• 001 - the logo.jpg
  • 002 - Hiroshima sunset.jpg
  • 003 - Auschwitz-Birkenau ramp.jpg
  • 004 - Chernobyl contamination.jpg
  • 005 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 006 - Berlin Wall madness.jpg
  • 007 - Bulgaria - monument at the bottom of Buzludzhy park hill.jpg
  • 008 - Ijen crater.jpg
  • 009 - Aralsk, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 010 - Paris catacombs.jpg
  • 011 - Krakatoa.jpg
  • 012 - Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hanoi.jpg
  • 013 - Uyuni.jpg
  • 014 - DMZ Vietnam.jpg
  • 015 - Colditz Kopie.jpg
  • 016 - Glasgow Necropolis.jpg
  • 017 - Hashima ghost island.jpg
  • 018 - Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 019 - Arlington.jpg
  • 020 - Karosta prison.jpg
  • 021 - Kamikaze.jpg
  • 022 - Chacabuco ghost town.jpg
  • 023 - Eagle's Nest, Obersalzberg, Berchtesgaden.jpg
  • 024 - Kursk.jpg
  • 025 - Bran castle, Carpathia, Romania.jpg
  • 026 - Bestattungsmuseum Wien.jpg
  • 027 - Pripyat near Chernobyl.jpg
  • 028 - Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 029 - Pyramida Lenin.jpg
  • 030 - Falklands.jpg
  • 031 - Majdanek.jpg
  • 032 - Soufriere volcano, Montserrat.jpg
  • 033 - moai on Easter Island.jpg
  • 034 - Sidoarjo.jpg
  • 035 - Hötensleben.jpg
  • 036 - Natzweiler.jpg
  • 037 - Polygon, Semipalatinsk test site, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 038 - Srebrenica.jpg
  • 039 - Liepaja, Latvia.jpg
  • 040 - Vemork hydroelectric power plant building, Norway.jpg
  • 041 - Enola Gay.jpg
  • 042 - Pentagon 9-11 memorial.jpg
  • 043 - Robben Island prison, South Africa.jpg
  • 044 - Tollund man.jpg
  • 045 - Marienthal tunnel.jpg
  • 046 - Aso, Japan.jpg
  • 047 - Labrador battery Singapore.jpg
  • 048 - Artyom island, Absheron, Azerbaijan.jpg
  • 049 - Treblinka.jpg
  • 050 - Titan II silo.jpg
  • 051 - dosemetering doll, Chernobyl.jpg
  • 052 - Holocaust memorial, Berlin.jpg
  • 053 - Komodo dragon.jpg
  • 054 - cemeterio general, Santiago de Chile.jpg
  • 055 - Tuol Sleng, Phnom Phen, Cambodia.jpg
  • 056 - West Virginia penitentiary.jpg
  • 057 - ovens, Dachau.jpg
  • 058 - Derry, Northern Ireland.jpg
  • 059 - Bulgaria - Buzludzha - workers of all countries unite.jpg
  • 060 - Sachsenhausen.jpg
  • 061 - Tiraspol dom sovietov.jpg
  • 062 - modern-day Pompeii - Plymouth, Montserrat.jpg
  • 063 - Pico de Fogo.jpg
  • 064 - Trinity Day.jpg
  • 065 - Zwentendorf control room.jpg
  • 066 - Wolfschanze.jpg
  • 067 - Hiroshima by night.jpg
  • 068 - mass games, North Korea.jpg
  • 069 - Harrisburg.jpg
  • 070 - Nuremberg.jpg
  • 071 - Mostar.jpg
  • 072 - Tu-22, Riga aviation museum.jpg
  • 073 - Gallipoli, Lone Pine.jpg
  • 074 - Auschwitz-Birkenau - fence.jpg
  • 075 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 076 - Atatürk Mausoleum, Ankara.jpg
  • 077 - Banda Aceh boats.jpg
  • 078 - AMARG.jpg
  • 079 - Chacabuco ruins.jpg
  • 080 - Bucharest.jpg
  • 081 - Bernauer Straße.jpg
  • 082 - Death Railway, Thailand.jpg
  • 083 - Mandor killing fields.jpg
  • 084 - Kozloduy.jpg
  • 085 - Jerusalem.jpg
  • 086 - Latin Bridge, Sarajevo.jpg
  • 087 - Panmunjom, DMZ, Korea.jpg
  • 088 - Ijen blue flames.jpg
  • 089 - Derry reconsilliation monument.jpg
  • 090 - Ebensee.jpg
  • 091 - Mödlareuth barbed wire.jpg
  • 092 - skull heaps in Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 093 - Nikel.jpg
  • 094 - Fukushima-Daiichi NPP.jpg
