Situated just off the D72 between Saint-André-de-l'Eure and Champigny-la-Futelaye, this is the most easterly of the Normandy war cemeteries and is closer to Paris than to Caen. It was originally established during the fighting in August 1944 as the Allies advanced towards the Seine and the French capital.
The American Graves Registration Service administered two large cemeteries - one for German soldiers and another for US troops. After the war, the American dead were re-interred at the Normandy American Cemetery whilst the German area was expanded to accept re-burials from the Ivry civilian cemetery in Paris, amongst others. The cemetery as it appears today was inaugurated on 12th September 1964.
The well-signposted entrance is down a long, tree-lined drive where there is ample car parking and the ground is flat and level. Upon entering the cemetery itself there is a small visitor centre with a site plan, visitor's book and a selection of pamphlets and photographs. Between the visitor centre and the step leading down into the burial grounds there are a number of pillars made of travertine, a form of limestone. Upon these are inscribed the names of the various places from which the burials originated, including Dieppe, Alençon, Le Havre and Rouen. A 16-metre steel cross dominates this part of the grounds.
Down the steps visitors can enter the stunning chapel. Although quite nondescript from the outside, the white stone space with its large relief sculptures is brought to life when the sun shines through the brightly coloured glass panels around the tops of the walls. In total there are just over 19,830 German war dead buried here. Across the cemetery from the large steel cross is a mass grave of some 816 dead. The 303 which have been identified are recorded on stone tablets. The limestone grave markers bear names on both sides, with the ranks and dates of each two adjacent resting dead. The dates of those buried here vary greatly with many of the fallen pre-dating the Battle of Normandy.
As with many of the German cemeteries there is limited colour in the way of flower beds, but an abundance of mature trees. Many graves are marked with the traditional dried flower wreaths. The paths around the cemetery are cobbled but reasonably flat. For those unable to access the cemetery via the steps at the main entrance, there is a gate accessible from the far end of the car park which leads directly onto the burial area. Clean toilets are available near the visitor centre.
Among the more notable burials at Champigny are General Friedrich Dollman, Otto von Stülpnagel - the German military commander in France, and Josef "Sepp" Wurmheller - a fighter pilot ace with 102 kills.