Clairière de l'Armistice

Lille, Flanders & the Somme

The armistice that put an end to WWI was signed in a thick forest 6.5km east of Compiègne, inside the railway carriage of the Allied supreme commander. On 22 June 1940, in the same railway car, the French were forced to sign the armistice that recognised Nazi Germany's domination of France. These momentous events are commemorated with monuments, memorabilia, newspaper clippings and 800 stereoscopic (3D) photos.

Taken to Berlin for exhibition, the railway carriage used in 1918 and 1940 was destroyed in April 1945 on Hitler's personal orders, lest it be used for a third surrender – his own. The wooden rail wagon now on display is of the same type as the original, though some of the interior furnishings, hidden during WWII, were the ones actually used in 1918.

From Compiègne, take the road towards Soissons.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lille, Flanders & the Somme attractions

1. Palais de Compiègne

3.48 MILES

This 1337-room palace, originally built for Louis XV, hosted Napoléon III's dazzling hunting parties, which drew aristocrats from all around Europe. A…

3. Musée Franco-Américain

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Inside the 1612-built Château de Blérancourt, 33km northeast of Compiègne, the French–American museum reopened in 2017 after a decade of archaeological…

4. Cathédrale de Notre Dame

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Senlis' Gothic cathedral was built between 1150 and 1191. The cathedral is unusually bright, with original stained glass. The 78m-high south tower dates…

5. Senlis Museums

21.04 MILES

Senlis was a royal seat from the time of Clovis in the 5th and 6th centuries to Henri IV (r 1589–1610), and contains three small but well-formed adjacent…

6. Château de Chantilly Gardens

24.79 MILES

Sprawling over 115 hectares, the wondrous gardens of the Château de Chantilly encompass the formal Jardin Français (French Garden), with flower beds,…

7. Château de Chantilly

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A storybook vision amid an artificial lake and magnificent gardens, the Château de Chantilly contains a superb collection of paintings within the Musée…

8. Grandes Écuries

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The Grandes Écuries, built between 1719 and 1740 to house 240 horses and 400-plus hounds, stand west of the château near Chantilly’s famous hippodrome …