  • 095 - Tital launch control centre.jpg
  • 096 - Dallas Dealy Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum.jpg
  • 097 - Auschwitz I.jpg
  • 098 - Stalin and Lenin, Tirana, Albania.jpg
  • 099 - Malta, Fort St Elmo.jpg
  • 100 - Peenemünde.jpg
  • 101 - Tarrafal.jpg
  • 102 - Kilmainham prison, Dublin.jpg
  • 103 - North Korea.jpg
  • 104 - Mittelbau-Dora.jpg
  • 105 - St Helena.jpg
  • 106 - Stutthof, Poland.jpg
  • 107 - Merapi destruction.jpg
  • 108 - Chueung Ek killing fields, Cambodia.jpg
  • 109 - Marienborn former GDR border.jpg
  • 110 - Mig and star, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 111 - Nagasaki WWII tunnels.jpg
  • 112 - Hellfire Pass, Thailand.jpg
  • 113 - Kiev.jpg
  • 114 - Grutas Park, Lithuania.jpg
  • 115 - Zwentendorf reactor core.jpg
  • 116 - two occupations, Tallinn.jpg
  • 117 - Trunyan burial site.jpg
  • 118 - Ushuaia prison.jpg
  • 119 - Buchenwald.jpg
  • 120 - Marienthal with ghost.jpg
  • 121 - Murmansk harbour - with an aircraft carrier.jpg
  • 122 - Berlin Olympiastadion.JPG
  • 123 - Bastille Day, Paris.jpg
  • 124 - Spassk.jpg
  • 125 - Theresienstadt.jpg
  • 126 - B-52s.jpg
  • 127 - Bledug Kuwu.jpg
  • 128 - Friedhof der Namenlosen, Vienna.jpg
  • 129 - Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks.jpg
  • 130 - mummies, Bolivia.jpg
  • 131 - Barringer meteor crater.jpg
  • 132 - Murambi, Rwanda.jpg
  • 133 - NTS.jpg
  • 134 - Mauthausen Soviet monument.jpg
  • 135 - pullution, Kazakhstan.JPG
  • 136 - palm oil madness.jpg
  • 137 - Berlin socialist realism.jpg
  • 138 - Okawa school building ruin.jpg
  • 139 - Pawiak, Warsaw.jpg
  • 140 - flying death, military museum Dresden.JPG
  • 141 - KGB gear.JPG
  • 142 - KZ jacket.JPG
  • 143 - ex-USSR.JPG
  • 144 - Indonesia fruit bats.JPG
  • 145 - Alcatraz.JPG
  • 146 - Chernobyl Museum, Kiev, Ukraine.JPG
  • 147 - Halemaumau lava lake glow, Hawaii.JPG
  • 148 - Rosinenbomber at Tempelhof, Berlin.jpg
  • 149 - Verdun, France.JPG
  • 150 - hospital, Vukovar, Croatia.JPG
  • 151 - the original tomb of Napoleon, St Helena.JPG
  • 152 - Buchenwald, Germany.JPG
  • 153 - Bhopal.JPG
  • 154 - Groß-Rosen, Poland.jpg
  • 155 - at Monino, Russia.jpg
  • 156 - blinking Komodo.jpg
  • 157 - inside Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 158 - Mount St Helens, USA.JPG
  • 159 - Maly Trostenec, Minsk, Belarus.jpg
  • 160 - Vucedol skulls, Croatia.JPG
  • 161 - colourful WW1 shells.JPG
  • 162 - Zeljava airbase in Croatia.JPG
  • 163 - rusting wrecks, Chernobyl.JPG
  • 164 - San Bernadine alle Ossa, Milan, Italy.jpg
  • 165 - USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.JPG
  • 166 - Brest Fortress, Belarus.JPG
  • 167 - thousands of bats, Dom Rep.JPG
  • 168 - Hohenschönhausen, Berlin.JPG
  • 169 - Perm-36 gulag site.JPG
  • 170 - Jasenovac, Croatia.JPG
  • 171 - Beelitz Heilstätten.JPG
  • 172 - Kremlin, Moscow.jpg
  • 173 - old arms factory, Dubnica.JPG
  • 174 - Pervomaisc ICBM base, more  missiles, including an SS-18 Satan.jpg
  • 175 - Cellular Jail, Port Blair.jpg
  • 177 - control room, Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 178 - Podgorica, Montenegro, small arms and light weapons sculpture.jpg
  • 179 - Vught.jpg
  • 180 - Japanese cave East Timor.jpg
  • 181 - Ani.jpg
  • 182 - Indonesia wildfire.jpg
  • 183 - Chacabuco big sky.jpg
  • 184 - Bunker Valentin, Germany.JPG
  • 185 - Lest we Forget, Ypres.JPG
  • 186 - the logo again.jpg

