Day 6:    "Hey Marne, you want some Compeigne at Harry's!?!


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The Morning found the Boys still in a quandary on whether the Hotel was kitschy or shoddy, despite the Miami-sorta-looking vibe, the tiny rooms, and being on the River Marne, the lack-luster breakfast in the stinky dining room led the Boys to judge it: SHODDY!!! So with a half-assed breakfast, Mike, Bone, and Ron headed for their final assault on World War I (which ironically was one of the first big battles) and Paris, by mauling the Marne!  One of the only advantages of Motel Hell is that it was only a few miles from one of the best World War I Museums on the trip, that just so happened to be on the very sight of the Battle that probably saved France. Pulling into the parking bright and early, the Boys began their flank maneuvers !

Morning on the Marne!!

While the Museum covered all of World War I, because of its location (on the dang Battlefield!!!) it had an obvious emphasis on the first Battle of the Marne. One of their first exhibits is the famous Parisian Taxi's. Ron, Mike, and Bone are pictured in front of the Paris Taxis that were used to bring the volunteer Sixth Army to the Marne front-lines, or was it?! The reality is that while they did played as role, it certainly was not as epic as the French Newspapers and subsequently history has made them, but they are still pretty cool to see and realize even the small part they played.

The First Battle of the Marne happened between 6-12 September 1914, with the outcome bringing to an end the German’s advance that started in August when the War begun at Fort Loncin. Having invaded Belgium and north-eastern France, the German army had reached within 30 miles of Paris.  Their progress had been rapid, having successfully beaten back Belgian, French and British forces and advancing deep into north-eastern France.  Their advance was lock-step in following the Schlieffen Plan, whose primary focus was the swift defeat of France in the west before turning attention the Russian forces in the east.   As the German armies neared Paris, the French capital prepared itself for a siege remember the Prussian take-over of Paris in1870.  As panic took over Paris the defending French forces (Fifth and Sixth Armies) - and the British - were at the point of exhaustion, having retreated continuously for 10-12 days under repeated German attack until, directed by Joseph Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief, they reached just south of the River Marne. With victory seemingly near, German General Alexander von Kluck's First Army was instructed to encircle Paris from the east.  The French government, similarly expecting the fall of the capital, left Paris for Bordeaux (probably for a glass of red wine!) Joffre, imperturbable in the face of crisis, resolved on 4 September to launch a counter-offensive strike, under the recommendation of the military governor of Paris, by an old crusty French General Gallieni, and aided by the British under Sir John French (the latter only after prompting and butt-kicking by the British war minister, Lord Kitchener).     

Gazing on Gallieni in the Official World War I Museum!

On 5 September Gallieni informed fellow French General Maunoury (a pawn of Joffre) that there would be no retreat and issued secret orders for the destruction of important parts of Paris, including the Pont Neuf and the Pont Alexandre III bridges.   On September 7 General Gallieni, concerned that with Maunoury’s Sixth Army fighting out in the open, Paris was now vulnerable, telegraphed the government in Bordeaux to discuss the possible evacuation of the civilian population from the Paris suburbs, and ordered prefects and the police to find “emergency locations” for them. That day Gallieni was ordered not to communicate directly with the government. This left Joffre “all-powerful” (in Gallieni’s description), as he had sacked so many generals and Gallieni was his only serious rival. The same day, frustrated at the slowness at which the British were advancing into the gap between the German First and Second Armies, Gallieni sent Lartigue’s 8th Infantry Division to the BEF’s right flank to keep contact between the BEF and Franchet d’Esperey’s Fifth Army (the French and British generals of 1914 were extremely concerned at the prospect of armies being encircled and besieged, after what had happened to the French Armies at Sedan and Metz in 1870). Joffre, concerned that Gallieni might arouse Sir John’s “touchiness,” sent a telegram to Lord Kitchener (British War Secretary) thanking him for Sir John’s efforts.  

In the Trenches !

