Victory Day is a national holiday in France, known locally as ‘Victoire 1945’ or ‘La Fête de la Victoire’.
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It is the day that commemorates the end of World War II, specifically in Europe.
World War II lasted from 1 September, 1939, to 8 May, 1945. This war engaged over 100-million people serving in the military. Casualties of the war rose to an estimate of 70-million people, with approximately 6-million perishing in Adolf Hitler’s holocaust – where Hitler attempted to purify the German race by destroying the Jewish population in gas chambers.
On 8 May, 1945, just weeks after Hitler committed suicide, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied forces.
Victory in Europe Day is celebrated all over Europe, and in other places around the world, and is called VE Day in some places. In France, it is a day of celebration and remembrance with church services, ceremonies and parades. French flags fly from the tops of poles everywhere and the air force thunders overhead in dramatic flyovers. Wreaths are laid during the ceremonies at monument aux morts in each village, town and city.
Being a national holiday, schools, post offices, banks, businesses, shops and many restaurants are closed. The streets are full of people attending parades and the red, white and blue of the French flag is everywhere.
Later in the day the French do what they do best… wine and food. In Reims, Champagne, the city where Germany signed its surrender, the local meals focus on ham and game, washed down, of course, with champagne. Chaource is a soft white cheese produced in the area and a specialty on the tables of the French late in the day. And a popular sweet finish is the Biscuit Rose de Reims, a pink biscuit that is crunchy and is dipped in champagne.