With its cemetery, interpretation centre and Ring of Remembrance, inaugurated Nov 11, 2014, the memorial located on the hill of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, in Northern France, is one of the largest in France. Since 2023, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside 138 other memorial and burial sites on the Western Front of the Great War.
Three sites together
The International Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette consists of three sites. At the foot of the hill, the Interpretation Centre presents the history of the First World War in the north of France through documents, archive films and period objects. The National Necropolis of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette is the biggest French military cemetery and the final resting place of 42,000 French soldiers who died during the First World War on the battlefields of Artois and Flanders. Inaugurated on November 11 2014, the Ring of Remembrance honours all soldiers who died in northern France in the First World War.
A moving memorial
The Ring of Remembrance projects over a plateau, almost hovering, as if to convey the fragility of the peace it symbolizes. Designed by architect Philippe Prost, the elliptical ring is formed of 500 plates of bronzed stainless steel, presented in a circle, like an open book.
The Ring of Remembrance pays tribute to the almost 580,000 men from around the world who died on the western front between 1914 and 1918. Their names are engraved in alphabetical order, regardless of nationality or religion. The first name is that of a Nepalese sailor in the merchant navy serving Great Britain, and the last name is that of a German soldier. John Kipling, the son of poet Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Standing Buffalo, grandson of Indian leader Sitting Bull and the youngest German soldier in the conflict, Paul Mauk, are among those listed here.
A special typography was created for the Ring of Remembrance. Named "Lorette", it is the work of French graphic designer, typographer and draftsman Pierre di Sciullo.
At the heart of the conflict
Composed of sober and imposing black cubes, the architecture of the Memorial Interpretation Centre is reminiscent of the bunkers of the Great War. Inside, the exhibition plunges visitors into the heart of the conflict with a large presentation of period documents as well as photographs taken by soldiers at the time. The last room of the exhibition explains more about those whose names are engraved on the Ring of Remembrance.