It was Gallieni’s decision to send 103rd and 104th Infantry Regiments (5 battalions, part of Trentinian’s 7th Infantry Division, itself part of IV Corps; most of 7th Infantry Division, including artillery, had been sent to the front by rail and truck the previous night) to the front on the night of 7/8 September, in taxicabs commandeered the previous evening. The division’s attack failed completely so the taxicab troops had even less impact than sometimes supposed. Although “great publicity for Gallieni; militarily it was insignificant” in Herwig’s view. Upon seeing the "taxicab army" ferrying troops to the front, Gallieni made one of the most oft-quoted remarks of the First World War: "Eh bien, voilà au moins qui n'est pas banal!" ("Well, here at least is something out of the ordinary!"). Learning of Gallieni’s contingency plans to evacuate Paris the previous day, Joffre telegraphed Millerand (8 September) demanding that he cancel Gallieni’s “dangerous” message, and insisting that Gallieni was under his orders and had no business communicating directly with the government. On 8 September Gallieni ordered Maunoury, under heavy pressure from von Kluck, to hold his ground. Joffre gave permission for Maunoury to pull back his left if necessary. The Germans, concerned at the gap between their First and Second Armies, began to pull back on September 9th, giving the Allies a strategic victory in the Battle of the Marne. Joffre authorized General Maunoury's Sixth Army - comprising 150,000 men - to attack the right flank of the German First Army in an action beginning on the morning of September 6th. 

The Marne Monument

 In turning to meet the French attack a 30-mile wide gap appeared in the German lines between the First and Second Army, the latter commanded by the cautious German General Karl von Bulow.   The Allies were prompt in exploiting the break in the German lines, dispatching troops from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to join the French Fifth Army in pouring through the gap between the two German armies, the right wing of Fifth Army simultaneously attacking the German Second Army.   Nevertheless, the German forces were close to achieving a breakthrough against Maunoury's beleaguered forces between 6-8 September, and were only saved on September 7th by the aid of 6,000 French reserve infantry troops  ferried from Paris in streams of now famous taxi cabs, with over 600 cab rides in all! The following night, on September 8th, the aggressive French commander General Franchet d'Esperey's Fifth Army launched a surprise attack against the German Second Army, serving to further widen the gap between the German First and Second Armies.  d'Espery had been a recent appointment,

Le Miracle de la Marne or Von Kluck's F-Up!

Joffre having given him command of Fifth Army in place of the dismissed General Lanrezac, who was deemed too cautious and wanting in 'offensive spirit'. On 9 September the German armies began a retreat ordered by the German Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke.  Moltke feared an Allied breakthrough, plagued by poor communication from his lines at the Marne.   The retreating armies were pursued by the French and British, although the pace of the Allied advance was slow - a mere 12 miles in one day.  The German armies ceased their withdrawal after 40 miles at a point north of the River Aisne, where the First and Second Armies dug in, preparing trenches that were to last for several years. In a strategic triumph at the First Battle of the Marne, which ended on 10 September, the French forces - assisted by the British, had succeeded in throwing back the German offensive, and recapturing lost ground in the process.  More importantly, the battle ended any hopes the Germans had of effectively bringing the war on the Western Front to an early close. The broader reality was it changed the War into a long, and bloody battle of attrition for both sides over the next for years.

Gazing on Gallant Gallieni!

Casualties of the First Battle of Marne were horrible and heavy.  The French incurred 250,000 losses, and it is believed that the Germans suffered similar casualties (no official figures are available).  The British recorded 12,733 casualties among the BEF. It was another sign of the horrors to come for all.

By 11:00 AM the Boys had mauled the Marne and headed for the last stop of the Over Dere Tour. It makes sense to end the Tour where the War ended Compiegne! 

Heading east again the Boys literally drove along the Western Front till they came up to the place World War I end outside the little village of Compiegne!  So what led to the end of the War and why Compiegne? 

World War I ended with the German surrender, which  was the product of events in 1918. By the end of 1917, an Allied victory in Europe was far from certain. The Americans had come into the war – but Russia, overtaken by socialist revolutionaries, had pulled out. The threat of strikes – or worse still, a workers’ revolution – plagued the governments of all major powers. Across the continent support for the war slipped to its lowest level, the public weary of casualty lists, food shortages and promises of victory that never materialized. Italy, a relative newcomer to the Allies, suffered a costly defeat at the Battle of Caporetto. Sections of the French army, devastated by the butchery at Verdun, were largely useless because of widespread mutiny and desertions. Despite these problems, both the Allies and the Central Powers remained confident they could secure victory with one last bold offensive. Allied military commanders tentatively planned this for 1919, by which time there would be 2 million American troops at their disposal. German generals wanted to act sooner, before the Americans could fully mobilize.    

