Monday, October 6, 2014


A trip down memory lane for Paul today.  We set off North through the Moselle Region, past Metz into Luxembourg and Belgium to Bouillon.   Home to a slate fortress built by Godfroy de Bouillon to protect his family before he set off to lead the First Crusade in 1096, it was one of Paul's favourites. Godfroy was successful in capturing Jerusalem and modestly turned down the title of King.  The castle was built on a hill overlooking a small town that was a lot prettier than Paul remembered.

Then south a short distance to Florenville, a small village that Paul and his family had stayed in on first arriving in Europe in 1955 since their quarters in Longuyon weren't quite ready.  Several Canadian Forces families were quartered there and the Air Force would send a bus every morning to collect the kids and transport them to school in France.  The village had grown beyond all recognition, of course, so we took a few pics and headed off through the Ardennes (dodging deer and wild boars) to our next destination; Longuyon.

In the 50's, Canada maintained four air force bases in Europe, two in France and two in Germany.  Paul and his family were assigned to Number 1 Fighter Wing at Marville, France.  The base is still there today, operated by the French.  Because the base was subject to attack by Iron Curtain countries, the families of the airmen were lodged at the PMQs (Personnel Married Quarters) some 25 Km away near the town of Longuyon.  This portion of the base contained large apartment blocks, a school and a playground.  Everything else was up to you.  When the lease on the land expired, the Cold War having cooled somewhat, the Canadians withdrew and ceded the base and PMQs to France.  Today it is called Les Residences Canadiens and features Montreal, Quebec and Toronto Streets.

Then safely back to Strasbourg for a late supper, Paul reminiscing all the way.


Main entrance to castle

Eastern wall of castle

Western facade

Godfroy's Great Hall

Florenville's modest little church

View of bucolic Belgian countryside from rear of church.

Our apartment block at Longuyon

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This really brings back memories for me.....I won't bore you with them all but Paul remembers me falling out of the car at 40 mph, me getting arrested for breaking a store window to steal chocolates, me getting him to beat up a kid I didn't like ........ ahhh.... sweet memories...!