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Tower Louis XVI and the river Aire
Tower Louis XVI and the river Aire
Varennes-en-Argonne is located in France
Location within Grand Est region
Varennes-en-Argonne is located in Grand Est
Coordinates: 49°13′37″N 5°02′06″E / 49.2269°N 5.035°E / 49.2269; 5.035Coordinates: 49°13′37″N 5°02′06″E / 49.2269°N 5.035°E / 49.2269; 5.035
Country France
Region Grand Est
Department Meuse
Arrondissement Verdun
Canton Clermont-en-Argonne
Intercommunality Montfaucon - Varennes en Argonne
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Marie Lambert
Area1 11.81 km2 (4.56 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 656
 • Density 56/km2 (140/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 55527 /55270
Elevation 144–264 m (472–866 ft)
(avg. 195 m or 640 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.

Varennes-en-Argonne or simply Varennes is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.


Varennes-en-Argonne lies on the river Aire to the northeast of Sainte-Menehould, near Verdun.


It was the scene of the Flight to Varennes: In June 1791 Louis XVI, with his immediate family, made a dash for the nearest friendly border, that of the Austrian Netherlands in modern Belgium (Queen Marie-Antoinette being a sister to the Austrian emperor, Leopold II). But in Varennes Louis and his family were arrested, by Citizen Drouet, the local postmaster, who had been alerted by a message received from nearby Sainte-Menehould. It is said that at Sainte-Menehould, where the escaping party had spent the previous night, a merchant alerted the town authorities of their presence after recognizing the King's face on an Assignat, as Louis tried to buy something from a shop. Once more France's king, queen, and dauphin (crown prince) returned to the Tuileries in humiliating captivity, and Louis and Marie-Antoinette were subsequently executed on the guillotine.

Located in the Zone rouge, Varennes was completely destroyed during the First World War but was reconstructed afterwards. The Pennsylvania Memorial, a monument for volunteers from 28th Division Pennsylvania in the First World War, was erected in Varennes during the Interwar period.

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