In November 1917 a meeting of the German high command drew up plans for this offensive in the following spring. The mission was to penetrate the Western Front at its weakest points, then pursue two objectives. One branch of the German army would threaten Paris and force the exhausted French to sign an armistice; meanwhile, a larger section would outflank British forces, push them north and hem them in along the North Sea coast, forcing a surrender. To achieve the speed and penetration required for this offensive, German commanders ordered every division along the Western Front to release its most capable battle-hardened soldiers. These men were organized into battalions of shock troops called Sturmmann (meaning ‘storm troopers’); they were then given training in how to infiltrate enemy lines through pre-determined weak points. When the Spring Offensive began in March 1918, these Sturmmann led the German advance. Their initial advances were rapid and successful: in some areas the Western Front was pushed back 60 kilometers, its most significant movement since 1914. German troops advanced close enough to Paris that the French capital could be shelled with a massive artillery piece, hence the Second Battle of the Marne. 

Like the Schlieffen Plan, the Spring Offensive was tactically flawed. The forward wave of storm troopers moved more quickly than their supply lines, and constantly found themselves short of food, ammunition and reinforcements. The use of Germany’s best troops in an advance capacity meant they also suffered a higher rate of casualties, while the quality of rear defensive positions was weakened. The Spring Offensive gained significant ground but at a significant cost, and by July 1918 the assault had lost momentum. Germany had lost almost one million men in a six month period. Its military planners calculated that 1.1 million new soldiers would be needed to sustain the war effort into 1919 – but they also predicted that conscription would barely fill one-quarter of this quota. By mid-1918 the Americans were arriving in numbers, around 10,000 each day. The Allies were also bolstered by fresh divisions of Australian and Canadian troops, who would play a leading role in the counter-offensive. Allied forces broke through the German lines at Amiens and the Somme, with considerable loss on both sides. This sparked German retreats up and down the Western Front, with more than two dozen significant battles between August and October. The Germans were pushed back to the Hindenburg Line – a series of defenses and fortifications well behind the front – and Allied troops even managed to penetrate this line at a couple of points. Momentum was now clearly with the Allies.  

Plus, Germany’s situation was further imperiled by her domestic conditions. By the winter of 1917-18, the availability of food in German cities was critically low. The British naval blockade of German ports had halted food imports, and Berlin’s reallocation of agricultural labor to industry affected domestic production. The harvests of 1917 produced 12 million tons, down from 21 million tons in 1913. A disproportionate share of this was set aside for the military: civilians received 33 per cent of the grain, though they comprised 67 per cent of the population. Germans were consuming pitifully low amounts of meat (12 per cent of pre-war levels) fish (five per cent) and eggs (13 per cent). German farmers, able to grow their own produce, were coping – but the situation in many cities had become drastic. There were reports of malnourished factory workers collapsing at their machinery, of widespread outbreaks of dysentery, and of skin-and-bones children begging in groups on major streets. Civilian deaths in 1918 increased by more than 200,000 from the previous year, chiefly because of starvation. Ten per cent of hospital patients, including many women in childbirth, were reported to have died because of food shortages. This suffering spanned the entirety of 1918 and continued through much of 1919, as the Allies continued the food blockade during the peace negotiations in Paris.

Germany’s position was also weakened by the loss of her allies in the autumn of 1918. Berlin’s largest ally in the Balkans, Bulgaria, signed an armistice with the Allies on September 29th 1918. The Ottoman Empire had endured a series of defeats in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and the Caucasus. Pushed back to the area now held by Turkey, the Ottomans signed an armistice on October 30th. But the most critical loss was the submission of the Austro-Hungarians. Through 1917-18 the Dual Monarchy was beset with its own internal political and economic problems. The 86-year-old emperor Franz Josef had died in November 1916, and his successor, Charles I, had little interest in continuing the war. Through an intermediary the young emperor secretly attempted to negotiate a peace with the Allies, without the involvement or knowledge of Germany. This offer was rejected but news of it was passed to Berlin; the revelation caused friction between the two Central Powers. Charles I was also confronted by rising nationalist movements in the empire, as ethnic groups – Czechs, Slovaks, Slavs and others – demanded independence. Vienna eventually signed an armistice on November 3rd 1918, ending its participation in the war. A week later Charles I abdicated his sovereign power over both kingdoms, effectively abolishing the empire.   At the start of November 1918, a sailors’ mutiny in Kiel lit the fuse of revolution in Germany. Within a week more than a dozen major cities were effectively controlled by mutinous soldiers, sailors and left-wing revolutionary groups. Pressured to abdicate, Kaiser Wilhelm stalled for a couple of days, while attempting to organize military units to crush the rebels. Advised by his generals that he no longer enjoyed the loyalty of the military, Wilhelm consented to abdicate the imperial throne. His abdication was announced by the German chancellor, Prince Max von Baden, on November 9th. At this time, German politician Matthias Erzberger was in Picardie, northern France, commencing armistice negotiations with the French, leading to ...... Compiegne!!!