France

  
FranceA country that is a prime tourism destination for many reasons (scenery, culinary delights, architecture, art, beaches, festivals, etc., etc.), and it also has its share of dark destinations.
 
This includes two of the most important sites related to World War One, the Somme and Verdun.
 
During WWII, much of France was occupied by Nazi Germany – until its liberation by the Allies starting with the Normandy D-Day landings. There are several important remains from that period, including the French part of the Holocaust, as well as sites devoted to the French Resistance movement.
 
From the Cold War, a major relic is France's first nuclear submarine, Le Redoutable, which used to carry a significant part of the nation's nuclear missile deterrent ("force de frappe") around the seas. Now it's a unique museum piece.
  
In a non-war-related sphere, France's glorious capital Paris holds amongst its innumerable top-notch sights also two of the finest examples of dark attractions of their respective kinds: Pere Lachaise cemetery and the fabled catacombs, the latter probably the largest ossuary in the world, as well as a few other sites worth having a look at.
 
- Oradour-sur-Glane ruined ghost town
 
- Natzweiler-Struthof former concentration camp memorial site
 
 
      
   
Given the country's location in central Europe, it's easily reached from most parts of that continent, but intercontinental traffic too makes it quite accessible. OK, most international flights will use the main airport of France, Paris Charles de Gaulle (which is a real pain in the a*** – possibly the worst airport of a western capital city of them all), but it does provide the most convenient way in if you do have to fly. From Great Britain, on the other hand, you can these days get a fast train from London through the Channel Tunnel, which provides an excellent alternative to flying.
 
Within France, the same is true as the country has a very good rail network, including the classic TGV high-speed trains.
 
Visiting some of the places listed above will require a car, however. France's roads are fine. Remember, though, that motorways charge toll at frequent booths – and the costs can pile up. Using smaller roads, on the other hand, can be very scenic (if much slower). French drivers love overtaking, so be aware of that too.
 
The most annoying thing about driving (or any navigating) in France is the sign-posting. It sometimes seems like no-one has ever enlightened the French about the purpose of it. Rather than consistently frustrating drivers it should aid navigation, one would think. Not so in France. It was here that I've encountered more crazily flawed sign-posting than anywhere else in the Western world. For instance, I've been puzzled by signs that inform you about a turn-off you should have taken after you've just past it. In contrast, sometimes no signs are there at all until you're right in front of what you were looking for (and thus no longer need the sign). Yet other signs were so complex that you'd need to stop and park by the sign in order to decipher it, such was the overload of info on it, making it look more like the circuit diagram for a computer than a road sign. Other things have left me scratching my head too and I wonder whether I've just been excessively unlucky or whether my impression that this is something quintessentially French is indeed correct.
 
Of course, if you use a sat-nav system, then this won't affect you as much. Or so you would assume. Last time I drove in France I did come equipped with a sat nav, but that machine didn't particularly like French roads either. Especially in Strasbourg it sent me on miles and miles of unwanted random detours, which strained my nerves to breaking point. Maybe driving in France is simply not supposed to be anything but stressful.
 
