Travel to Belgian Flanders on a day trip from Paris to explore the Ypres Salient, site of many World War I battles. Pay your respects at the Tyne Cot Cemetery and St Julien Memorial, where thousands of soldiers who died defending the area were laid to rest. Tour the well-known battle site at Hill 60. Visit the Menin Gate Memorial and then enjoy time to discover the town of Ypres on your own.
Small-Group Day Trip from Paris: Tour of the Ypres Salient WWI Battlefield in Belgian Flanders
Travel north through France into Belgian Flanders. This part of Belgium saw some of the heaviest fighting of World War I, in an area known as the Ypres Salient.
The Ypres Salient around the town of Ypres protruded into German-held territory, and was thus the scene of some deadly battles during the war. Thousands of soldiers from France, Belgium and the Commonwealth nations fought to defend the area from the Germans, and many lost their lives in the process.
There are many war memorials and cemeteries in the Ypres Salient now, which you'll explore with your knowledgeable guide. Visit the St Julien Memorial, a sculpture atop a monolith sometimes called the 'Brooding Soldier' that is dedicated to Canadian soldiers, and a memorial to the 5th Australian Divison called Polygon Wood.
Continue to the Essex Farm Cemetery, near the former site of a farm that had been used as a dressing station for treating wounded soldiers. The site is dedicated to John McCrae, a Canadian soldier famous for having written the poem 'In Flanders Fields.' Listen to your guide explain more about the poem, which led to the poppy becoming the international symbol honoring fallen soldiers. The site also still has some of the British bunkers from the war.
Walk up Hill 60, one of the famous World War I battlefields. At this site, much of the fighting occurred underground in tunnels created by mines. Visit the Tyne Cot Cemetery, in which many of the soldiers who died fighting in the Ypres Salient are buried. Among the graves, take note of the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, dedicated to the missing soldiers from the UK and New Zealand.
Visit the Menin Gate Memorial in the town of Ypres, in which thousands of names of missing soldiers from Commonwealth nations are inscribed. Enjoy some free time in the town of Ypres to explore at your leisure, including time for a lunch break (own expense), before the return trip to Paris.