World War I Section
La Royere – viewpoint - Chemin des Dames
La Royere farm
La Royere is located on the western part of the Chemin des Dames, at the intersection of the D18 and D15 roads.
La Royere was the name of a large farm.
The building and surrounding villages and hamlets were completely eradicated during WWI.
The farm was rebuilt in the 1920s as a 'reference' farm.
It is now located a couple of 100m to the east of the current viewpoint, along the Chemin des Dames.
La Royere site today boasts superb vista of the surrounding countryside and Ailette Valley.
It is difficult to imagine that, by the end of WWI, this beautiful valley was no more than a lunar landscape gutted by shells craters and trenches!
La Royere - Commemorative Site for La Malmaison offensive
La Royere was turned into a place of Remembrance in order to commemorate La Malmaison offensive and the bravery of the French Colonial Troops.
The failed offensive launched by General Nivelle on April 17, 1917, also known as Second battle of the Aisne, was indeed one of the deadliest offensives of the Western Front.
It tragically resulted in an astronomical number of casualties; it also triggered a deep crisis of trust and a series of mutinies among the French troops.
Marshal Pétain replaced Nivelle on April 25.
La Royere and surrounding area were the scene of fierce fighting that began early July 1917.
It lasted throughout summer until the victory at La Malmaison on October 23.
The French troops indeed pushed the Germans to retreat to the north bank of the Ailette and took control of the Chemin des Dames.
The commemorative site of La Royere consists of a symbolic concrete trench.
Five information panels are affixed to the walls.
They relate the fighting, the role of the colonial troops, the offensive at La Malmaison, the situation in France, the preparations for the offensive of October 1917 and the situation on the Aisne Front.
Three orientation tables stand on an earthen mound, located about 50m from the trench.
These tables show the French, British and Germans positions where the fighting unfolded in the Ailette Valley, by the lake of Monampteuil, the village of Pargny-Filain and the Bois de Grove.
Ste Berthe Chapel
La Royere viewpoint overlooks also the small Ste Berthe Chapel, nestled in the fields below.
The chapel was once a popular pilgrimage, because of the healing properties of the spring located nearby.
The Cossack burned the tiny chapel down to the ground during the Battle of Craonne of 1814.
The building was once more destroyed during the Battle of the Chemin des Dames!
The Leduc, the family who owned La Royere Farm in 1914, rebuilt the chapel in 1932.
La Royere is easily accessed from the road and has a small car-park.
Aisne department - Filain - Chemin des Dames-Crossroads D18 and D15 - Picardie region
Coordinates: Lat 49.449184 - Long 3.547747