Blaise Cendrars is a well-known Swiss poet who joined the French Foreign Legion during the First World War. From mid-December to February 1914, he served at Frise, at positions known as La Grenouillère and Bois de la Vache. After the war he published his experiences in two novels entitled La Main Coupée (Lice) and J’ai Tué.
“We held a position at Bois de la Vache that was only separated from the German position by a few sandbags. We could have run each other through with a bayonet from one trench to the other.”
Later he was sent to the front at Herbécourt before being sent to the Artois front and eventually Tilloloy. He lost his right arm during the deadly attacks of Champagne.
A Unique Nature Reserve
Today, visitors can wander in the footsteps of Blaise Cendrars in the nature reserve known as the Belvedere of Frise. Enjoying stunning views of the Somme Valley, visitors can immerse themselves in not only the beauty of the countryside but also the history of the area. The trenches described by Cendrars can still be seen today but in a very peaceful setting where sheep graze and warblers chatter. Information panels explaining the history of the site were recently installed by the Somme Departmental Council and the site is preserved and managed by the Conservatoire des Sites Naturels de Picardie.
Please click here for information about a walking trail through the Belvedere of Frise.
Free access to the nature reserve throughout the year
Please keep gates closed
Latitude 49.554902 / Longitude 2.482329