Canadian World War I Battle Sites in France
Our day tour from Paris of Canadian World War I battle sites in France is a full day tour that includes Vimy Ridge and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and a visit of the Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. During the drive to the latter we also include a stop at Courcelette, where Canadian forces achieved a victory using tanks for the first time.
We begin our tour with your bilingual guide collecting you in an upscale vehicle at your Paris address and driving you directly (2 and ½ hours) to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. During the drive, if you wish, our guide will share encyclopedic knowledge of events leading to the first world war, and major developments in the war preceding what transpired in April 1917 at Vimy. He can also detail the strategy employed by the Canadians and the agony of events as the battle evolved.
In addition to the memorial itself, we will visit the visitor’s center and the 3 cemeteries. We will also arrange for a guided tour of the Grange trench and forward trenches, led by one of the site’s official guides. Vimy had been captured by German forces in 1914, and in numerous subsequent assaults 150,000 French and British soldiers failed to dislodge them. That task was accomplished on April 9-12, 1917, by 4 Canadian divisions, fighting under unified command for the first time, at the cost of 3,598 lives and 7000 wounded.
After our visit at Vimy we will take a one hour break (longer, if you wish) for lunch, and then drive to Courcelette, where we will stop to view the monuments and survey terrain that was seized in fierce fighting by the Canadian 2nd and 3rd divisions at the cost of 7,230 men killed, wounded or missing. We then proceed past Thiepval Ridge, where the same Canadian divisions also saw action, to arrive at Beaumont-Hamel.
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Beaumont-Hamel is where the Newfoundland Division fought on the first day of the Battle of the Somme: July 1, 1916, a day of catastrophic losses for British and commonwealth forces. Over 20,000 of them lost their lives that day and 37,000 were wounded. Among them, the Newfoundland Division was comprised of 801 men, of whom 68 survived and over 700 were either killed, wounded or missing in action. We will park outside the memorial and take a one hour walk to visit the battlefield, which is dominated by a look-out point, where you will see a sculpture of a Newfoundland caribou facing no-man’s-land.
That will complete our day tour from Paris of Canadian World War I battles sites in France. Our drive back to Paris takes 2 and ¼ hours, where we will drop you where you wish.
Just a quick note to let you know how much we enjoyed the tour of the Loire Valley [Custom Loire Valley Day Tour from Paris of 2 chateaux and 1 wine estate]. Let me start by saying the best part of the trip was meeting you and listening and learning about the history of France and specifically Chenonceaux. Your comments and guidance throughout the day made the experience far more than just a sight-seeing trip. Lunch was great and so were Amboise and the wine tasting. I can’t thank you enough for putting this tour together for us, we will enjoy the memories for years to come.
Stephen Kelly – San Francisco, CA