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Sedan, France facts for kids

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Country France
Region Grand Est
Department Ardennes
Arrondissement Sedan
Canton 3 cantons
16.28 km2 (6.29 sq mi)
 • Density 1,262.2/km2 (3,269.0/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
08409 /08200
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Sedan is a town and commune in France, a part of the Ardennes department in northern France.


The old centre is on land within a curve of the Meuse River. It is about 10 km (6 miles) from Belgium, and about 200 km (120 miles) from Paris.


Sedan was built in 1424. In the sixteenth century Sedan was a safe place for Protestants escaping from the Wars of Religion.

Until 1651, the Principality of Sedan belonged to the La Tour d'Auvergne family. It was independent. The most famous member of the family, Marshal Turenne, was born at Sedan on 11 September 1611. With help from the Holy Roman Empire, Sedan defeated France at the Battle of La Marfée. Immediately after that it was surrounded, and its prince, Frederic, surrendered to France. Only a year after that, it became part of France in return for sparing Frederic's life after he was in a plot against France.

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 Battle of Sedan.

Because of this major victory, which also made the "Second Reich" of Germany possible, 2 September was declared "Sedan Day" (Sedantag) and a national German holiday in 1871. It remained a holiday until 1919.

In World War II the German army invaded neutral Belgium and crossed the Meuse River in Sedan. This allowed them to get past the French fortification system, called the Maginot Line.

Sedan Castle

Sedan 4juni2006 064
Castle in Sedan

Sedan Castle may be the biggest of its kind in Europe with a total area of 30,000 square metres on seven levels. Building started in 1424 and the castle's defences were improved over the years. It is the only part left of the huge fortifications that there were in Sedan and around Sedan.


Sedan was a centre of cloth production, which was started under Cardinal Mazarin. It supported the town until the late nineteenth century.

Born here

These people were born in Sedan:

  • Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne (1611-1675), Marshal of France
  • Étienne-Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre MacDonald (1765–1840), Marshal of France
  • Charles Baudin (1792-1854), admiral
  • René Guyon (1876-1963), jurist
  • Yves Marie Joseph Cardinal Congar (1904-1995) was a French Dominican priest and theologian
  • Pierre Cartier (born 1932), mathematician
  • Yannick Noah (born 1960), was a professional tennis player
  • Benjamin Lemaire (born 1985), actor and film director
  • Anais Dechamps (born 1988), distance runner

Twin town

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