Accommodation in France can be really quirky, including many an old chateau in the countryside which offer rooms that needn't even be expensive. The range overall is vast and preparatory research really pays off.
 
Food & drink in France are fabled – although in my opinion often disproportionately so. The county's reputation as a foodie heaven is quite lopsided. The luxury haute cuisine temples may be of top quality, OK, but who will have that on a regular basis? The "normal" French regional cuisines are often a lot more humdrum and bland. Not bad, just not as wonderful as international reputation has it. And especially away from the coast with its plentiful seafood, non-meat eaters can have a hard time finding anything edible. Ovo-lacto vegetarians at least can enjoy the wonderful range of French cheeses, which are indeed often superb, or cheese-based dishes such as quiche. But vegans will struggle a lot.
 
The gourmet reputation of France is no longer contemporary anyway, as recent statistics reveal that the French are now the biggest fast-food consumers in the world after the Americans. So if a burger is your thing, then things have improved in France. Otherwise, weeell …
 
All that said, it is of course possible to make cool culinary discoveries in France too, just not necessarily on every corner or at levels notably better than in neighbouring countries. The gastronomic gulf that may once have existed between France and, say, Great Britain, has long been closed.
 
As for drinks, France is of course reputed as a top wine country – but again I find that exaggerated. No doubt, there are good qualities, but French wines are hardly so necessarily the pinnacle of everything as the French (and many others) automatically seem to believe. I could name at least half a dozen other countries on a par or exceeding France on this front. And with regard to spirits, don't get me started on that Cognac stuff. I've never understood what the fuss is about with that. Come on, at least Spain and Armenia can both make this better than France. And when it comes to genuine top-quality spirits, the gulf between a top malt whisky and Cognac is in direct comparison nothing short of a disastrous Waterloo for the French efforts.
 
  
 
  • France 01 - Vive la FranceFrance 01 - Vive la France
  • France 02 - iconic gallic poultryFrance 02 - iconic gallic poultry
  • France 03 - classicFrance 03 - classic
  • France 04 - onions and garlicFrance 04 - onions and garlic
  • France 05 - patisserieFrance 05 - patisserie
  • France 06 - fruits de merFrance 06 - fruits de mer
  • France 07 - fromageFrance 07 - fromage
  • France 07b - gourmet foodFrance 07b - gourmet food
  • France 08 - vin blancFrance 08 - vin blanc
  • France 09 - oh la laFrance 09 - oh la la
  • France 10 - CannesFrance 10 - Cannes
  • France 11 - AlpsFrance 11 - Alps
  • France 12 - coastFrance 12 - coast
  • France 13 - BrittanyFrance 13 - Brittany
  • France 14 - idyllic ruralnessFrance 14 - idyllic ruralness
  • France 15 - small town picturesquenessFrance 15 - small town picturesqueness
  • France 16 - more than half-timbered houseFrance 16 - more than half-timbered house
  • France 17 - AlsaceFrance 17 - Alsace
  • France 18 - Petit France, StrasbourgFrance 18 - Petit France, Strasbourg
  • France 19 - StrasbourgFrance 19 - Strasbourg
  • France 20 - catholic crueltyFrance 20 - catholic cruelty
  • France 21 - gallic catholicismFrance 21 - gallic catholicism
  • France 22 - church and viaductFrance 22 - church and viaduct
  • France 23 - chateauFrance 23 - chateau
  • France 24 - chateau and gardenFrance 24 - chateau and garden
  • France 25 - formal gardenFrance 25 - formal garden
  • France 26 - garden in WilliersFrance 26 - garden in Williers
  • France 27 - chateau of one of the big champagne makers, ReimsFrance 27 - chateau of one of the big champagne makers, Reims
  • France 28 - prison in AmiensFrance 28 - prison in Amiens
  • France 29 - Amiens cathedralFrance 29 - Amiens cathedral
  • France 30 - Amiens cathedral detailFrance 30 - Amiens cathedral detail
  • France 31 - Amiens streetFrance 31 - Amiens street
  • France 32 - Tricolore galoreFrance 32 - Tricolore galore
 
   Brittany images courtesy of Andreas Ries

  

© dark-tourism.com, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

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