American cemetery in Paris region to light up on Monday night

One of a dozen American military cemeteries will light up outside of Paris on Monday night, in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the creation of the American Battle Monuments Commission. All visitors are welcome.

American cemetery in Paris region to light up on Monday night
US Vice President Kamala Harris tours the Suresnes American Cemetery on the eve of Veterans Day in the United States and WWI Armistice Day in France (Photo by Sarahbeth MANEY / POOL / AFP)

Just eight kilometres to the west of Paris, the Suresnes American Cemetery – one of the 12 American cemeteries located in mainland France – will host a vigil on Monday night, to honour of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The cemetery will be lit up, with candles laid on each of the 1,565 headstones.

The event will begin at 7pm and it will run until 9pm. All visitors are welcome.

The vigil will commemorate the American Battle Monuments Commission, which was established by the US Congress in 1923, as part of the Federal Government tasked with designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries and monuments in foreign countries.

Earlier in the weekend, other American military cemeteries across France – namely the Normandy cemetery where 9,386 American soldiers who lost their lives during D-Day and subsequent operations are buried – conducted their own celebrations for the centennial. In Normandy, on Saturday, the cemetery also placed candles on each headstone, and lowered the flag in remembrance of those buried.

READ MORE: Oldest allies: The best and worst moments of the French-American relationship

As for the Suresnes Cemetery, it is the only American military cemetery where soldiers from both the First and Second World War are buried. It is also one of two American military cemeteries in the Paris region – the other being Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery, in Saint-Cloud Park.

In recent years, it has been visited by several American politicians, from President George W. Bush in 2009 to President Donald Trump in 2018 during the 100th year anniversary of the 1918 Armistice.

In 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris also toured the site. 

The vigil on Monday night will be one of the few times of year that the cemetery is allowed to be open at nighttime. 

The burial ground and memorial is located on Boulevard Washington in Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine), on the slope of Mont Valérien facing Paris where visitors can gaze with a panorama view of the city of Paris.

For those looking to take part in the event, but are unable to travel, it will be covered live on ABMC’s Facebook page, as well as on Twitter and Instagram under the username @usabmc. You can find more information HERE.

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What are the rules on bringing cheese, meat and wine to the US from France?

Whether you're taking home a little taste of France at the end of a trip or want to introduce your American friends and family to the delights of French cheese, sausage and wine - here's what US customs regulations say.

What are the rules on bringing cheese, meat and wine to the US from France?

Firstly, it’s worth noting that provided you declare any food items on your US customs declaration form, you won’t get in any kind of trouble.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service says; “As long as you declare all the agricultural products you are bringing with you, you will not face any penalties – even if an inspector determines that they cannot enter the country” – so the worst that can happen is that an item gets confiscated.

But the last thing you want is to spend precious euros on expensive cheeses, cured sausage or fine wines only to have your precious cargo seized by a border agent as soon as you land. So how can you avoid that happening?


The first thing to know is that solid/hard cheeses are generally fine. US Customs and Border Protection’s latest guidance explicitly states that “solid cheese that does not contain meat” is admissible.

That means hard cheeses such as Comté or or Beaufort are fine.

When it comes to soft cheeses, the rules are slightly more strict: the US department of Agriculture says these are generally OK to bring in, “as long as the cheese does not contain meat or pour like a liquid ie ricotta or cottage cheese.”

That indicates that cheeses such as brie or goat’s cheese are fine to take with you, regulation-wise (although you do need to keep these as cool as possible, and of course brie will stink out your luggage).

American authorities also have a problem with blue cheese – anything with a certain bacteria level is banned, which includes many blue cheeses including France’s famous roquefort

Finally, there’s mimolette, which the US declares is a health hazard – this hard orange cheese has a crust that is created by burrowing weevils (it’s actually nicer than it sounds).

The above rules cover cheese that is for person consumption (or to give as a gift) – when it comes to importing cheese into the US for resale, if the product is made from raw or unpasteurised milk (as many French cheeses are), only hard cheese is allowed.

The US Customs Clearance website states: “Soft or liquid cheese made from raw cow’s milk or other milk-producing animal is banned from importing into the US by the FDA.”


So what if you want to pick up some Bayonne ham, saucisson sec or other types of cured meats?

Unfortunately, these are banned under current US rules. The Department of Agriculture clearly states: “Cured hams (prosciutto, Serrano ham, Iberian ham) and salami from areas within France, Germany, Italy and Spain may not be brought into the United States by travellers.”

“These items may only enter in commercial shipments because there are special restrictions that require additional certification and documentation.”


If you’ve fallen in love with a particular French vintage during a vineyard trip you may want to bring a couple of bottle back with you.

This is allowed, but the allowances for all types of alcohol are very low. 

The exact amount of alcohol you can import into the US varies by state, so you will need to check the rules on the state you are flying into (and it’s where the airport is that counts, not your final destination).

The US Consulate says that the average amount allowed is just one litre (so that’s one standard size bottle of wine, plus a half bottle) for duty-free allowances, and after that duty has to be paid, with amounts varying by state.

You also need to remember that the drinking age in most US states is older than in Europe, so you cannot bring in any type of alcohol if you are under 21.

As with the cheese, wine can only be imported for personal consumption or as a gift. 

Please note that The Local is unable to advise on individual cases. If you’re unsure whether an item is allowed, email the National Center for Import and Export at [email protected] or call on (+1) 301-851-3300 or (+1) 877-770-5990 in advance of your journey for confirmation.