By 29 September 29th, the German Supreme Army Command informed Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Imperial Chancellor, Count Georg von Hertling at Imperial Army Headquarters in Spa of occupied Belgium, that the military situation facing Germany was hopeless. Quartermaster General  Erich Ludendorff, probably fearing a breakthrough, claimed that he could not guarantee that the front would hold for another two hours and demanded a request be given to the Entente for an immediate ceasefire. In addition, he recommended the acceptance of the main demands of US president Woodrow Wilson (the Fourteen Points) including putting the Imperial Government on a democratic footing, hoping for more favorable peace terms. This enabled him to save the face of the Imperial German Army and put the responsibility for the capitulation and its consequences squarely into the hands of the democratic parties and the parliament. As he said to officers of his staff on 1 October: "They now must lie on the bed that they've made for us."   On October 3rd, the liberal Prince Maximilian of Baden was appointed Chancellor of Germany (prime minister), replacing Georg von Hertling in order to negotiate an armistice. After long conversations with the Kaiser and evaluations of the political and military situations in the Reich, by the 5th, the German government sent a message to President Wilson to negotiate terms on the basis of a recent speech of his and the earlier declared "Fourteen Points" and hoping for a better deal than direct negotiations with the British and French.

In the subsequent two exchanges, Wilson's allusions "failed to convey the idea that the Kaiser's abdication was an essential condition for peace. The leading statesmen of the Reich were not yet ready to contemplate such a monstrous possibility. "As a precondition for negotiations, Wilson demanded the retreat of Germany from all occupied territories, the cessation of submarine activities and the Kaiser's abdication, writing on 23 October: "If the Government of the United States must deal with the military masters and the monarchical autocrats of Germany now, or if it is likely to have to deal with them later in regard to the international obligations of the German Empire, it must demand not peace negotiations but surrender."  

In late October, Ludendorff, in a sudden change of mind, declared the conditions of the Allies unacceptable. He now demanded to resume the war which he himself had declared lost only one month earlier. However, the German soldiers were done and pressing to get home. It was scarcely possible to arouse their readiness for battle anew, and desertions were on the increase. The Imperial Government stayed on course and Ludendorff was replaced by Wilhelm Groener. On November 5th, the Allies agreed to take up negotiations for a truce, now also demanding reparation payments.  

The latest note from Wilson was received in Berlin on November 6th. That same day, the delegation led by Matthias Erzberger departed for France.   A much bigger obstacle, which contributed to the five-week delay in the signing of the Armistice and to the resulting social deterioration in Europe, was the fact that the French, British and Italian governments had no desire to accept the "Fourteen Points" and President Wilson's subsequent promises. For example, they assumed that the de-militarization suggested by Wilson would be limited to the Central Powers. There were also contradictions with their post-War plans that did not include a consistent implementation of the ideal of national self-determination. The Allied statesmen were faced with a problem: so far they had considered the "fourteen commandments" as a piece of clever and effective American propaganda, designed primarily to undermine the fighting spirit of the Central Powers, and to bolster the morale of the lesser Fourteen Points. Now, suddenly, the whole peace structure was supposed to be built up on that set of "vague principles", most of which seemed to them thoroughly unrealistic, and some of which, if they were to be seriously applied, were simply unacceptable.  

