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  Cherbourg to Paris  


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 without precedent.


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.


Similar 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. 

Historical Note 2: The remains of Napoleon Bonaparte arrived at Cherbourg 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 Train Station. We also departed from this station on our return to Cherbourg at 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 gesture.

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 business.


The Hotel Ambassador in 2009

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 and Montmartre are only a short taxi ride away.
The hotel occupies a prestigious 18th century building, designed by Paris's architect 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 available. 
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 toiletries.

Area Activities Include:

Opera Garnier - 3 blocks
Galeries Lafayette - 3 blocks
Drouot Auction House - 3 blocks
Great Synagogue - 200 meters
Paris Bourse - 800 meters
Place de la Madeleine - 800 meters
Place Vendome - 800 meters
Louvre Museum - 800 meters
Palais Royal - 800 meters
Madeleine - .5 mile
Tuileries Gardens - 1 mile
Sacre-Coeur/Montmartre - 1 mile
Place de la Concorde - 1 mile
Pompidou Center - 1.5 miles
Musee d'Orsay - 1.5 miles
Champs Elysees - 2 miles
Eiffel Tower - 2 miles
Latin Quarter - 2 miles

The old Paris Opry House is only three blocks down the street from the hotel. 
Boulevard Haussmann is the street behind the opera house.
he hotel is three blocks to the right out of the picture.


August 1, 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. 

Mothers and Widows of Party "M" at the Tomb of the French Unknown Soldier, Paris
Courtesy of the National Archives,
Brenda Iraola



After this we went to the Laurent Restaurant for tea and a reception,
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?


Also saw other wonderful sights
in the city like the Eiffel Tower.


Continue the Journey


Copyright 2008 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Dec. 1, 2008
Jan. 9, 2009