WESTERN FRONT TOUR

DESTINATION: France & Belgium

PERIOD: 11 Days

PRICE: $4,700 per person twin share. Single Sup $1,000

TOUR DATE: Friday, 20 April 2018

Join us to commemorate the Western Front ANZAC Day Dawn service at the Australian Memorial at Villers Bretonneux.  During the ANZAC Day Western Front tour, you will visit Memorials and Museums on the Somme, including the Victoria School and Museum.  Explore the Normandy D-Day Landing beaches, attend the Last Post ceremony at Ypres, visit historical  Brussels and the site of the Battle of Waterloo.  Taste wonderful Belgium chocolate and enjoy a dinner cruise along the Seine in Paris.

Basic Itinerary 
Day 1     Paris, welcome Seine river cruise
Day 2     Bayeux, Normandy
Day 3     Normandy
Day 4     Peronne, Arras
Day 5     ANZAC Day
Day 6     Somme Battlefields
Day 7     Villers Bretonneux, Le Hamel
Day 8     Fromelles
Day 9     Ypres, Last Post Menin Gate
Day 10   Passchendaele
Day 11   Waterloo
Day 12   Brussels – end of tour

Full Itinerary (Click here)

Day 1
Saturday 21st April
Paris (B)

Welcome to Paris and the start of your Western Front tour. This morning’s guided tour of Paris includes: The Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro, the Opera house, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Notre- Dame, Concorde Square, Vendôme Square, the Louvre, the Seine River banks and more. Your afternoon is free to explore further this romantic city, perhaps a visit to the famous 18th-century Royal Palace of Versailles. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. This evening there is a welcome dinner and cruise along the River Seine to discover why Paris is called the “City of Light”.
Overnight Paris Hotel

 Day 2
Sunday 22nd April
Paris – Bayeux – Normandy (B L D) 

Normandy is a must see when visiting Northern France and this morning you farewell Paris and travel to the beautiful northern French town of Bayeux, home to the famous 11th century tapestry that depicts the Norman Conquest. After visiting the tapestry, you lunch and then commence your tour of the D Day Landing beaches. On June 6th 1944 the invasion began and 135,000 men and 20,000 vehicles were brought onto the shores of Normandy via five landing beaches along 50 miles of coastline. You visit Ranville Cemetery, Pegasus Bridge, the site of the British Glider and Airborne assaults and Sword Beach.
Overnight Bayeux Hotel

Day 3
Monday 23rd April
Bayeux – Normandy (B L)

Continuing your tour of the landing beaches you visit Juno and Gold Beaches, Arromanches and the Mulberry Harbour. Omaha Beach, where the casualty rates in the early stages of the assault were some 50%, Pointe du Hoc and Utah Beach. Lunch is included and you return to Bayeux late afternoon.
Overnight Bayeux Hotel

Day 4
Tuesday 24th April
Bayeux – PéronneArras (B L)

After breakfast, you farewell Bayuex and travel north and continue your Western Front Tour to the beautiful township of Arras, known for its tranquility, stunning architecture and great restaurants. En route you visit the imposing Historical de la Grande Guerre Museum in Péronne and the 2nd Australian Division Memorial at Mont St Quentin. After booking into your hotel in Arras you visit the Carrière Wellington, underground museum. Chalk quarries built in medieval times lie under the township of Arras and in 1916; New Zealand and British tunnellers began linking the quarries to create an underground network where soldiers could be quartered. Eight days prior to the battle of Arras 24,000 soldiers of the British and Commonwealth forces lived in these tunnels. Arras like most townships and villages in Northern France was razed by shellfire during the Great War. A law was passed in 1919 which stated that historic monuments damaged by war should be identically rebuilt. Today one of the highlights of Arras is its old town centre which has been carefully and attractively restored.
Overnight Arras Hotel

 Day 5
Wednesday 25th April
ANZAC DAY – Centenary of the battle of Villers-Bretonneux
Bullecourt (B)

A pre-dawn wakeup call will be arranged with coffee and tea available in the foyer. You then depart for the moving dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, where you will join many other visitors and dignitaries in remembering the 295,000, Australians who served and the more than 46,000, who were killed in action or died of wounds on the Western Front. On the conclusion of the service you join other visitors for coffee, tea, and biscuits before returning to Arras for breakfast. This afternoon you visit the Bullecourt battlefield, the Slouch Hat Memorial in the centre of town and the “Digger” Memorial located on the German front line. Charles Bean the official war historian described the two battles with the following: ‘Bullecourt, more than any other battle, shook the confidence of Australian soldiers in the capacity of the British command; the errors, especially on April 10th and 11th, were obvious to almost everyone’. ‘The Second Bullecourt (battle) was, in some ways, the stoutest achievement of the Australian soldier in France’.
Overnight Arras Hotel

Day 6
Thursday 26th April
The Somme (B L)

After breakfast, you visit the Australian Somme Battlefields, or aptly named killing fields of 1916, Pozières and Mouquet Farm, nick named Moo Cow Farm by the Australians. In 45 days, the AIF lost a staggering 23,000 men, including 6,800 killed or missing in the fighting at Pozières, around the Windmill and northwards along the ridge towards Mouquet Farm. Continuing on your Western Front Tour you visit New Foundland Memorial, one of the few sites where the ground remains largely untouched since the First World War ended, the imposing Thiepval Memorial, where the names of more than 72,000 British men missing from the Somme fighting are recorded and the Lochnagar Mine Crater which was blown on the first day of the Battle of the Somme “the crater whilst eroded is still 91 metres in diameter and 21 metres deep” Your day concludes with a visit to Albert and the Somme 1916 underground Museum, which provides an insight into the life of a soldier in the trenches.
Overnight Arras Hotel

