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Verdun

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Northeast France isn't a regular tourist destination -- most visitors don't venture past Reims, with its gorgeous cathedral and Champagne culture. But just a bit farther east is a city worth visiting, one that is well-known among World War I buffs: Verdun.

Founded by the Celtic Gauls more than 2,000 years ago, Verdun is located on the River Meuse near the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. It was the site of the longest and most brutal battle of World War I, the Battle of Verdun, which raged through most of 1916. The German and French sides suffered a combined 700,000 casualties, and although the French won, the victory was seen as a blight on the war because of the sheer number of soldiers wounded, lost or dead. The losses were ultimately deemed unnecessary. The battlefield, which is only six square miles, can still be visited today.

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