Sedan (French pronunciation: [sədɑ̃] ) is a commune in the Ardennes department and Grand Est region of north-eastern France. It is also the chef-lieu (administrative centre) of the arrondissement of the same name.

Sedan in mid-September 2007
Sedan in mid-September 2007
Coat of arms of Sedan
Location of Sedan
Sedan is located in France
Sedan is located in Grand Est
Coordinates: 49°42′12″N 4°56′20″E / 49.7034°N 4.9388°E / 49.7034; 4.9388
RegionGrand Est
CantonSedan-1, 2 and 3
IntercommunalityCA Ardenne Métropole
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Didier Herbillon[1]
16.28 km2 (6.29 sq mi)
 • Density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
08409 /08200
Elevation149–301 m (489–988 ft)
(avg. 157 m or 515 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Sedan is notable as the site of two major battles between the armed forces of France and Germany, both of which were won by Germany. The First Battle of Sedan in 1870 sealed the fate of the Second French Empire and paved the way to the foundation of the German Empire, leading to the subsequent annual celebration of "Sedan Day" in Germany. The Second Battle of Sedan in 1940 achieved a decisive breakthrough by Wehrmacht forces in the Battle of France and ultimately led to the collapse of the French Third Republic.



The town is situated about 200 km from Paris, 85 km north-east of Reims, and 10 km south of the border with Belgium. The historic centre occupies a peninsula formed by a bend in the river Meuse. Sedan station has rail connections to Charleville-Mézières, Reims and Longwy. The A34 autoroute links Sedan with Charleville-Mézières and Reims.



Sedan was founded in 1424. In the 16th century Sédan was an asylum for Protestant refugees from the Wars of Religion.

Until 1651, the Principality of Sedan belonged to the La Tour d'Auvergne family. It was at that time a sovereign principality. Their representative, Marshal Turenne, was born at Sedan on 11 September 1611. With help from the Holy Roman Empire, it defeated France at the Battle of La Marfée. Immediately after its victory, Sedan was besieged and its prince, Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne, duc de Bouillon, submitted to France. It was annexed to France in return for sparing the prince's life after he became involved in a conspiracy against France.

Sedan was the birthplace of Jacques MacDonald, a general who served in the Napoleonic Wars.

In the 1840s, American composer-pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk got his start in Europe with a successful concert in Sedan, including the original piece "Souvenir des Ardennes."[3]

During the Franco-Prussian War, on 2 September 1870, French emperor Napoleon III was taken prisoner with 100,000 of his soldiers at the First Battle of Sedan. Due to this victory, which made the unification of Germany possible, 2 September was declared Sedan Day (Sedantag) and a national German holiday in 1871. It remained a holiday until 1919.

Sedan was occupied by the Germans for four years during World War I.[4] On 13 November 1917, the German Crown Prince paraded the 13th Infantry Division over the course of "d'Alsace-Lorraine".

From May 12 to 15, 1940, during World War II, German troops invaded neutral Belgium and crossed the river Meuse by winning the Second Battle of Sedan. The battle allowed them to win the Battle of France by bypassing the Maginot Line, which was the French fortification system, and entrapping the Allied Forces that were advancing east into Belgium, as part of the Allied Dyle Plan strategy.

Points of interest




Today Sedan is known for its castle, which is claimed to be the largest fortified medieval castle in Europe with a total area of 30,000 square metres (7.4 acres) on seven levels.[citation needed] Construction started in 1424 and the castle's defences were constantly improved over the ages. It is the only remaining part of the once enormous fortifications in and around the town.

Other points of interest



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 12,033—    
1800 10,634−1.75%
1806 10,838+0.32%
1821 12,123+0.75%
1831 13,806+1.31%
1836 14,536+1.04%
1841 15,585+1.40%
1846 14,635−1.25%
1851 16,759+2.75%
1866 13,793−1.29%
1872 14,039+0.30%
1876 16,593+4.27%
1881 19,556+3.34%
1886 19,306−0.26%
1891 20,292+1.00%
1896 20,163−0.13%
1901 19,349−0.82%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1906 19,599+0.26%
1911 19,516−0.08%
1921 17,509−1.08%
1926 18,298+0.89%
1931 18,908+0.66%
1936 18,559−0.37%
1946 13,514−3.12%
1954 17,637+3.38%
1962 20,336+1.80%
1968 23,037+2.10%
1975 23,995+0.58%
1982 23,477−0.31%
1990 21,667−1.00%
1999 20,548−0.59%
2007 19,691−0.53%
2012 18,430−1.31%
2017 16,428−2.27%
Source: EHESS[5] and INSEE (1968-2017)[6]



A centre of cloth production, begun under the patronage of Cardinal Mazarin, supported the town until the late nineteenth century.


Stade Louis Dugauguez

CS Sedan Ardennes is based in the town.

Notable people


Twin towns


See also



  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Souvenir des Ardennes". Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  4. ^ "First World War". Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  5. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Sedan, EHESS (in French).
  6. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE