Among history buffs, the historic French town of Vimy—located just southwest of Lille—is a popular day trip destination from Paris. This World War I battle site and its Canadian National Vimy Memorial honors the more than 10,000 Canadian soldiers who were killed and wounded during the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Canada’s victory at Vimy proved essential in the advancement of British forces, and today the Canadian National Vimy Memorial covers a 250-acre (101-hectare) portion of the former battleground. Visit the memorial cemetery, which serves as the final resting place for most of the 3,598 Canadian soldiers who were killed in the fighting with German troops, and take in the monumental twin statuary memorial, on which the names of all who fought in the battle are inscribed.
Learn about the history and significance of the battlefield and its underground tunnels on a guided tour. Groups typically depart from Paris, Lille, Ypres, Brussels, and Bruges. Many WWI-themed tours also stop at Arras, the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, and the Monchy-Le-Preux Memorial.
Things to Know Before You Go
- WWI history enthusiasts especially will enjoy touring the battlefield.
- A portion of the site is off limits to the public due to dangerous wartime trenches and craters.
- Most battlefields and memorials are outside, so wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
- Not all battlefields and war memorials are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers; confirm in advance.
How to Get There
Vimy is located at the junction of the D51 and the N17 roads. It is on the crest of Vimy Ridge, which overlooks the Artois region. There is no public transportation to the battlefield, so choose a tour that includes transportation to avoid the hassle of renting a car.
When to Get There
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is open daily, with a late morning opening time on Mondays. In December and January, it is open only by appointment.
The Arras Memorial
Tours of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial often include a stop at the Faubourg d'Amiens British Cemetery in the nearby town of Arras. The memorial commemorates almost 35,000 soldiers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and New Zealand who died in the battles fought here between 1916 and 1918.