros entry to the museum but it’s free entry to the village. Image

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AIRE: RECOMMENDED: About 3 miles outside of Oradour Sur Glane is a lovely little Aire in Javerdat.It’s in a really pretty spot.Turn off D711 in village centre by church onto C8, signed. Aire on right as you exit the village. Four camper spaces and includes water, electricity and sanitation. The Aires guide book we have recommended this landscaped Aire in a small village. Onsite toilet block and local shops 1 minute away. Tokens are free from Auberge bar.

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The following day we discovered that there is an Aire actually inOradour Sur Glane itself. We stopped here briefly and it was perfectly suitable but if there’s space in the Aire we found in Javerdat, I’d recommend this instead.

4 thoughts on “Oradour-sur-glane: Dordogne

  1. KharmaIsis

    I’ve never heard of Oradour-sur-glane or been to France for that matter. What a horrible thing to have happened! All of the stories you hear of Nazi rule are so horrid but this telling and the beautiful photos makes me want to visit there. Thx for sharing!

    1. karmatsechi

      You’re welcome, Kharmalsis. And thanks for your great comment. I’d really recommend a visit if you’re heading to France at any point. The way they’ve left the village is a really poignant and important reminder and I think it’s a really good thing the local authority or community took the decision to keep the remains. I thought the same when I went to Berlin one year and found it very touching and surprising that the Germans had kept some of the war bunkers and buildings, with bullet holes in tact, so prominently part of the city tapestry.

  2. Barry Hildebrandt, Dubbo New South Wales, Australia

    Have been watching the Tour de Fance that toured through Oradour-sur-glane. What an amazing, but horrible, horrible story. Now set myself the task of finding out more.

    1. Karma Tsechi

      Oh wow, I would have liked to see that. That must have been a sight, what a contrast. It’s a small place in the middle of nowhere but if you’re in the region it’s somewhere to check out

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