A huge Cross of Lorraine, memorial to General Charles de Gaulle, dominates the skyline of his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises.
Located 500m from de Gaulle’s tomb in the village churchyard and family home of La Boisserie, the Memorial museum which opened in October 2008 gives a snapshot of his military career and personal life.
Set on 3 floors, rooms contain sound and visual archives in 3 languages, library, boutique, catering area and 150 seat auditorium.
House - tel: (00 33) 3 25 01 52 52- and Memorial - tel: (00 33) 3 25 01 50 50. and for calendar of opening times see www.memorial-charlesdegaulle.fr
Haute Marne is a trout fisherman’s delight. The tributaries of the Marne and a network of trout streams such as the Aube above Aubepierre, Blaise above Doulevant and Rognon above Andelot flow through meadows and woodland and are best fished with live bait in spring.
Fly fishing is possible in some of these areas in summer. Live bait fishing is used further downstream where the rivers of the Marne, Aube and Aujon widen and are fed by underground springs.
Wet fly fishing can be practised spring and summer and the dry fly fishing season begins on 15 May. One of the best locations is the River Marne below its meeting with the Rognon.
The trout season in France ends at the beginning of September. For short visits, Carte de Peche de Vacances (fishing permits) can normally be obtained from fishing tackle shops or local tobacs.
This pool complex on avenue de Verdun in St Dizier is the finest watersports and leisure centre in the region, from its ultra modern architecture to competition-size 25m pool and 5m diving platforms.
There’s fun for all the family on the 80m aquatic toboggan run and amongst the artificial waves. Relax in sauna and steam rooms and quench your thirst in the cafeteria after a session in the fitness centre.
Open each day with longer hours during the holiday season, tel: (00 33) 3 25 55 04 04 for times and prices.
Weapons, cutlery, knives and scissors have been made in Haute Marne since the fourteenth century and skilled cutlers of the Nogent basin have added the making of surgical instruments to their traditional craft. Visit the Musee de la Coutellerie in Nogent displaying everything from delicate embroidery scissors to hunting knives from the eighteenth century to the present day.
Tel: (00 33) 3 25 31 89 21 for information on opening times.
Nogent Tourist Office also has a display and information on the Cutlery Valleys Route through places like Langres, Lanques-sur-Rognon and Poinson-les-Nogent - birthplace of nineteenth century master scissor-maker Nicholas Pierre Pelletier.
Willow cultivated in the south of the region is crafted into over 800 different items. A willow basket makes a pretty and practical reminder of your visit to Haute-Marne. Find one in villages like Fayl-Billot, Bussieres-les-Belmont and Grenant. Tour the willow beds which supply the basket-makers and see craftsmen at work. Fayl-Billot is home to the national basket-making school and there are exhibitions by students throughout the year. Tel: (00 33) 3 25 88 63 02 for more information.
Blacksmiths carry on Haute-Marne’s long tradition of wrought iron work in the Blaise Valley. Visit the town museum in St Dizier and take a walking tour to see decorations on houses made at its foundry from designs by Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard. Guimard designed entrances to the Paris Metro and lamp posts on the Champs-Elysees. Visit the blast furnace museum at Dommartin-le-Franc, powered by water wheels and classified as a historic monument. Part of the Statue of Liberty was made here.
French writer and philosopher Voltaire was offered refuge at the dilapidated Chateau de Cirey, on the border with independent Lorraine, when he fled Paris to escape imprisonment for publishing ‘Letters’ criticising French institutions.
Voltaire lived at the chateau with his mistress, Emilie Marquise du Chatelet, from 1734 to 1749. He fell in love with the countryside and during this time paid for major renovation work at Cirey including the creation of a long gallery and terrace. The pair created a large library.
Sculptures over the elaborate doorway relate to arts and science and there are carved inscriptions written by Voltaire. Guided tours include the little theatre where some of Voltaire’s plays were first shown. Open every afternoon 1 July - 1 Sept and Sundays and holidays May, June and Sept. 1430 - 1830.