Day 1: Paris – Ypres – Lille
Meet near Ecole Militaire metro station in central Paris in the morning. Hop aboard a climate-controlled minivan and relax on the 3-hour drive north to Ypres Salient, an area around the city of Ypres in Belgium. A major part of the Western Front, this was the scene of some of the biggest battles of WWI.
Discover first-hand where hundreds of thousands of soldiers from many nations fought between 1914 and 1918. As you’ll learn, Ypres has become associated with the British Commonwealth forces; by the time the last shells fell on Ypres in October 1918, the Ypres Salient had claimed 185,000 Commonwealth lives.
Visit Ypres’s major WWI memorials, cemeteries and battlefields including John McCrae's Essex Farm site, Langemark German Cemetery, Tyne Cot Cemetery and Vancouver Corner, a Canadian memorial. Walk around the moon-like landscape that was once the site of the Battle of Hill 60 to witness the destruction the landscape suffered because of the war.
You'll also spend time in the city of Ypres itself, where you’ll visit St George’s Chapel and the Menin Gate for the Last Post ceremony, a moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in defense of Ypres. Normally the 8pm ceremony is too late for visitors staying overnight in Paris, but since you’ll be staying overnight in nearby Lille, you’ll have the time to enjoy this fantastic experience!
After the ceremony, you’ll be driven to your hotel in Lille for check-in and an overnight stay.
Overnight: Ibis Lille Opera or similar hotel in Lille
Day 2: Lille – Somme – Paris (B)
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then embark on your second day of discovering the fascinating WWI sites throughout the Somme, a part of France that suffered severely in the violent and bloody battles of the war.
Visit several WWI battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and landmarks while hearing stories about the war from your guide. Sights you’ll see today include the massive Lochnagar Crater in the village of La Boiselle, the site of the Battle of Pozières, the Thiepval Memorial, the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial and the Villers–Bretonneux Australian National Memorial.
At the end of your time in the Somme, hop in the minivan and relax on the drive back to Paris.