Meanwhile in Germany, the sailors' revolt which took place during the night of 29 to 30 October 1918 in the naval port of Wilhelmshaven spread across the whole country within days and led to the proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918 and to the announcement of the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Also on the 9th, Max von Baden handed over the office of Chancellor to Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat. Ebert's SPD and Erzberger's Catholic Centre Party had enjoyed an uneasy relationship with the Imperial government since Bismarck's era in the 1870s and 1880s. They were well represented in the Imperial Reichstag, which had little power over the government, and had been calling for a negotiated peace since 1917. Their prominence in the peace negotiations would cause the new Weimar Republic to lack legitimacy in right-wing and militarist eyes.   The Armistice was the result of a hurried and desperate process. The German delegation headed by Matthias Erzberger crossed the front line in five cars and was escorted for ten hours across the devastated war zone of Northern France, arriving on the morning of 8 November. They were then entrained and taken to the secret destination, aboard Ferdinand Foch's private train parked in a railway siding in the forest of Compiègne.  

The Boys arrived at the Museum that held the Train Car where the Surrender occurred around 1:00 and learned the rest of the story.  

Foch's Hangout !

The wagon was built in 1914 in Saint-Denis as a dining car and was used as such until August 1918. Then the passenger car was converted into an office for Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who used it from the end of October 1918 to September 1919. On 11 November 1918, Foch, as Supreme Commander of the Western Front, signed the armistice with Germany in the then-called "Wagon of Compiègne".

Foch appeared only twice in the three days of negotiations: on the first day, to ask the German delegation what they wanted, and on the last day, to see to the signatures. The Germans were handed the list of Allied demands and given 72 hours to agree. The German delegation discussed the Allied terms not with Foch, but with other French and Allied officers. The Armistice amounted to complete German demilitarization (see list below), with few promises made by the Allies in return. The naval blockade of Germany was not completely lifted until complete peace terms could be agreed upon. There was no question of negotiation. The Germans were able to correct a few impossible demands (for example, the decommissioning of more submarines than their fleet possessed), extended the schedule for the withdrawal and registered their formal protest at the harshness of Allied terms. But they were in no position to refuse to sign. On Sunday 10 November, they were shown newspapers from Paris to inform them that the Kaiser had abdicated. That same day, Erzberger was instructed to sign by Ebert. The cabinet had earlier received a message from Hindenburg, requesting that the armistice be signed even if the Allied conditions could not be improved on.  

The Armistice was agreed at 5:00 a.m. on 11 November (still celebrated in the States as Veterans Day), to come into effect at 11:00 a.m. Paris time, for which reason the occasion is sometimes referred to as "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". Signatures were made between 5:12 a.m. and 5:20 a.m., Paris time. The armistice was signed in a carriage of Foch's private train, CIWL #2419 (Compiègne Wagon). It was later put back into regular service with the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, but after a short period it was withdrawn to be attached to the French presidential train.

The Ghost of Foch !?!

This agreement was the final "cease-fire" which ended fighting in the First World War; the other Central Powers having already reached agreements with the Allied Powers to end hostilities.   Sometime after this the car was returned to the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits and briefly resumed service as a dining car. In September 1919, it was donated to the Musée de l'Armée, in Paris.  

The actual terms, largely written by the Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German forces to behind the Rhine, Allied occupation of the Rhineland and bridgeheads further east, the preservation of infrastructure, the surrender of aircraft, warships, and military matériel, the release of Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, and eventual reparations. No release of German prisoners and no relaxation of the naval blockade of Germany was agreed. Although the armistice ended the fighting, it needed to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles took effect on 10 January 1920.  

The Allies !

The wagon was on display in the Cour des Invalides from 1921 to 1927.   At the request of the Mayor of Compiègne, and with the support of the American Arthur Henry Fleming the car was restored and returned to Compiègne. It was housed in a specially created museum building as part of the "Glade of the Armistice" historic monument, built at the site of the signing ceremony.   In November 1927, it was ceremonially returned to the forest in the exact spot where the Armistice was signed. Marshal Foch, General Weygand and many others watched it being placed in a specially constructed building: the Clairière de l’Armistice.   There it remained, a monument to the defeat of the Kaiser's Germany, until 22 June 1940, when swastika-bedecked German staff cars bearing Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop and others swept into the Clairière and, in that same carriage, demanded and received the surrender armistice from France.  

Le Boys Train-ing Day!