 Day 7
Friday 27th April
The Somme (B L)

Mid-morning you return to Villers–Bretonneux to visit the Adelaide Cemetery, where Australia’s “Unknown Soldier” lay for 75 years before being returned to Australia in 1993. The Victoria School, and a revisit to the Australian War Memorial without the crowd, the Memorial Tower provides views of the 1918 Australian battlefields. After lunch, you visit the Australian Corps Memorial in Le Hamel and the 3rd Division Memorial in Sailly-le-Sec On your return to Arras your time is free for shopping or sightseeing.
Overnight Arras Hotel

 Day 8
Saturday 28th April
Vimy Ridge – Fromelles – Ypres (B L)

Today you farewell Arras and travel north to the gothic township of Ypres, scene of 4 great battles and some of the heaviest fighting of the Great War. En-route you visit the majestic Canadian National Memorial on Vimy Ridge and the Fromelles Battlefields. The battle of Fromelles in July 1916 was Australia’s and the 5th Division first major battle on the Western Front and resulted in over 5,500 Australian casualties, with 2,000 killed in action or died of wounds and 400 captured. It has been described as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history.” You visit the new Cemetery and Museum at Pheasant Wood, VC Corner Australian Cemetery, which lists the names of more than 1180 men missing in the battle and the Australian Memorial Park, better known as “Cobbers” which was dedicated on the German front line. After booking into your hotel in Ypres, your evening is free to visit the town square of this beautifully rebuilt medieval town.
Overnight Ypres Hotel

Day 9
Sunday 29th April
Ypres (B L)

The Ypres Salient was a battlefield feature that projected into enemy territory curved around Ypres, which was at its centre. 

The Salient was fiercely fought over from October 1914 until near the end of the war in November 1918. This morning you visit Messines, where the infantry assault on the 7th June 1917, was preceded by the explosion of 19 huge mines along the German front line, Toronto Avenue Cemetery, which is the only all-Australian cemetery in Belgium, Irish Peace Park, the cratered landscape of Hill 60, Hooge Crater Cemetery, and Museum and Essex Farm where the Canadian doctor John McCrae wrote his famous poem ’In Flanders Field’ in early May 1915. After lunch, you visit the Flanders Field Museum, with its collection of relics and scenes of the Salient battles, St George’s Chapel, St Martin’s Cathedral, the ancient Ramparts, and the town square of this beautifully rebuilt medieval town. This evening you attend the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, where 54,000 missing British and Commonwealth soldiers are recorded. Two members of the group will be selected to lay a Wreath on behalf of the group.
Overnight Ypres Hotel

 Day 10
Monday 30th April
Ypres (B L)

Continuing your tour of the Salient battlefields you visit the 5th Australian Division Memorial and the New Zealand Memorial at Polygon Wood, Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth Cemetery in the world, where two Australian VC winners, Capt. Jeffries and Sgt McGee are laid to rest, Broodseine and the Passchendaele Memorial Museum, which consists of 5 sections and tells the story of one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War, the third battle of Ypres. The Museum keeps the memory of the battle alive through images, films, artefacts, and a network of reconstructed British and German trenches. You complete the day with a visit to the German Cemetery Langemark, also known as ‘Studentenfriedhof’. Three thousand German cadets and student volunteers were killed in October 1914, in a futile attempt to break through to Ypres.
Overnight Ypres Hotel

 Day 11
Tuesday 1st May
Waterloo – Brussels (B L D)

This morning you farewell Ypres and travel north to Brussels, one of Europe’s premier cities which dates to the 10th century. En-route you visit the Battlefield of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington and General Blucher from Prussia, fought on the 18th June 1815, one of the most decisive battles in the history of Europe. In one day, a total of 48,500 men fell or were severely wounded. You walk the battlefield, with the option of climbing the Lion Mound, before visiting the 1912 panoramic painting of the battle and the newly constructed museum, which incorporates a picture theatre. Brussels is only a short drive away and after booking into our hotel your time is at leisure to explore Belgium’s capital. This evening there is a farewell dinner.
Overnight Brussels Hotel

Day 12
Wednesday 2nd May
Brussels (B)
Sadly your Western Front tour ends, you may wish to continue your travels or return home.

 

 

Those visiting Brussels for the first time might like to stay another day and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this classic European city with its small-town charm and cosmopolitan attractions. Among the most famous is the Grand Place and Europe’s most beautiful medieval square lined with guild houses. Originally built in the 13th century, the square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just a short walk from the Grand Place is the Mannekin Pis, a small bronze statue of a little boy relieving himself. The infamous statue is a great example of Belgium’s quirky sense of humour and is often given costumes to mark various occasions, anniversaries or events.

The open top hop on hop off buses, have a narrated tour which covers the major sites in an approximate 90-minute circle. There are 13 stops and the buses arrive every 30 minutes allowing you to spend as much or as little time as you like at any of the places of interest.

 NB:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    (B, L, D)

 

A moderate level of fitness is required along with comfortable walking shoes

This tour is subject to change

 

  Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Transport with private A/C vehicles
  • Entrance fees
  • Sightseeing with our Historian and local guides
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • Battle Tours information kit, travel information and quality polo shirt and hat or scarf and beanie.

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance (we can provide)
  • Meals not shown on the itinerary
  • Drinks
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls
  • Optional visits and Personal expenses
  • Gratuities and tipping to local guides

 

 

 

Enquire About Our Tours