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Sedan, Ardennes

Coat of arms of Sedan
Coat of arms
Sedan is located in France
Country France
Region Champagne-Ardenne
Department Ardennes
Arrondissement Sedan
Canton 3 cantons
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Didier Herbillon
Area1 16.28 km2 (6.29 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 19,219
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 08409 / 08200
Elevation 149–301 m (489–988 ft)
(avg. 157 m or 515 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The Crown Prince's Parade through Sedan, November 1917

Sedan (French pronunciation: ​) is a commune in France, a sub-prefecture of the Ardennes department in northern France.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Points of interest 3
    • Castle 3.1
    • Other points of interest 3.2
  • Population 4
  • Economy 5
  • Personalities 6
  • Twin towns 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • External links 10
  • External links 11


The historic centre is built on a peninsula formed by an arc of the Meuse River. It is around 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the Belgian border.


Sedan was founded in 1424. In the sixteenth century Sédan was an asylum for Protestant refugees from the Wars of Religion.

Until 1651, the Principality of Sedan belonged to the La Tour d'Auvergne family. It was at that time a sovereign principality. Their most illustrious representative, Marshal Turenne, was born at Sedan on 11 September 1611. With help from the Holy Roman Empire, it managed to defeat France at the Battle of La Marfée, though immediately afterwards it was besieged and its prince, Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne, duc de Bouillon, submitted to France. Only a year after that submission, it was annexed to France in return for sparing his life after he became involved in a conspiracy against France.

This town was also the birthplace of Jacques MacDonald, a general who served in the Napoleonic Wars.

During the Franco-Prussian War, on 2 September 1870 the French emperor Napoleon III was taken prisoner with 100,000 of his soldiers at the First Battle of Sedan. Due to this major victory, which also made the unification of Germany possible, 2 September was declared "Sedan Day" (Sedantag) and a national German holiday in 1871. It remained a holiday until 1919.

Sedan was occupied by the Germans for four years during World War I.[1] On 13 November 1917, the German Crown Prince paraded the 13th Infantry Division over the course of "d'Alsace-Lorraine".

During World War II the German troops first invaded neutral Belgium and crossed the Meuse River by winning the Second Battle of Sedan that lasted from 12 to 15 May 1940. This battle allowed them to win the whole Battle of France as they not only bypassed the French fortification system, the Maginot Line, but it also enabled them to entrap the Allied Forces that were advancing east into Belgium, as part of the Allied Dyle Plan strategy.

Points of interest


Today Sedan is known for its castle, that is claimed to be the largest fortified medieval castle in Europe with a total area of 30,000 square metres (36,000 sq yd) on seven levels. Construction started in 1424 and the castle's defences were constantly improved over the ages. It is the only remaining part of the once enormous fortifications in and around the town.

Other points of interest



A centre of cloth production, begun under the patronage of Cardinal Mazarin, supported the town until the late nineteenth century.


The following notable people lived there:

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^

External links


External links

  • Sedan city council website (French)
  • The German breakthrough in 1940
  • Webpage about the fortifications of Sedan
  • Article on the Battle of Sedan at 'Battlefields Europe'
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