During the Second World War, Hitler ordered that the wagon be returned to exactly the same location for the signing of the second "armistice at Compiègne", on 22 June 1940; this time with Germany victorious. The carriage was moved out of its protective building and returned to the signing-place, which was several metres away and had been marked out as part of the monument. Subsequently, the wagon was taken to Berlin and displayed a week later at the Berlin Cathedral. In 1944 the wagon was sent to Thuringia, in central Germany. Then it moved to Ruhla and later Gotha Crawinkel, near a huge tunnel system. There it was destroyed in March 1945 by the SS with fire and/or dynamite, in the face of the advancing U.S. Army. However, some SS veterans and civilian eye witnesses claim that the wagon had been destroyed by air attack near Ohrdruf while still in Thuringia in April 1944. Even so, it is generally believed the wagon was destroyed in 1945 by the SS.

What the Foch?!

Just outside the Museum is a large statue of Foch that had an interesting history. While the Train car was taken to Berlin, Hitler respected Foch for his bravery and had the statue boarded up so it would not suffer during the War.

A Vengeful Monument !

The French Monument to the Surrender shows a French sword skewering a German Eagle. This monument did not get any of Hitler's love and was destroyed. After the war, the entire Compiègne site was restored, but not until Armistice Day 1950 was a replacement carriage, correct in every detail, re-dedicated: an identical Compagnie des Wagon-Lits carriage, no. 2439, built in 1913 in the same batch as the original and present in 1918, was renumbered no. 2419D.

Now the Tour was complete!!! It being around 2:00 PM and since they only had a crappy breakfast the Boys decided to check out Downtown Compiegne for lunch!

Napoleon's "Little" Compeigne Hangout or Palace !

The Boys found a quaint outdoor Boulangerie still serving lunch at 3:00 (The French are funny about meal times !)  and did it in front of the Château de Compiègne, which is a French chateau, a royal residence built for Louis XV and restored by Napoleon. Compiègne was one of three seats of royal government, the others being Versailles and Fontainebleau. It is located in Compiègne in the Oise department and is open to the public.   Even before the chateau was constructed, Compiègne was the preferred summer residence for French monarchs, primarily for hunting given its proximity to Compiègne Forest. The first royal residence was built in 1374 for Charles V, and a long procession of successors both visited it and modified it. Louis XIV resided in Compiègne some 75 times. Louis XV was perhaps even more favorably impressed; the Comte de Chevergny described his infatuation: "Hunting was his main passion... and Compiègne, with its immense forest, with its endless avenues amongst the trees, with its stretches down which you could ride all day and never come to the end, was the ideal place to indulge that passion."  It is a magnificent estate to check out while one is munching on a fromage and jambon baguette (ham and cheese sandwich for the non-french!) Heading out of town to Paris the Boys stopped where Joan of Arc spent her last days.  

Joan of Arc's last Pad!

During Joan’s successful campaign in France in December of 1429 the thankful King Charles VII of France promoted Joan, her parents, and her brothers to noble status. In 1430, the Duke of Burgundy threatened Champagne and Brie, and Joan promised Charles she would protect the regions. Thus, she left Charles's side to fight the Burgundian forces at the ill-fated Battle of Compiegne. Joan was accompanied only by her brother Pierre, her squire Jean de Aulon, and a few soldiers. Nonetheless, when she reached Compiegne on May 14, 1430, Joan's very presence helped greatly to rally the people there, giving them new hope against the Burgundian threat. Joan then accompanied Renaud, the archbishop of Reims, southward before returning to Compiegne. Upon her return, Joan was surprised to find the city under siege from a leader allied with England, John of Luxembourg. Luxembourg was the Duke of Burgundy's most capable captain, so Joan was up against a formidable opponent. Joan managed to sneak into the city secretly, past John's guards, and led several brave attempts to repel the Burgundian forces. Totally outmanned, the city of Compiegne fell to John of Luxembourg's army. Joan led forces to hold off John's soldiers while the citizens escaped.

In the process, Luxembourg's men captured Joan, an even more valuable prize than the city itself: Joan had found her army's escape route cut off by the British army, which had lain in waiting, and as the French made a final attempt to flee, an archer pulled Joan off her horse and onto the ground. After her capture, Joan immediately swore to her captors that she would do nothing that would betray Charles VII where she was kept in the tower in front of the Boys.

With a good tour of Compeigne complete, around 4:00 PM the Boys started the usually harrowing drive to Paris. Unbelievable there was little to no traffic and the Boys made it to the venerable Hilton Paris Opera (with an amazingly ornate Lobby shown below) in 45 minutes.  Checking in and dumping their stuff, Mike, Bone, and Ron headed to the Lobby Bar to plan their triumphal entrance into Paris!  

