Last month I visited Saint-Avold, also written “St Avold”, a small town located on the north-east of France, in the Moselle department, Lorraine area, and between the cities of Metz in France and Saarbrücken in Germany.
St Avold is a quiet town, you won’t find so many tourists but there are interesting places to visit.
You can discover the 7 fountains which have been built in the 14th century for the oldest, or the different chapel, church, synagogue or Basilica. But the city is more known for its American cemetery. The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial which is Europe’s largest United States World War II military cemetery is located on the north of the town. It’s opened daily (except 25th of December and 1st of January) from to 9:00 (9.00 AM) to 17:00 (5.00 PM). Be careful, the gate will close automatically at 5 o’clock and if you are still parked inside you will be stuck.
In the Cemetery there are 10,489 graves with Latin and Jewish crosses perfectly aligned of American soldiers who died during the World War II.
The Memorial building looks like a big tower which shows inside on a large map the different military operations from the landing in Normandy to the end of the war. A smaller map “From the Moselle to the Rhine” records the fighting in the region of St Avold. High on the wall above the maps, as well as on the opposite wall, are the flags of these components of military services: Air Corps, Armor, Cavalry, Christian and Jewish Chaplain, Chemical Warfare Service, Coast Artillery Corps, Corps of Engineers, Field Artillery, Infantry, Medical Department, Military Police Corps, Navy Infantry Battalion, Ordnance Department, Quartermaster Corps, Signal Corps, and Transportation Corps. Flanking the door, to the right, is the dedicatory inscription : “In proud remembrance of the achievements of her sons and in humble tribute to their sacrifices this memorial has been erected by the United States of America”.
Outside, close to the Memorial stands the wall of the Missing, upon which are inscribed the name, rank, organization and State of 444 men of the United States Army and Army Air Corps, extend to the north and south of the tower. They gave their lives in the service of their country, but their remains were not recovered or identified.
The American flag is raised and lowered every day at sunrise and sunset. You can see the lowering ceremony at the end of the video below.
If you are nearby St Avold try to stop there and spend a day or two to discover the town and its history. For more information, you can visit or contact directly the Tourism Office of Saint Avold: www.tourisme-saint-avold.fr
Where to stay?
There are few hotels in Saint-Avold but I recommend you the “Hôtel*** Roi Soleil Prestige” where I stayed. It’s a recent building and in my opinion, it’s the best you can get in the town in term of quality, price and service.
They have a free parking place, free and fast Wi-Fi, the staff was very helpful and the bedroom was spacious, clean, modern and comfortable. It was very hot in July and I really appreciated the air conditioning. There was a LCD TV with ambient light and Canal+ channels, a Nespresso coffee machine with free capsules, a stylish decoration, a big bathroom and a large shower, separated toilet, a safe and a dressing.
On the first floor, there is a lounge bar and the room for the breakfast buffet. The breakfast wasn’t included in the price of the room but for 11€ per person, it was very good. There was a good choice of sweet and salty food.
They don’t have a restaurant but they propose ready meals which can be delivered directly to your room or you can go outside. There are good restaurants downtown (I don’t recommend the one next to the hotel, I’ve been there and I was very disappointed by the quality and service). At 5 minutes drive, about 2 km, there is Buffalo Grill Longeville-Lès-Saint-Avold where you can get 10% discount if you tell them you come from “Hôtel Roi Soleil Prestige”.