The extent of planning and
the lengths to which the Government went to ensure the comfort, safety, and
contentment of the Gold Star Mothers and Widows is astonishing, and certainly
With characteristic American zeal, efficiency and speed, Colonel
Richard T. Ellis, Quartermaster Corps, U.S. Army, the Senior Army
liaison in Paris, sought and received special permission to
rearrange French custom to suit the military and their American
“charges.” For example, national museums and places of interest
granted special access at reduced entrance fees; permission was
granted for cars to park in places usually prohibited; special
trains with additional dining cars were arranged for the group; and Invalides Station (normally reserved for state occasions) was made
available for the pilgrims.
privileges were also arranged with hotels to provide an “American
breakfast” instead of the traditional light Continental fare; French
bus companies were asked to provide “luxury” vehicles with the
latest safety devices and blankets for the pilgrims.
Mourning and the Making of a
Nation: The Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimages, 1930 - 1933
Used with permission of Dr. Lisa M. Budreau
Arrived at Cherbourg, France at daybreak on July 31, 1930.
Historical Note 1: On Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at 12:15
PM RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton, England on her
maiden voyage to New York via Cherbourg, France and
Queenstown, Ireland. She arrived at Cherbourg at 6:35
PM April 10, 1912. The docks were not large enough to
accommodate the ship; she dropped anchor in the harbor.
Two specially built tenders carried 274 passengers,
luggage and mail out to the ship. She sailed at 8:10 PM
that evening enroute to Queenstown, Ireland. After
leaving Queenstown on her voyage to New York she struck
an iceberg at 11:40 PM Sunday evening, April 14, 1912
and sank approximately two hours later with a loss of
over 1,500 lives.
Note 2: The remains of
Napoleon Bonaparte arrived at
aboard the frigate Belle-Pouls from
St. Helena Island on November 29, 1840.
Left Cherbourg for Paris at 8:28 AM July 31, 1930. Returned
to Cherbourg on August 13, 1930 to board the SS Republic
to return to America.
Arrived in Paris at 2:20PM July 31, 1930
at the Invalides
also departed from this station on our return to
9:22 AM on August 13, 1930.
The Invalides Train Station was reserved
for VIP visitors to Paris and was made available
for the Gold Star Mothers by the French government as a good will
We stayed at the Hotel
Ambassador on Noveau Boulevard Haussmann. Our first
morning in Paris, August 1, was spent doing laundry,
exchanging money and taking care of other personal
The Hotel Ambassador in
The historic four
star Hotel Ambassador is
located three blocks from Opera Garnier and
the upscale department store of Galeries
Lafayette (directly behind the opera
house). The Louve Museum and Palais Royal
are within a short
walking distance, while Sacre-Coer
Montmartre are only a short taxi ride
The hotel occupies a prestigious 18th
century building, designed by Paris's
Haussmann himself, and features
contemporary design within. Rooms are an
inexpensive E 268.00 ($376.00) per night.
The hotel's lavishly designed brasserie,
with gold decor and theatrical curtains, is
the setting for modern
French cuisine for lunch and dinner,
and buffet breakfast. The restaurant's
terrace is open in summer. The lounge bar,
Bar Lindbergh, serves wine and cocktails.
Room service operates 24 hours.
The hotel also has a business center, with
two workstations offering
high-speed internet access and printers.
There are eight flexible meeting rooms for
up to 535 guests. Banqueting, audiovisual
facilities and secretarial services are also
The hotel's 294 air conditioned
guestrooms are decorated in contemporary
style in three color palettes: either rich
reds and oranges, blue tones or prune and
peppermint colors. Rooms have large desks,
either a queen or king size bed, interactive
satellite televisions, minibars, safe, hair
dryers, (iron & ironing board on
request) and dial-up internet access. The
white tiled bathrooms feature bath/shower
combinations, bathrobes and designer
Area Activities Include:
Opera Garnier - 3 blocks
Galeries Lafayette - 3
Drouot Auction House - 3
Great Synagogue - 200 meters
Paris Bourse - 800
la Madeleine - 800
Place Vendome - 800
Louvre Museum - 800 meters
Palais Royal - 800 meters
Madeleine - .5 mile
Tuileries Gardens - 1 mile
Sacre-Coeur/Montmartre - 1
Place de la Concorde
- 1 mile
Pompidou Center - 1.5 miles
Musee d'Orsay - 1.5
Champs Elysees - 2
Eiffel Tower - 2
Latin Quarter - 2 miles
The old Paris Opry House is only three blocks down the
street from the hotel.
Boulevard Haussmann is the street
The hotel is three blocks to the right out of the
1930, after lunch we went by bus to the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris where Mrs. Mary Saboe, Mrs.
Grace Forbes and Mrs. Martha Stewart placed wreaths on
the tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier.
Widows of Party "M" at the Tomb of the French
Courtesy of the National Archives,
Marilynne Ocando & Brenda Iraola
After this we went to the Laurent Restaurant for tea and
then returned to the Hotel Ambassador for dinner and to retire.
August 2, 1930, went sightseeing in
Paris. Saw the Louve Museum
and there was a lot
to see in a short time. Looked at the
Mona Lisa -
can't say I saw anything special about her.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The church is very large, cold on the inside; it took 180 years to
build it. The rose windows are so beautiful it takes your breath
away. Our guide tells us that during the French Revolution the
church was robbed of its statues and treasures and that it was used
for a warehouse to store food. How could anyone do that to such a
beautiful house of God?
other wonderful sights
in the city
like the Eiffel Tower.