On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Oradour-sur-Glane.
In the morning we had our breakfast at the orangery-style restaurant of the Golf St Lazare Hotel in Limoges. It was a buffet style breakfast, complete with pastries, breads, hams, cheese, yogurts, hot and cold drinks. Very good breakfast to start the day.
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed in the direction of Oradour-sur-Glane. It took about half an hour to get there from Limoges.
Oradour-sur-Glane was a small, attractive town with about 1600 inhabitants, 330 of which living at its core. Today, it is one of the most powerful reminders, in France, of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during the Second World War.
On the 10 of June 1944, soldiers of the Waffen-SS carried out a violent attack on the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane, in retaliation to the local Resistance. It was alleged at the time that a senior Waffen-SS officer was being held prisoner nearby. Tragically, the attack happened only four days after D-Day.
On the day of the attack there was a larger number of people from other villages there and children from neighbouring villages were at school. The SS unit surrounded the village and made the population head to the main square, and from there directed to places where machine guns were installed and ready to shoot.
The men were separated from the women and children, and then further separated into groups sent to different places of execution; the women and children were sent to the church. Following a loud explosion, the sound of the machine guns could be heard while the men were killed. Their bodies were set on fire.
The soldiers then turned their attention to the women and children – they were tear-gassed, and the church set on fire. Anyone trying to escape the burning church was shot. Finally, the rest of the village was set on fire to make sure that no building or lives were spared. It was a cowardly and outrageous attack, on victims as young as eight days old.
Today the remains of the old village, in its ruined state, is a reminder of the barbarity of war. A new village was built near the site and the president at the time, General Charles de Gaulle, ordered that the ruins should be maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.
Upon arrival we headed straight to the car park of the “Centre de la mémoire” ready to start our visit. Before visiting the ruins of the village, you walk through rooms with photos, videos, and lots of information of what happened leading to and on the 10 June 1944. The material highlights the attack of this small village by the Nazis, that killed more than 650 people and destroyed more than 300 buildings.
It was very sad to see all that, but necessary to understand the consequences of war. We spent about three hours wandering around the museum and the ruins, and after seeing everything we left with a heavy heart thinking about all the people who died on that day.
We reached the motorway and took the direction of Paris where we were going to stay for the next three days.
It took us about 5 hours to get to Paris. We were going to stay in Châtillon, a suburb to the south of Paris. We were guests at a friend’s house who lives there and invited us to stay. We arrived at about 5 pm and had dinner with them, catching up on so many years of not seeing each other. It was great to end the evening in the company of old friends.
Le village martyr!
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Oradour-sur-Glane. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE
1 – Centre de la mémoire – ***
2 – The ruins of the village – ***
WHERE TO STAY IN ORADOR-SUR-GLANE AND AROUND
1 – Hôtel de la Glane – Oradour-sur-Glane – ££
2 – Hôtel du Golf Saint Lazare – Limoges – 3* – ££
3 – La Villa Beaupeyrat Apparthôtels – Limoges – 3* – ££
4 – La Loge Gogaille – Limoges – ££
WHERE TO EAT IN ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE AND AROUND
1 – L’Equilibre – Oradour-sur-Glane – ££
2 – Le Milord – Oradour-sur-Glane -££
3 – La cuisine du Cloitre – Limoges – ££
4 – Restaurant Golf St-Lazare – Limoges – ** – ££
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