Vimy Sacrifice Tour (03-11 Apr 17) SOLD OUT

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Our new tour has now been created to fill the extensive demand we are still experiencing for bookings on our ‘once in a lifetime’ Vimy 100 Centenary tour series commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9 April, 2017. Space is limited to 26 persons maximum and will fill quickly – so do not delay as this is the final tour we are operating for Vimy 100 due to lack of accommodation.

Our ‘Vimy Sacrifice’ tour pays tribute to the sacrifice and bravery of the Canadian forces in WW1 in France and Belgium including the ‘once in a lifetime’ visit to the Vimy Ridge Memorial for the Centenary Commemoration for the Battle of Vimy on April 9 1917. We also walk the key battlegrounds for Canada in WW1 in France and Belgium including Ypres and the Ypres salient, Vimy Ridge, and the key Western Front Somme battlefields for Canada in WW1 - Come with Spirit of Remembrance to France and Belgium and walk over land that through courage and sacrifice has forever become a part of Canada.

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DAY 1: Tues. 04 April 2017

Your tour begins once you arrive at your centrally located hotel in Paris.

The day is at leisure. We are pleased to offer you a selection of optional day trips which you will need to pre book as space is limited.

• The Normandy Beaches: WW2: Including ‘Juno Beach’: Canadian Landing Beach D-Day
• Champagne Country
• Versailles

Tonight we have a welcome dinner for the group where you will be briefed by your SOR Battlefield/Historian guide on your tour.

Accommodation:        4* Central Paris Hotel (To be advised)

Meals:                         Dinner

 

DAY 2: Weds. 05 April 2017

After breakfast and checking out of your hotel, your baggage will be loaded onto the tour vehicle. Your unique tour continues at a leisurely pace as you are driven through the French countryside to the historic town of Meaux. This beautiful town dates back to Gaulish Tribes, then taken by the Romans. In 1422 the English took possession of the town.  Each century has left its footprint especially in the old city where you will have time to wander.

During the First World War, (1st Battle of the Marne – September 1914), the Germans were stopped at the gates of Meaux.  The city was saved and the course of the war was changed.

Tours seldom visit this area however it contains a fascinating museum called Musée de la Grande Guerre in Pays de Meaux, which houses a unique collection of artefacts and exhibitions. This museum will give you a new vision of the first worldwide conflict [1914-1918], through innovative scenography illustrating the great changes and upheavals in society that resulted from it.

So starts your culinary exploration of France with a relaxing lunch in a wonderful restaurant offering traditional cuisine. Brie De Meaux is the most famous of all Bries. First created in the Middle Ages by the monks of the Priory of Rueil en Brie. 

Continuing north we will visit Cité souterraine de Naours.Relax in your executive coach as you journey towards Arras, your home for the next six nights.

Arriving at approximately 7.00 pm you have time to check into the Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers and freshen up before dinner in the hotel.

Accommodation:         4* Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers

Meals:                         Breakfast, Lunch & dinner

 

DAY 3: Thurs. 07 April 2017

 

Breakfast at leisure in your hotel.

 

9.00am Depart hotel for our tour of the battlefields & cemeteries of the Ieper (Ypres) Salient.

 

You 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.
• Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (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.
• Canadian Memorial Passchendaele
• Memorial museum Passchendaele 1917  (admission included) Synonymous with Vimy - Passchendaele is infamous for the terrible bloody brutal battle of ‘mud and blood’ where Canadian troops finally won this terrible battle in November 1917, with over 16,000 men killed and wounded and 9 Victoria crosses won. 

Lunch will be a catered packed lunch in the museum grounds

• Langemark German Cemetery
• 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 horrific fighting in Oct/Nov 1917
• 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.
• Hill 61 and Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood

At around 5.00pm we will return to Ypres where we will have an early dinner at a local restaurant

7.00pm We will take our places at the Menin Gate ready to experience the Last Post Ceremony which takes place at 8.00pm.  After the service we will return to your hotel in Arras.

 

Accommodation:      4* Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers

Meals:                         Breakfast, packed lunch & dinner

 

DAY 4: Fri. 07 April 2017

After breakfast in our hotel we will depart at 9.00am for the Battle of the Somme 1916.  

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.

On 15 September, in a carefully prepared infantry attack, the Canadians captured the ruined village of Courcelette. Despite thousands of casualties, it was a victory, one of the few for Allied forces on the Somme.

Further attacks through September and October were just as costly, but less successful. Operations against Desire Trench and Regina Trench, to the north of Courcelette, were grinding affairs where soldiers attacked and counterattacked repeatedly over the same ground, and always under heavy enemy fire. In late October, the three battered divisions of the Canadian Corps limped off the Somme having suffered 20,000 casualties.

