Sunday, August 21, 2011

Givet, France - June 23, 2010

Thinking about lunch on our way to Tournai we noted a little town with an interesting layout right on the Belgian border, thus Givet became our lunch stop. Givet is a small commune in the Ardennes department of the Champagne-Ardennes region and it languishes on the left bank of the river Meuse. Local legend has it that Saint Hubert lived there in 720 CE and performed a miracle while he was in town.
Like many other towns and cities along this border area, Givet had belonged to various countries at one time or another before it first became part of France in 1678. In WWII, it was occupied by the Germans from May 1940 until September 1944. The German Ardennes Offensive had  targeted Givet and its crossing of the Meuse making it a hot-spot in the end run of the war. The British, under Montgomery, organized a last-ditch defense, and on 24 December 1944, the German drive was stopped about 6 miles from Givet. By this time, 11,000 American soldiers were billeted in the ancient Charlemont fortress barracks that had been built by Vauban 300 years earlier.
A gracefully aging town exporting pencils and tobacco pipes, there are more Givet pictures here.

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