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How World War I Was Fought in the Forests of Paris

From 15 June 2014 to 30 June 2014

An installation in front of the Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville is a well-known landmark in the City of Light. What some visitors may not know, however, is that the famous city hall is also often the site of many interesting exhibits. From June 15, 2014 until June 30, 2014, the Hôtel de Ville will host an installation called 'Stratégique forêt,' or 'Forest Strategy' in English.


The installation transports visitors back to the First World War, which involved battles in much of the Parisian forest. Although few visual reminders remain of the time between 1914 and 1918 when the city was caught up in fighting, the woods surrounding Paris still tell the tale.


Organized by the French National Office of Forests, the exhibit will be displayed on the large square in front of the Hôtel de Ville. It paints a picture of the Parisian camps created in the forests that lie with a 30 kilometer radius of the central city — with their trenches, fortifications, shelters and artillery positions.


Through photographs, documents and maps, spectators can go back 100 years to those troubled times. Two giant maps, each one measuring 20 x 25 meters large, were made just for this installation in order to compare the placement of the military camps in 1914 with the current state of the Paris-region forests.