An unforgettable day at Fort Troyon

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During the First World War, the French Fort Troyon prevented a German advance towards Verdun in 1914. Today, the ruins of the fort are accessible to the public and the fort is operated and maintained by a foundation. I had a memorable day there. I visited the fort during a first introduction to the battlefields around Saint-Mihiel. Upon arrival, the ticket seller welcomed me with “kein rucksack, kein rucksack”. Apparently I look German…

It turned out that it was not possible to enter the fort with a backpack to prevent theft. I explained that it was my camera bag and that I wanted to photograph Fort Troyon. Then I had another problem. It was not possible to take professional photographs without permission from the fort’s “Monsieur Le Président”. Fortunately, this good man was sitting next to the ticket seller. I showed him some photos of Fort Honswijk that I had recently taken. He was apparently impressed and I was allowed to take photographs, provided that I stayed behind the fences that protected the dangerous places within the fort. I soon discovered that the best photos could be taken inside the fences and I returned to the counter to ask permission to photograph inside the fences. “Mais bien sûr, pas de problème”. Suddenly everything was possible, of course at my own risk. Afterwards I put down ten euros as a thank you. “Pour un vin, une bière ou pour le fort”.