Step back in time to two world wars
Step back in time and relive the history of the landing beaches and battlefields of the two World Wars. Today it is hard for us to imagine the scale of the wars in terms of human lives lost, however the vast number of memorials and museums serve as a poignant reminder of the bravery and suffering endured.
The entire region, which has become an open-air museum in itself, is punctuated with hundreds of memorials, war grave cemeteries, museums and trenches.
Visiting the regions is extremely moving, it provides the opportunity to extend your knowledge of the two World Wars as well as enabling you to pay your respects to all that served and lost their lives.
Many people travel to the regions to visit a special individual grave whilst others will take time to explore the whole area. We offer accommodation in the towns which are either close to battlefields or were affected by the fighting or invasions. It is possible to combine stays in more than one of these towns or in other areas of Belgium and France to explore more of the regions and tailor-make your own touring holiday. Please call if you wish to consider this option.
Abbeville lies on the Somme not far from the sea. Although the town was badly bombarded during WWII, you can still admire the church of St-Vulfran, noted for its flamboyant gothic west front with beautifully carved 16th century door panels. You will also be impressed by the belfry, reputedly the oldest in France and now a museum. Abbeville is a great base from which to visit the Somme sites.
ABBEVILLE FEATURE SELECTION
Amiens is a small city on the River Somme that had strategic importance in both World Wars - and suffered much damage as a result. It is now a very interesting place to visit. The magnificent cathedral, waterside bars and restaurants complement the fascinating sights.
The historic town of Arras was at the centre of much of the fighting in World War 1, narrowly avoiding capture by the Germans in the initial rush of their invasion in Autumn 1914. Right behind the Front Line, the town’s civilian population was evacuated and its defending troops lived in tunnels under constant bombardment by enemy shelling.
A visit to Arras allows you to tour the tunnels and cellars underneath the town where troops sheltered during the war. The nearby Vimy ridge and two towering pylons of the Vimy memorial make a memorable excursion.
OTI Bayeux-Bessin -G. Wait
A medieval treasure in the heart of Normandy, full of beautiful architecture, narrow cobbled streets and superb market squares. An incredibly special place as it is one of the few towns that survived WWII in tact. Built on the site of the old Roman settlement of Augustodurum, Bayeux is full of relics from the past. Whether you are interested in the 11th century Cathedral of Notre Dame, the famous Norman Bayeux Tapestry, the unbelievable history, museums and memorials dedicated to the D-Day landings or are simply besotted by the towns stunning surroundings, Bayeux will delight all who visit it.
Situated in the heart of the Suisse Normande region of Normandy, the small village of Clécy provides a haven of peace and tranquility. Clécy lies on the River Orne and is overlooked by the stunning cliffs that are characteristic of the Suisse Normande region. The beautiful rocky landscape attracts outdoor enthusiasts, with a plethora of activities available. Rock climbing, walking, canoeing and horse riding are just some of the sports you can enjoy.
The gorgeous sandy Normandy beaches are only a drive away as are the towns of Caen and Bayeux. Clécy is also a brilliant stopover point if you wish to tour the Battlefields and D-Day landing sites on the Normandy coast.
Ypres is a pretty town of medieval origin, surrounded by fantastic fortifications. Over the centuries it has been subjected to much torment and destruction. Although almost completely rebuilt following the tremendous devastation of the First World War, Ypres remains a living museum. Most buildings are relatively new but the skilled renovation of seventy years ago has made the weathered replicas now appear original. This small Flemish town is primarily for those interested in the Battlefields with extensive memorials and mementoes of World War One but do not be too surprised when you find both its charm and its beauty have seduced you. The impressive In Flanders Fields Museum in the centre of Ypres has now re-opened following an extensive renovation and all our short break packages to Ypres include tickets to this unmissable attraction.