The Oise Departement in Northern France
Close to Paris (only 60kms North), the Oise Region is worth visiting in so far as it features a good complement to the Somme Battlefields and the Chemin des Dames : discover some specific memorial sites and above all, where was signed the Armistice, symbol of peace.
From the battleﬁelds to the “Peace Ring”, numerous scars and must-see sites
Among many memorial sites (war memorials, military cemeteries, commemorative monuments …), some must-see sites have more to tell than a library of history books. Compiègne (External link) , of course, a symbol of peace with the signing of the 1918 armistice, then a painful symbol in 1940, before the victorious revenge of the Time and reconstruction have managed to erase a portion of the ruins and the occupation’s devastation. But Oise remains rich with numerous memorial sites: monuments, steles, plaques, inscriptions…
All material yet silent scars testifying to Oise's history as a land occupied and broken, yet also strong and resistant, a land of armistice. The great museums, the stone quarries, the cemeteries, the warpath discovery trails, the ruins and other vestiges evoke a past that cannot be forgotten and underline the strength of spirit of all these heroes, from the most illustrious to the most anonymous.
The Museum Territoire 14-18 ("The WWI Territorial Heritage Museum")
The Musée Territoire 14-18 ("The WWI Territorial Heritage Museum") comprises some two dozen representative sites, presenting and recreating Great War history, the life of WWI soldiers, key events, nearly forgotten anecdotes... Stretching over sixty kilometres, this history-rich route offers hiking trails, guided tours, exhibitions and other museums evoking the manner in which the territory and its populations experienced the war, on either side of the fixed frontline.
Next to the Rethondes church – whose bells first rang in the Armistice, until they cracked! – the old presbytery has housed since 2014 the “Discovery Area”, gateway to the Musée Territoire 14-18. Rich in fascinating testimonials and images, this modern information and orientation centre is dedicated to the so called “Red Line”, the old front line of Oise. It offers visitors an introduction to and overview of the First World War, then invites them to continue their exploration by visiting the open-air museum’s other memorial sites. The 60-km itinerary, punctuated with 20 remarkable sites, focuses on all facets of the Great War and its effects on the local population. The ideal starting point for an interactive discovery of the territory’s Great War history and locations.
The “Oise in History”
network comprises nearly 30 tourism professionals – accommodation providers, tourist offices, associations, businesses, etc. – all passionate about the fascinating history that has marked and shaped the Oise department. The network’s members are ever delighted to share with curious visitors their tips and suggestions for exploring, discovering and enjoying Oise. Spot them thanks to the logo and consult the full members list at the website: oisetourisme-memoire.com (External link)