Day 1: Departure
We depart for London.
Day 2: Windsor / London
After arrival we will unwind with a relaxing cruise from Windsor, and enjoy classic views of Windsor Castle as well as a traditional cream tea. Then we proceed to our central London hotel. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
Day 3: London
As bombs fell during WWII thousands of Londoners volunteered to fight fires and save lives. Our ‘London at War’ tour (aboard a vintage double decker bus) provides a unique insight into life in London during the two World Wars. Included is a visit to the War Cabinet Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government - an amazing time capsule! Later there will be some time at leisure to explore London on your own.
Day 4: Portsmouth (D-Day Museum)
We travel to Portsmouth and visit the D-Day Museum, which tells the story of the D-Day Landings in WWII and features the magnificent Overlord Embroidery - a tribute to the heroism of those who took part in the operation. We will also explore Historic Portsmouth Harbour, home to the HMS Victory - the Royal Navy's most famous warship, and The Mary Rose - flagship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII.
Day 5: Channel Crossing / Port en Bessin
We take the ferry to the port of Caen, Normandy. After arrival we will visit the Pegasus Bridge where the 6th British Airborne landed, captured and liberated the first house in Europe, the Café Gondree. After our visit of the museum here we will proceed to our hotel for our first dinner in France.
Day 6: Courseulles-Sur-Mer / Juno Beach / Port en Bessin
We begin at the Canadian Memorial Garden in the Abbaye des Ardenne and la Verrieres Ridge to view the area where the “Black Watch” suffered severe casualties during “Operation Spring”. Then we continue on to the Juno Beach Center, dedicated to the 3rd Division landings as well as Canada’s full involvement during World War II. Afterward, we will visit Queens Own Rifles House on the beach of Bernières-sur-Mer as well as the Canadian Military Cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer.
Day 7: Arromanches / Pointe du Hoc / Omaha Beach / Port en Bessin
We continue our focus on the Normandy Invasion with a visit to Pointe du Hoc, where the cratered landscape caused by the German battery can be observed. Then we see Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery to discover the harsh difficulties in landing on the beach. This will be followed by a visit to La Chaos - the German offshore battery in Longues-sur-Mer, which is still relatively intact. Later we visit the Disembarkation Museum and Mulberry Harbour in Arromanches before returning to our hotel.
Day 8: Dieppe / Arras
We travel to the seaside resort town of Dieppe to visit the Dieppe Canadian Cemetery, before travelling to Green Beach at Pourville to view the Red and White landing beaches on the Dieppe seafront, as well as the Canadian Memorial Museum. Later at the Blue Beach in Puys we view the gun emplacements on the cliff tops which were responsible for the terrible Canadian casualties. Then we travel to Arras for a 3-night stay.
Day 9: Albert / Beaumont Hamel / Arras
Our focus switches to WWI as we explore the Somme, starting in Albert where we visit the Musee des Arbris. Then we head out to the Somme Battlefields, and visit the Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval, and one of the only intact First World War monuments - the memorial park at Beaumont Hamel. The park (maintained by Canada) remains as it was during the Battle of the Somme, and is dedicated to the Royal Newfoundland and Labrador Regiment which lost many men on that first day of battle.
Day 10: Vimy Ridge / Arras
We travel the short distance to Vimy Ridge. It was on Hill 145, in April 1917, that Canada truly became a nation in the eyes of the world. Canadian troops stormed the ridge after all other allied forces failed to do so. We will tour the tunnels, trenches and memorial, as well as the new interpretation center which opened in spring 2017 for the 100th anniversary. This afternoon we tour the Wellington Tunnels, used by the Allies to support the Western Front close to the town. There will be free time to explore Arras, Place des Heroes as well as the Belfroi.
Day 11: Lens / Ypres
We travel to Lens and the new Hill 70 Memorial, dedicated in August 2017 to commemorate one of Canada's major victories on the Western Front after the victory at Vimy. We then proceed to Ypres, where we visit the “In Flanders Fields” Museum.
Day 12: Flanders Fields / Ypres
This morning we will orient ourselves with the Ypres Salient Battlefields with a visit to Essex Farm, where John McCrae wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. Then we visit the German cemetery of Langemark - the resting place of over 44,000 young Germans (many 'student volunteers'). We will continue on to Vancouver's Corner, to view the haunting memorial of the Brooding Soldier at Saint Juliaan. This evening you can witness the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, which records over 54,384 names of missing troops and personnel during the Ieper salient battles.
Day 13: Passchendaele / Ypres
We begin with a visit to the Canadian Memorial at Crest Farm, the objective of the 1st Canadian Corps on Passchendaele Ridge. Next we visit the largest Commonwealth Cemetery at Tyne Cot, where the Canadians first began the Third Battle of Ypres to take Passchendaele. The Passchendaele Museum features an actual battle ground with trenches and German defenses. We continue to Hill 62 to view a well preserved area which was part of the original Canadian Front Line (also known as Sanctuary Wood). We conclude the day with some free time in Ypres to relax or to buy excellent Belgian chocolate.
Day 14: Paris
We travel to Paris, and we will have some free time in a quaint quarter of the city for lunch and a stroll before proceeding to our centrally located hotel. Tonight’s dinner will be at a charming Brasserie followed by an illuminated cruise along the Seine River.
Day 15: Paris
On our city tour of Paris we will see the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre, l’Arc de Triomphe, Les Champs Elysées, Notre-Dame Cathedral, St-Germain des Prés and more! The afternoon is free in Paris, and this evening is our Farewell Dinner.
Day 16: Home
We say “au revoir” to France and fly back home.
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