A Common History: France, America & the World Wars
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Your guide is a French historian specializing in French-American relations -- the ideal person to help you explore the town of Pougastel-Daoulas and visit its Calvary. A Calvary is an open-air representation of the crucifixion of Jesus, and this one was built between 1602 and 1604 to mark the end of the bubonic plague epidemic. Fast forward to 1944, when the Brest area was bombarded by American forces as they advanced towards the city. Several of the Calvary's statues were badly damaged, as were the three crosses. Their savior was John Davis Skilton -- an Army Officer and a curator at the Washington Museum in civilian life. Skilton founded the Plougastel Calvary Restoration Fund and its work is now evident in the statue you will see today.
Heading back to Brest, you'll stop at the World War I Naval Monument, which stands on the ramparts of the city, overlooking the harbor. This was a major base of operations for American naval vessels during World War I. Of the more than two million members of the American Expeditionary Forces arriving in France, more than 700,000 'Sammies' flowed through Brest.
Your final destination is the Castle of Brest. Within its walls, the National Naval Museum houses exhibits testifying to the great naval adventure of Arsenal Brest and the French Navy. This is a great representation of the enduring friendship between France and the USA, from the Revolutionary War era through today. In the newly-renovated museum, you will discover masterpieces of naval decoration, artifacts from the Laperouse expedition, and the iconic ships of the contemporary Navy.
Wear comfortable walking shoes.