Pre-Tour: Tuesday April 4, 2017
The Spirit of Remembrance team can meet you at the Paris airport and welcome you to France.
Remainder of the day at leisure (OPTIONAL TOURS AVAILABLE)
- Guided tour around Paris cultural highlights
- Personal shopper
- Helicopter tour
- Numerous other options available.
Welcome cocktail function followed by dinner in a historic restaurant
Tour DAY 1: Wednesday April 5, 2017
The Spirit of Remembrance team will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the Chateau Chartreuse which will be your home for the next 5 nights.
We will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park (time TBD). Enroute we will visit the Cabaret Rouge Cemetery in Souchez. In May 2000 the remains of an unknown Canadian soldier were taken from this cemetery and buried in a special tomb at the foot of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada.
This afternoon time permitting we will visit the Wellington Quarries in Arras. The museum is founded to the memory of thousands of men of the British Army and Dominion Forces who lived under the city during the Great War of 1914-1918. In particular work of the tunnelers of the New Zealand Division is commemorated.
Tour DAY 2: Thursday April 6, 2017
Today we travel to Ypres, (Approx. 1 hour). General Rick Hillier (Ret’d) and our team will share fascinating stories relating to the First World War and what you can expect when you arrive in Ypres.
We will visit the following:
- Essex Farm. Dressing station where in 1915 a Canadian surgeon, John McCrae, wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” and the story of the Poppy was born.
- PPCLI Memorial – commemorating a gallant stand by the Patricia’s in May 1915.
- “The Brooding Soldier” – St. Julien Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner – where Canadians held the line during the first German poison gas attack in April 1915.
- Passchendaele Memorial Museum (admission included)
- Langemark German Cemetery and the nearby location of the first gas attack
- Tyne Cot Cemetery – the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Act of Remembrance. Travel via Passchendaele New Cemetery viewpoint and hear how the Canadian Corps took Passchendaele in Oct/Nov 1917
- Canadian Memorial Passchendaele
- Mount Sorrel – The 1916 British Front Line south-east of Ypres was situated on this high ground of the Ypres ridge at Zillebeke and the double summits of Hill 61 and Hill 62. Three divisions of the Canadian Corps were involved in the defence of the line here when the German Army made an attack on 2nd June 1916. (If time permits)
In the evening, we will take our places at the Menin Gate ready to experience the Last Post Ceremony and lay a wreath on behalf of the Vimy Foundation.
Tour DAY 3: Friday April 7, 2017
General Rick Hillier (Ret’d) will talk with us about the Battle of the Somme – 1916. We will be visiting Beaumont Hamel and Thiepval.
- Beaumont Hamel – Newfoundland Memorial Park. Here, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, attached to a British division, was cut down on 1 July 1916 by German machine-gun fire as it attacked over open ground. Within 30 minutes the regiment suffered a crippling 324 killed and 386 wounded out of a total of 801 soldiers. The story of Piper James Richardson VC, 16th Canadian Scottish. Newfoundland Memorial.
- Thiepval – Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
The Battle of the Somme raged for over four months and resulted in over a million casualties to Allied and German troops. The Canadians, originally in the Ypres sector, missed the first months of the fighting, but had moved to the Somme by early September.
- Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont. Act of Remembrance.
- Mouquet Farm area – 3rd Canadian Division. The story of Pte John Kerr VC, 49th Battalion.
You will then have the unique opportunity to visit the Maison Blanche Souterrain (Date/Time TBC).
- Previously used as a chalk quarry, this underground system was turned into a barrack by the Canadian Corps who continued to expand the tunnels and caves. The underground space saved many lives as Canadian soldiers would sleep and wait as the ground above them shook. Many soldiers carved names, symbols and even detailed pictures into the chalk walls that can be viewed today.
Today you will attend special VIP opening, (time TBC) of Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War, a travelling exhibition from the Canadian War Museum at Musée des Beaux Arts in Arras.