You will visit the following:

• 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.
• Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont. Act of Remembrance.
• Mouquet Farm area – 3rd Canadian Division. The story of Pte John Kerr VC, 49th Battalion.
• Courcelette – 2nd Canadian Division. The first use of tanks.
• Domart Bridge – A Canadian engineer story.
• Hangard Wood & War Cemetery – the story of three VCs
• Beaucourt Wood – another VC
• Manitoba Cemetery, Caix – 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.

Relax and enjoy a picnic lunch in the Albert area. This evening there will be a special dinner.

Accommodation:      4* Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers

Meals:                         Breakfast, packed lunch & dinner

 

DAY 5: Sat 08 April 2017             

Today is a free day in Arras for you to explore or perhaps seek out your relatives graves in the immediate area. * Excellent train links are available to Amiens, Lille or Brussels.

We are also pleased to offer you a selection of day trips which you will need to pre book as space is limited.

• Louvre in Lens (A breath taking new extension of the famous Louvre Museum in Paris)
• Wellington Quarry (Arras) (own expense)

This evening is also at leisure before your historic day tomorrow.

Accommodation:      Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers

Meals:                         Breakfast

 

DAY 6: Sun. 09 April 2017   BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE CENTENARY         

Commemorative events have not yet been confirmed by VAC (Veteran Affairs Canada) so the timings for attending the ceremony have been left free. Immediately we are informed these timings a full description of events will be advised.

Accommodation:      Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers

Meals:                         Breakfast, packed lunch & dinner

 

DAY 7: Mon. 10 April 2017

After an early breakfast (included) in our hotel and checking out we depart to the Mons area via the Hindenburg Line 1918. After the victory at Amiens, Allied commanders agreed on a multi-army offensive along the Western Front against German forces 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. After almost a month of planning and preparation, the Canadian Corps attacked across the Canal du Nord in a high-risk operation on 27 September. Behind a complicated fire plan and the work of engineers, the Corps crossed the canal and pushed through the enemy defences, eventually capturing strong points like Bourlon Wood and Cambrai on 9 October.

Today we will visit:

• Canal du Nord
• Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial
• Sancourt British Cemetery
 

The German Army Retreats - The Arras and Canal du Nord battles cost over 30,000 Canadian casualties but helped break the German army's final defensive positions. After Canadian and other Allied troops crossed the Canal du Nord, the German forces were in full retreat. The end of the war was near. In the final month of the war, Allied forces pushed ahead on all fronts. 

The Canadians, having lost more than 40,000 killed and wounded since August, closed in on Mons, a city of huge symbolic value. From here, British troops had staged an epic fighting retreat in the early days of the war, delaying the Germans in their advance towards Paris but suffering heavily in the process. Now, the Canadians had a chance to capture Mons on the last day of the war... which is exactly what they did. Today we will have lunch in the Grand Place Mons (own expense). This is where the Canadian Corps Commander, Lt Gen Sir Arthur Currie, took the salute on 11th November 1918.

After lunch we will 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 11am on 11 November 1918.
• The Last Shot memorial
We will leave here late this afternoon to return to Arras and our hotel for our last night in Arras and our group farewell dinner.

Accommodation:  Hotel Najeti Hôtel de L'univers
Meals:                   Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8: Tue 11 April 2017

After early breakfast and checking out of the hotel we return to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park

The tour will include the following:

• Vimy Memorial to Canada’s Missing
• The story of how the allegedly impregnable German position was taken in style
• How four Victoria Crosses were won during the battle

Continuing south we visit the famous city of Amiens with its breathtaking cathedral started in 1220 and the canal in the Saint-Leu quarter. Time to relax and enjoy lunch before we continue on our return to Paris via The Glade of the Armistice in the Compiègne Forest the site of the signing of two armistices; the WW1 1918 Armistice with Germany and the 1940 WW2  Armistice with France. Hitler specifically chose the location, and had the original signing carriage moved from Paris to Compiègne, as an irony for the defeated French. The site still houses several memorials to the 1918 armistice, including a copy of the original railway carriage. The original, after use in the 1940 armistice was moved to Berlin as a trophy of Nazi triumph. The railway carriage was later taken to Crawinkel in Thuringia in 1945, where it was destroyed by SS troops and the remains buried. A replica now stands at the original site.
We will then relax on our leisurely drive back to Paris, (Approx. 2.5 hours) where your tour ends.

Meals:             Breakfast and lunch

Highlights

Tour Code: CAVSAC179DPAR
Tour Duration
: Monday 03 April - Tuesday 11 April 2017
Departs/Returns: Paris-Paris
Guide: SOR approved Battlefield Guide/Historian
Cost P/Person: Share Twin/Double Room: CAD $TBA
Cost: Single Room Supplement: CAD $TBA
Cost: Triple Room Cost: On Application


 

Route

  1. Paris
  2. Arras
  3. Mons
  4. Ypres