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Battlefields of the First World War: 100th Anniversary Tour

Below is a sample itinerary of a past Goway Group. It is provided to give you an idea of what we have already done & what you might also consider doing.

However, because of timing, your own group's special interests and budget, we expect to custom make a program just for you. Contact your favorite travel agent click on "Inquire about this Trip" to fill out a request for a group quotation.

Canada’s connection with Europe is never more evident than with its noble history of epic battles during the two world wars. In 2014, veterans and their relatives, friends and all Canadians will honour both the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 as well as the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 1944. We have developed 2 special tour programs around these significant events.

Join us on our 7-day “100th Anniversary Tour” and pay tribute to our First World War heroes. Our tour includes a visit to the infamous battlefields that defined Canada’s role in the war: Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Ypres, and Passchendaele plus the sights of Paris, Flanders and the Vimy Ridge Memorial.

Day 1

Fly Hometown to Paris

Welcome to France! You will be met at Charles de Gaulle Airport and transferred to your Paris hotel. This afternoon you will be taken on a city tour of Paris. You will see the iconic sites of Paris including The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

This evening, enjoy a special “Welcome Dinner” in a local restaurant on the Left Bank. D

Overnight Paris

Day 2

The Somme Battlefields

After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will check out and board your coach and depart for the Department of Picardy, which was the site of some of the most intense fighting of the Great War, during the battle of the Somme. You will visit the monument of Beaumont Hamel. This site, where so many Canadian soldiers lost their lives is considered sacred ground to the people of Newfoundland. Here you will be taken on a guided walking tour among the trenches as your guide explains the significance of the memorial. You will also visit the Thiepval Memorial – a very impressive and moving tribute to the soldiers who fought in the Great War. A visit will also be made to the 1916 Museum of the Somme.

Enjoy lunch in a very unique restaurant – Le Tommy. Dominic, the owner has an incredible collection of artifacts from the First World War on display, and in the outback, he has re-created life in the trenches during the war. Following lunch, your tour will continue with a visit to The Lochnogar mine crater and Courcelette – where tanks were used for the first time to support the Canadian troops, who were instrumental in the battle of Flers-Courcelette. Here you will visit the Canadian Memorial and cemetery. After a full day of touring the battlefields, you will arrive at your hotel in Amiens and check-in. A late dinner this evening will be served in a popular Amiens restaurant specializing in local cuisine. BLD

Overnight Amiens.

Day 3

Vimy Ridge Anniversary Service

After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will depart for the Vimy Ridge Memorial. Today is the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Several ceremonies of remembrance will take place at the monument today to mark the occasion. Following the moving ceremony at Vimy, your guide will take you on a personal tour of the Vimy Ridge site and explain the battle and the significance of the Canadian victory here. There will be an opportunity to visit the museum and explore some of the many miles of trenches and tunnels the Canadians dug in preparation for the battle. You will also have time to admire and walk around Walter Allward’s extraordinary Vimy Memorial. There will be an opportunity for lunch (own expense). After lunch, a stop will be made at Nine Elms Cemetery in Thélus. On the return journey to Amiens, you will visit the Museum of the Somme in Albert, and the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne. On returning to Amiens, you will be transferred to your hotel. Tonight enjoy dinner in a popular local restaurant. BD

Overnight in Amiens.

Day 4

Amiens to Ypres

After breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and board your coach for the Belgian town of Ypres, or Ieper as it is known to the Flemish. Ypres is only a short drive away, so you will have plenty of time to check into your hotel and have lunch (own expense) before your afternoon walking tour of Ypres, which was the centre of intense battles between the Germans and the Allies during the First World War. Ypres occupied a strategic position during the war because it stood in the path of Germany's planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north. 

Later this evening, you will experience a very emotional ceremony as you gather at the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony. For a few moments, the noise of traffic ceases and stillness descends over the memorial. At exactly 8 o’clock, up to six members of the regular buglers from the local volunteer Fire Brigade step into the roadway under the memorial arch. They play the Last Post, followed by a short silence and then play Reveille. On some occasions, the ceremony may be extended. You may, if you wish, lay a wreath at the memorial, and there may be music by bands, choirs, orchestras or a parade by Standards and military personnel. The Last Post Ceremony has become part of daily life in Ypres and the local people are proud of this simple but moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in defense of their town. B

Overnight in Ypres.

Day 5

Ypres and Passchendaele

After breakfast at your hotel, you will begin your tour to the valleys and ridges of Passchendaele where Canadians made another Vimy-like push against German occupying troops in the fall of 1917. During your stop in this area, you will discover some of the extraordinary archaeological work that has been conducted on the battlefield, exposing some of the hundreds of miles of tunnels where men lived and fought during the Great War. You will see the site of the biggest man-made explosion up to that time at Messine Ridge. A stop will be made for lunch (own expense). After lunch, you will visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the world’s largest Commonwealth War Cemetery, containing twelve thousand graves of soldiers from the Great War. A visit will be made to Hill 60 and Caterpillar Crater where you will see remnants of shell holes, craters and concrete bunkers. After your tour, you will return to your hotel. Your guide will be happy to recommend a restaurant for dinner. There is an excellent choice of restaurants, including ones that specialize in local Flemish cuisine. B

Overnight in Ypres.

Day 6

Exploring Ypres

Today you will explore the area surrounding Ypres and visit several sites relating to The First World War.

After breakfast at your hotel, your guide will first escort you to the In Flanders Fields Museum where you will learn about the life of the soldier fighting the Great War. The Flanders Fields Documentation Centre contains over 5,000 books on the First World War as well as trench maps, photographs, newspapers1, periodicals and original documents.

Your guide will take you to important Canadian memorials and cemeteries in the area, including St. Julien, Tyne Cot, and Essex Farm Cemetery.
After lunch (own expense), you will visit the John McCrae memorial at Wimereux Cemetery. It is here that the poem “In Flanders Fields” was written by Canadian physician and poet, Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae. This afternoon you will be taken to Wimereux to visit his memorial. After, your guide will take you to the German Cemetery at Langemarck. As you pass through the tranquil farm country, it is hard to imagine this is the same ground that was defended by the Canadians during the gas attacks of 1915.

Following your tour, you will be taken back to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening try some of the local culinary specialties as you enjoy a Farewell Dinner in a specially chosen local restaurant. BD

Overnight in Ypres.

Day 7

Ypres to Brussels and Departure

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Brussels Airport for your departure or onward flight. A post-tour extension package in Brussels is available should you wish to extend your stay. B

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