This is a Canadian tour, designed by Canadians, for Canadians, to pay tribute to all who served their country in battle and particularly to those who gave their lives. From Paris to London, visit the many museums, memorials and special sites that commemorate Canada's contribution in the Great War including Canada’s most impressive tribute, the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial which overlooks the Douai Plain from Hill 145, the highest point of Vimy Ridge.
Day #1 Paris. The day is free to rest or to start exploring the splendid French capital. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with wine at one of Paris’ lively restaurants. After dinner you may wish to join an optional outing to get a first impression of the “City of Light.” (D)
Day #2 Paris. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Louvre, and Champs-Elysées. Visit magnificent NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and for a panoramic view, take the elevator to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER. Balance of the day at leisure. (BB)
Day #3 Paris to Landing Beaches to Caen. A pleasant drive takes you to BÉNY-SUR-MER Canadian War Cemetery near Reviers. The cemetery contains 2,049 headstones enclosed by pines and maples. These mark the dead of the 3rd Division and the graves of 15 airmen. On to visit the JUNO BEACH MEMORIAL CENTRE, where, on nearby Juno Beach, on June 6, 1944, Canadian forces landed and secured the bridgehead for a successful opening of the Western front. The Centre is also an educational institution and provides recognition for Canada’s military and civilian contribution during the Second World War. We continue past the Gold Beach, Arromanches-Mulberry Harbour. Late afternoon we return to Caen and visit the MEMORIAL MUSEUM FOR PEACE. Overnight in Caen. (BB)
Day #4 Caen to Dieppe. After breakfast we will visit THE ARDENNE ABBEY on the outskirts of Caen. Ardenne Abbey was the location of the headquarters of SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, commanded by SS-Standartenführer Kurt Meyer. On June 7, eleven captured Canadian soldiers of The North Nova Scotia Highlanders and the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment were taken to the Abbey and killed. Next we will make a stop at the famous PEGASUS BRIDGE, secured by the British the night June 5/6, crucial for successful landing and further operations. At Honfleur, (from where Samuel de Champlain left France in 1603 to become the founder of the Province of Quebec), we will cross the Normandy Bridge, spanning the river Seine at its mouth, linking Honfleur to Le Havre. Continue along the Atlantic coast to Dieppe. We'll visit the local MUSEUM, CANADIAN CEMETERY, and the actual beach battle site to pay tribute to 913 Canadian soldiers who died that tragic morning of August 19, 1942. Lessons learned in August 1942 were instrumental in the successful landing two years later on the beaches of Normandy. On September 1, 1944 the 2nd Canadian division liberated Dieppe. Overnight in Dieppe. (BB)
Day #5 Dieppe to Amiens to Arras. We leave the Atlantic coast and journey eastward towards Arras, first with a stop in Amiens. Visit AMIENS CATHEDRAL and THE MEMORIAL TO ALLIED FORCES that fought one of the decisive battles in August 1918, ultimately leading to the end of World War One. Stop in Dury and view the Memorial commemorating the breaking of the Hindenburg Line on Sep 2, 1918, during the Second battle of Arras. Continue to the town of Albert, famous for the church with its hanging spire of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Next we will visit the Newfoundland Memorial Park at BEAUMONT HAMEL. The attack that tragic morning of July 1, 1916 claimed 91% of the regiment. The site contains a stunning caribou memorial and a new interpretive centre. Late afternoon arrival to your hotel in Arras*. (BB, D)
Day #6 Arras to Vimy Ridge. Today we pay a visit to Vimy Ridge, site of a stunning Canadian victory and most important for the formation of our national identity. Canadian attack commenced on the morning of April 9, 1917. We will visit the newly restored MEMORIAL that dominates the area. Around its base are engraved the names of the 11,000 missing Canadians who died in France during the Great War and have no known grave. There will be the opportunity to walk the restored trenches and tunnels as well as visit the fascinating INTERPERETIVE CENTRE. In the afternoon continue to nearby Monchy, where the Newfoundlanders were back in action. The village contains another memorial. We will end the day with a visit to CABARET ROUGE cemetery from where an unknown Canadian soldier was taken back home in 2000 as a symbol of all missing and unknown soldiers fallen during the Great War in Europe. Return to Arras for dinner and overnight*. (BB, D)
Day #7 Arras to Ypres. Following breakfast we depart for Ypres. First we will visit the famous CLOTH HALL, which now contains the “IN FLANDERS FIELDS MUSEUM”. Continue to ESSEX FARM cemetery where John McRae wrote his famous poem. On to PASSCHENDALE, site of the tragic battle in 1917, where the Local Guide will introduce us to the area. Further up the hill is a Canadian memorial at CREST FARM. Dominating all in this area is TYNE COT Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth military graveyard in the world with its 12,000 graves and a memorial to another 35,000 missing. Of the graves at this site almost 1,000 are Canadian, including a Victoria Cross holder. Overnight in Ypres. (BB, D)NOTE:Within a two-block walk from the town square you will find the Menin Gate. Every night at 8:00 p.m. under the Menin Gate all traffic comes to a halt while the last post is played to honour the memory and sacrifice of the war's dead.
Day #8 Ypres to Calais to Dover to London. After breakfast we depart Flanders. On the way to Calais we will make a stop near St.Omer and visit LA COUPOLE, a gigantic underground bunker designed by the Nazis, in 1943-1944, to store, prepare and launch the V2 rockets (first missiles to reach the stratosphere), the secret weapon that Hitler was counting on to destroy London and reverse the course of the war. Journey to Calais and board the afternoon ferry across the English Channel. Opportunity to view the famous White Cliffs of Dover from the ferry. Continue to London via lush English countryside and check into your hotel. (BB)
Day #9 London. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horse-guards, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights are a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL and the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, if held. This afternoon enjoy an included visit to the IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM. This evening is free to explore London on your own. (B)
Day #10 London. This morning’s program includes a visit to the CANADIAN MEMORIAL in Green Park. The stone surface of the memorial is etched with bronze fallen maple leaves and it is inscribed “From dangers shared our friendship prospers”. It is dedicated to 1 million Canadians who served in the Second World War and the “110,000 who gave their lives in memory of country and cause of freedom throughout the world”. Afterwards we will view a larger-than-life statue to the great British statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, located in Parliament Square. This morning’s outing will conclude with a visit to the CABINET WAR ROOMS, where major decisions regarding the Second World War were made. Included are the Telephone Room, Map Room and Sir Winston Churchill’s office and bedroom. The afternoon is at your leisure. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for A TASTE OF LONDON. This guided evening excursion includes a three-course dinner with wine and beer at a traditional London pub, followed by a narrated illumination cruise on the River Thames. (B, D)
Day #11 London to Canada. Your homebound transatlantic flight arrives the same day. (B)