fbpx
logo_mini

The road to freedom

A historic route commemorating the Liberation of France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the Second World War, the Way to Freedom is marked by a series of milestones and marks the route followed by the 3rd US Army commanded by General Patton. It is a permanent homage from the land of France to the land of […]

 

A historic route commemorating the Liberation of France, Belgium and Luxembourg during the Second World War, the Way to Freedom is marked by a series of milestones and marks the route followed by the 3rd US Army commanded by General Patton. It is a permanent homage from the land of France to the land of America, which reminds us of the sacrifice of young Americans fighting far from their homeland for the love of freedom. And yes, as you can imagine, Sentiers de France is announcing the upcoming release of its new tour!

THE ROUTE

From the west of France to Bastogne in Belgium, the Freedom Way passes through the following cities: Cherbourg, Sainte Mère Eglise, Utah Beach, Carentan, Saint Lo, Saint Malo, Châteaubriant, Angers, Le Mans, Chartres, Fontainebleau, Provins, Reims, Verdun, Metz, Luxembourg and Bastogne. All along the route there are 1200 kilometre markers.

There is also an additional marker at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, containing soil taken from American cemeteries.

THE HISTORY

The Voie de la Liberté was created on the initiative of Major Guy de la Vasselais, liaison officer with the US Army, and Gabriel Hocquard, Mayor of Metz before and after the Second World War. Head of the French military mission of tactical liaison near General Patton’s US 3rd Army, the commander received numerous medals at the Liberation. It was in 1946 that he decided to materialize, following the example of the Sacred Way of Verdun, the road taken by the Allied troops to liberate Europe by means of bollards.

The route chosen was therefore that of the 3rd American Army commanded by General George Patton, from its landing on the Cotentin coast to Lorraine. In March 1946, a Belgian association proposed to extend the Liberty route as far as Bastogne (Belgium).

Sculptor François Cogné creates pink cement bollards weighing 1.20 metres and 435 kg. Each one is decorated with a red flame, a copy of the one on the Statue of Liberty, coming out of the ocean, and opposite indications such as mileage, the number of the bollard and directions. They are crowned by 48 stars, the number of the American states in 1944.

The last milestone of the Belgian Liberty is placed on July 5, 1947, milestone N° 0 is inaugurated by the American Legion on September 16, 1947 in Sainte-Mère-Église, while the road is inaugurated on September 16, in Fontainebleau. Defended by its mayor, Alexandre Renaud, who was close to Guy de la Vasselais, the choice of Sainte-Mère-Église as the starting point of the road was made to the detriment of other Norman communes claiming this primacy such as Carentan, Cherbourg, Bayeux, but especially Sainte-Marie-du-Mont where Utah Beach is located, the latter installing its own milestone 00, on the edge of the beach where the 3rd Army landed.

Set off to discover France through this historic route! On the program: cultural and tourist sites and an exceptional heritage. In addition to the military aspect of the route, discover the history of each town and the memorable landscapes.

For more information about this next tour, contact us!