Lobbying in the Hilton Paris Opera!

Having a few cocktails in the Hilton Lobby Bar Mike, Bone, and Ron planned their attack plan. Since they were Wolverines, first stop Notre Dame! 

Wolverines at Notre Dame!?!

In 1160, because the Catholic church in Paris had become the "Parish church of the kings of Europe", Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the previous Paris cathedral, Saint-Étienne (St Stephen's), which had been founded in the 4th century, unworthy of its lofty role, and had it demolished shortly after he assumed the title of Bishop of Paris. As with most foundation myths, this account needs to be taken with a grain of salt; archeological excavations in the 20th century suggested that the Merovingian cathedral replaced by Sully was itself a massive structure, with a five-aisled nave and a façade some 36m across. It is possible therefore that the faults with the previous structure were exaggerated by the Bishop to help justify the rebuilding in a newer style.

According to legend, Sully had a vision of a glorious new cathedral for Paris, and sketched it on the ground outside the original church. To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built to transport materials for the rest of the cathedral. Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII, and opinion differs as to whether Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone of the cathedral. However, both were at the ceremony. Bishop de Sully went on to devote most of his life and wealth to the cathedral's construction. Construction of the choir took from 1163 until around 1177 and the new High Altar was consecrated in 1182 (it was normal practice for the eastern end of a new church to be completed first, so that a temporary wall could be erected at the west of the choir, allowing the chapter to use it without interruption while the rest of the building slowly took shape). After Bishop Maurice de Sully's death in 1196, his successor, Eudes de Sully (no relation) oversaw the completion of the transepts and pressed ahead with the nave, which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in 1208. By this stage, the western facade had also been laid out, though it was not completed until around the mid-1240s.  

Ron, Bone, and Mike in Square du Vert Galent !

If they fall in the River, they would be in Seine !

Notre Dame is in one of the oldest sections of Paris dating back to the Roman's (in fact a museum just opened right next to Notre Dame that shows the Roman Walls of Paris dating to 300 AD)  and strategically located on an island. On the south end of the island is a cool park where the Heir to the Throne had a residence which is very germaine to Templar lore. It was here on Friday the 13th,1314 that the last Grandmaster of the Templars Jacques de Molay was sentenced to death, by the King of France for primarily owning too much of the Kings debt !  Wishing the Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy would have met a similar fate. The Boys headed to check out the Champs de elysee and the Arc du Triumph!

Mike, Bone, and Ron's Arc de' Triomphe's completion of the Over Dere Tour!

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l'Étoile — the étoile or "star" of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues. The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

The Flame of the World War I Unknown Solider !

Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Interred on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins' fire was extinguished in the fourth century. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified.

A ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every 11 November on the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Entente Powers and Germany in 1918. It was originally decided on 12 November 1919 to bury the unknown soldier's remains in the Panthéon, but a public letter-writing campaign led to the decision to bury him beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The coffin was put in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc on 10 November 1920, and put in its final resting place on 28 January 1921. The slab on top bears the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918 ("Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918").

The story has an American twist on it. In 1961, American President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by French President Charles de Gaulle. After the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, Mrs Kennedy remembered the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. President Charles de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and witnessed Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that had been inspired by her visit to France.

The Boys with Tour Eiffel in the Background!

All this walking around is thirsty work, and there is ABSOLUTELY no better place to quench that thirst than Harrys' New York ,,,,,,, yep, it Paris!

Best , Damned ,, Bar ,,, in the World !!! Harry's New York!

What did Mike, Ron, and Bone have in common with Ernest Hemingway? They all drank at Sloppy Joes in Key West and Harry's New York in Paris !!! Harry's New York Bar located at 5, Rue Daunou, in the Opera District near the Boys Hotel is an internationally renowned bar. The History of the bar is it was acquired by former American star jockey Tod Sloan in 1911, who converted it from a bistro and renamed it the "New York Bar." Sloan had gone partners with a New Yorker named Clancy (no one seems to know his first name) who owned a bar in Manhattan. That bar was dismantled and shipped to Paris. Sloan then hired Harry MacElhone, a barman from Dundee, Scotland, to run it. At the time, American tourists and members of the artistic and literary communities were beginning to show up in Paris in ever-increasing numbers and Sloan hoped to capitalize on his fame and make the place a spot where expatriates would feel at home. His bar did become a popular spot for members of the American Field Service Ambulance Corps during World War I. However, financial problems from Sloan's overspending on a lavish personal lifestyle forced him to sell the bar. In 1923, MacElhone, its former barman, bought the bar and added his name to it. He would be responsible for making it into a legendary Parisian landmark. When Harry died, in 1958, his son Andrew took over the bar and ran it until 1989. His son, Duncan, took over the bar and ran it unto his death in 1998, whereupon his widow, Isabelle MacElhone, took it over, or all in the family!

