- 3-day WWI battlefields tour from Paris
- Follow a circuit of remembrance around the Somme region in northern France
- Visit evocative monuments to fallen WWI soldiers like the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge and the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux
- See Lochnagar Crater, an incredible hole that was created at the start of the Battle of the Somme
- Two nights of 4-star accommodation in Arras included
Learn about the Somme’s position in the middle of the Western Front – the series of trench lines that ran from the Belgian coast to the Alps – and of life in the trenches for the soldiers. Hear of the Battle of the Somme, in which some 57,000 British casualties were killed or injured on the first day alone, and learn of the other nations – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa – who all helped the French stave off invasions.
Your tour includes two nights of accommodation in the town of Arras (in the center of the Somme area) ensuring you’re ideally located for ticking off all the region’s key war sites.
Leave central Paris in the morning by air-conditioned coach and head north to Péronne – a town where many significant battles were fought during World War I. After a journey of roughly two hours, head inside the town’s Museum of the Great War, a fascinating exhibition that not only depicts trench life during WWI but that also aims to portray the war’s impact on civilians. Learn about the area’s numerous battles from your guide and then explore the museum at leisure.
From Péronne, travel to Mont Saint Quentin to see the Australian War Memorial -- built to honor the Australian troops' role in the seizing of Mont St Quentin -- and then continue your tour to the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Owned by the Canadian government, the spot is a preserved battlefield as well as a memorial site, with wartime tunnels and sand-bagged trenches open for exploration. After a guided tour of the trenches and the site’s museum, make your final stop of the day at the Australian Cemetery Memorial in Fromelles. This serene site marks the spot of fallen Australians who were killed at the (largely unsuccessful) Battle of Fromelles.
Continue to the town of Arras, check into your hotel and then relax with your guide and group during a welcome dinner.
Overnight: 4-star Hotel Mercure in Arras
Day 2: Arras – Somme Valley – Arras (B)
Enjoy breakfast in your hotel and then head out by coach to visit the towns and villages of the Somme Valley. Start in Longueval -- a small village that was considered a significant battle site during WWI -- and see the South African Memorial in Delville Wood that marks the spot of a German bombardment. Stroll over to see the nearby New Zealand Memorial, and hear how it commemorates New Zealanders who died in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
Explore Beaumont-Hammel Newfoundland Memorial, and then travel to Thiepval village to see its Franco-British Memorial – widely considered the most important British wartime monument in France. Nearby is the town of La Boisselle, and you’ll head here next to marvel at the incredible Lochnagar Crater, measuring a staggering 330 feet (91 meters) wide and 70 feet (21 meters) deep. This giant hole is said to be one of the world’s largest manmade craters, caused by a blast at the start of the Battle of the Somme.
Continue by coach to the town of Albert and stop for lunch (own expense) before visiting its beautiful church that was lovingly restored after the war. Return to your Arras hotel and spend the rest of your day at leisure.
Overnight: 4-star Hotel Mercure in Arras
Day 3: Arras – Villers-Bretonneux – Meaux – Paris (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and then head out to Villers-Bretonneux. Occupying a space within Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery is the Australian National Memorial, which is of great significance to the village in which it stands. In 1919, the Australian troops drove out enemy forces who were ten times their number, and the people of Villers-Bretonneux continue to express their gratitude to the Australians today.
Stop by the town’s Franco-Australian Museum and then visit Victoria School, built as a gift from the Australian state of Victoria to signify their goodwill toward the French people. After a break for lunch, travel to the town of Meaux to visit Musee de la Grande Guerre -- an impressive museum that holds more than 50,000 artifacts from WWI. With emphasis on the French and American involvement in the war, the museum documents key events throughout the conflict. Explore at leisure and then return by coach to Paris. Your tour ends either at the Pullman Hotel (five minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower) or at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.