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Verdun is located on the banks of the river Meuse, between Paris ( away) and Luxembourg city ( away). The metropolitan area of Verdun has a population of 303,383 inhabitants. As well as being close to Paris and Luxembourg, Verdun is also close to Reims. It has been described as "the only town in Europe that can be seen from three countries". The city was founded by the Gauls in 52 BC and originally named "Virodunum" ("city on high ground"), meaning 'high' or 'elevated', possibly referring to an elevated site within a meander loop where there was already a settlement existing since prehistoric times; it may have been called this because it stood at an important crossroads for Roman military roads connecting Troyes with Trier via Metz with Cologne via Strasbourg.