Over the years, Harry's New York Bar was frequented by a number of famous American expatriates and international celebrities such as Prince Serge Obolensky, Knute Rockne, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Jeremy Shaffer, Efe Gures, Bill Tilden, Coco Chanel, Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Ramon Novarro, Aly Khan, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, Brendan Behan (who worked there circa 1948-49 according to his memoirs Confessions of an Irish Rebel), and even, occasionally, the Duke of Windsor. In the 1960 Ian Fleming short story "From a View to a Kill", James Bond recalls visiting Harry's Bar during his first visit to Paris at age 16. He followed the instructions in Harry's advertisement in the Continental Daily Mail, and told his taxi driver 'Sank Roo Doe Noo'. He recalls "That had started one of the memorable evenings of his life, culminating in the loss, almost simultaneous, of his virginity and his notecase".

In the first chapter of his book “Le Diable au corps (novel)” Raymond Radiguet mentions “giving the taxi driver the address of a bar rue Daunou” as Marthe “dreamed to discover an American bar”. The "Ivories" Piano Bar at Harry's (in the basement) is where George Gershwin composed An American in Paris. Harry's New York Bar is said to be the birthplace of classic cocktails such as the Bloody Mary, French 75, Side Car and Monkey gland. Harry's also conducts a straw poll before each US presidential election, customers who provide proof of US citizenship can vote in the poll. The results have mirrored every election, except 1976, 2004, and 2016 since the poll began in 1924. Bone spent a lot of time in Harry's (danged near every Thursday nite!) during the  2016 Trump/Clinton Election and marvelled ast how engaged the French and foreigners were engaged in the American debacle!  And,,, on the topic of debacles!! 

Absinthe of Senses !!!

To celebrate the accomplishment of the ENTIRE World War I Tour, ain't better cocktail to order at the World Oldest Cocktail Bar to make one absent of their senses than Absinthe!  Now Bone and Ron had suffered the effects of the potion  at the Absinthe House on Bourbon Street in New Orleans but Mike had not. Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic (45–74% ABV / 90–148 U.S. proof) beverage. It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood"), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs, hence why it taste like licorice. Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in the late 18th century.

Making the potent brew !!  

It rose to great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Owing in part to its association with bohemian culture, the consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists. Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron and Alfred Jarry were all known absinthe drinkers. Absinthe has often been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. The chemical compound thujone, although present in the spirit in only trace amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria-Hungary. Although absinthe was vilified, it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Recent studies have shown that absinthe's psychoactive properties (apart from that of the alcohol) have been exaggerated.

Mike, Bone, and Ron Celebrating the Over Dere Tour with an Absinthe!

True to form the wild buzzing started for all three of the boys within moments of the potent potion touching their lips, which led to a change in decisioning from "one drink for the night" to "one more" at Dirty Dicks!

The Boys gettin' their last nite, late nite kicks at Dirty Dicks!!!

The next stop took the Boys into the bohemian, and earthy Montmarte section of Paree’, where in the 1890’s the French artist community with such artists such as Toulouse- Lautrec flocked to houses of burlesque such as Moulin Rouge! One of the unique “drinkeries” in the neighborhood is Dirty Dicks. While it is not a strip club, it does have a congenial international crew serving at this cheekily named Polynesian-themed rum bar that serves awesome tropical cocktails, such as the flaming Scorpion Bowls for eclectic crowds, and interesting craft beers from Oregon to boot. Hipsters and regular people alike are enjoying the retro ambiance at this kitschy cool lounge. Mike, Bone, and Ron all sampled one of their ridiculous large Mai Tai’s !

Trip, PostScript

The Boys wrapped the monumental bar hopping and trip around 1:30 AM. The next morning came to early with Mike heading to Switzerland to meet Sherrie, and Bone and Ron, jetting back to Meeechigan ........

Lets see:

Mission Accomplished!