Day 1: Paris-Ypres-Lille
Make your way to the Ecole Militaire metro station in Paris to meet your guide nearby and climb into a comfortable minivan for the start of the 3-hour drive to Ypres Salient. This is the area around the Belgian city of Ypres that figured prominently in the Western Front of World War I. Several of the most critical and deadliest conflicts of the war took place here.
See for yourself the land where, in the years 1914-1918, hundreds of thousands of young men on all sides of the war fought and died. In particular, British Commonwealth soldiers made up a large part of the forces around Ypres, with roughly 185,000 Commonwealth troops dying in the Ypres Salient by the end of the war.
Travel to the most important WWI battlefields, monuments, memorials and cemeteries in and around Ypres, including the Tyne Cot Cemetery, John McCrae's Essex Farm site, Langemark German Cemetery and Vancouver Corner, a memorial to Canadian soldiers. Try to imagine the Battle of Hill 60 as you walk with your guide through the modern landscape, forever damaged from the war.
Visit the city of Ypres to tour St George's Chapel, and head to the Menin Gate to attend the Last Post ceremony. This tradition takes place every evening at 8pm, a 'salute to the fallen,' and day-trippers rarely have a chance to see it. By staying the night in Lille, you're able to witness this moving tribute. When the ceremony is complete, travel with your guide to your hotel in Lille.
Overnight: Ibis Lille Opera or another similar Lille hotel
Day 2: Lille-Somme-Paris (B)
Take advantage of the included breakfast at your hotel before you meet your guide to being your second day touring the local WWI sites. This day is dedicated to the Somme, an area of France whose name is almost synonymous with the brutality of WWI.
Visit the site of the Battle of Pozières, the Thiepval memorial, the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, the Villiers-Bretonneux Australian National Memorial and the town of La Boiselle, where you'll see the enormous Lochnagar Crater. The crater is 300 feet across and 90 feet deep, the largest crater made during a time of war.
After seeing these critical places in the Somme, climb back into the minivan for the return drive to Paris.