New museum aims to keep alive Gaullist ideal





IN AN attempt to revive interest in the legacy of Charles de Gaulle, a pounds 10 million museum is to be built in his home village.

Colombey-Les-Deux-Eglises, where France's most famous modern statesman lived between 1934 and his death in 1970, has always been viewed as a place of political pilgrimage.

More than 500,000 people a year once visited the village, which is 125 miles east of Paris. But, as a new generation of French men and women lose interest in past reputations, the figure is now less than 70,000.

"This project comes at just the right moment," said Bruno Sido, the president of the Haute Marne departmental council which covers the area.

"This will not be the kind of drab museum containing Charles de Gaulle's handkerchief and a pile of other mementos.

"It is a place where we will reconstruct the ideas and concepts that inspired him in the various phases of his life.

"There is a risk, if we are not careful, that the Gaullist ideal will be lost to people's memory."

De Gaulle opposed the collaborating Vichy government during the Second World War, led the resistance to the Nazi occupation, restored his county's shattered faith in itself in the post-war period, and founded the Fifth Republic in 1958.

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