Tour DAY 4: Saturday April 8, 2017
We will venture south to where the Battle of Amiens (1918) was the beginning of the end of the German armies. A powerful Allied force, spearheaded by Canadian and Australian troops, nearly broke through the enemy lines on 8 August. The Canadians advanced 13 kilometres through the German defences, the most successful day of combat for the Allies on the Western Front.
We will visit:
- Domart Bridge – A Canadian engineer story.
- Hangard Wood & War Cemetery – the story of three VCs
- Beaucourt Wood – another VC
- The defence of Hallu by the Winnipeg Grenadiers & the Calgary Battalion.
- Manitoba Cemetery, Caix and Caix British Cemetery – burial place of the “Hallu 8” who were 8 Manitobans buried with full military honours on 13th May 2015 nearly a century after they were killed.
- Villers Bretonneux – Australian War Memorial – Story of Lt Jean Brillant VC, MC , R22e Regiment
- Corbie was the location of a RAMC casualty clearing station and the nearby location where the Red baron, Manfred von Richthofen (5/2/1892- 4/21/1918) died. He was an ace German fighter pilot in World War I credited with 80 air combat victories.
There will then be time to visit the Amiens Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Gothic sacred art and a UNESCO World Heritage site before returning to the Chateau Chartreuse.
We will then attend the Vimy Foundation Vimy Reception at the Chateau Chartreuse in Gosnay, France. Attendees are expected to include government officials, heads of state and Vimy Foundation supporters. (To be confirmed.)
Tour DAY 5: Sunday April 9, 2017 – “CENTENARY OF THE BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE”
Today we will travel to Vimy Ridge and spend a couple of hours visiting the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park.
Attend the Official Vimy Centennial Commemoration Ceremony. Commemorative events have not yet been confirmed so the day has been left free.
Tour DAY 6: Monday April 10, 2017
Depart for the Mons area via the Hindenburg Line 1918 via Drocourt-Quéant Line
After the victory at Amiens, Allied commanders agreed on a multi-army offensive along the Western Front against Germans force that, for the first time in the war, appeared vulnerable. The ensuing campaign, known as the Hundred Days (August – November 1918), ended in the defeat of German forces in the West.
We will visit:
- Canal du Nord
- Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial
- Sancourt British Cemetery
We will have a special lunch in Grand Place Mons. This is where the Canadian Corps Commander, Lt Gen Sir Arthur Currie, took the salute on 11th November 1918.
We will also visit:
- St Symphorien Cemetery – Buried here is the last Canadian soldier to die in combat in the First World War. He was Private George Price of the 28th Battalion, killed by a German sniper northeast of Mons only a few minutes before the Armistice. The war ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918.
- Return via The Glade of the Armistice in the Compiègne Forest was the site of the signing of two armistices
Return to Paris
Post-Tour: Tuesday April 11, 2017
Travel back to Canada or select optional tour modules.
- Land transport to and from Paris in an executive coach (incl. DVD, AC, toilet)
- 2 nights’ accommodation** at a 4 star hotel in Paris
- 5 nights’ accommodation at the Hôtel La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit**
- Buffet breakfast daily
- 6 x lunches
- 5 x dinners
- 1 x gala dinner
- Experienced historian battlefield tour guides (1 per coach)
- Spirit of Remembrance tour manager
- Vimy Foundation “swag bag” including Pilgrimage medal
- Special tour bag including a hat, rain jacket, pen and baggage tags
- Bound souvenir programme including tour documentation with background information
- Special invitation to unique Vimy Centennial weekend events including Art Exhibition at Arras Museum of Fine Arts and Vimy Foundation Vimy 100 Reception at Arras City Hall
- There will be optional tours and extras available at an extra cost
* 12 years old and older
** 2 people in 1 room either in a double, (1 bed) or twin room (2 beds)
Package does not include:
- Flights to and from France
- Admission fees in museums and monuments unless specified in the itinerary
- Meals and beverages unless shown in the itinerary
- Tips, porterage and all personal extras
- Insurance & passport costs – you must have travel insurance and a valid passport
For any questions about the tour, please contact tour operator Spirit of Remembrance at firstname.lastname@example.org.