We embarked on a day trip from Paris Gare de l'Est to Reims in the Champagne region. The trip takes about an hour on the high speed TGV line.
We walked quickly from the train station to the Museum of the Surrender (Musee de la Reddition) to get in a tour before they closed for lunch at noon. It was in this building, a school turned into Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters during World War II, that the Nazis unconditionally surrendered to end the war in Europe. We marched up the stairs, past an American flag.
We found our way to the War Room which was preserved as it was during WWII with maps on the wall and a table highlighting the positions of different parties during the surrender meeting.
Casualties, supplies, and prisoners of war were manually tallied on the wall.
Nazi prisoners of war were tallied on a giant swastika.
A piece of an allied bomber was on display.
After our brief tour, we admired the Allied flags flying outside the museum.
We headed into town past a stately French war memorial reflecting on how different this place must have been less than 70 years ago.