Dieppe 80th Anniversary
Canadian Battlefield Tour
Special Remembrance Gathering in Dieppe in August 2022, plus visits to Normandy & Vimy Ridge
Dieppe 80th Anniversary Canadian Battlefield Tour
Special Remembrance Gathering in Dieppe, plus visits to Juno & Vimy
At a glance
August 13-21, 2022 • France & Belgium • 9 days
Paris • Bayeux • Dieppe • Ieper
80th Anniversary Commemoration in Dieppe • Juno Beach • Gold Beach • Verrieres Ridge • Arromanches • Ardenne Abbey • Vimy Ridge • Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, Ypres • scroll down to see complete details
Friday August 12
For many of our Canadian travelers it is departure day, for the overnight transatlantic flight to France. Some travelers may choose to leave for Europe sooner to extend the start of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on pre-tour accommodations.
Guests who have other travels already in progress, or guests from other points of origin including the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere, will meet the start of the tour on Day 1 in Paris.
Saturday August 13
In the mid-afternoon all clients can check into the group hotel. In the meantime, luggage is stored in the hotel baggage lock-up. Today you are free to explore Paris, the City of Light. There is so much to see including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, Pere Lachaise, Les Jardins du Luxembourg, the list goes on!
In the evening we gather in the heart of Paris for our Welcome Dinner, to share a glass of wine and set the stage for our special journey. Overnight Paris - Novotel Tour Eiffel. [D]
Sunday August 14
We depart for the coast, to begin our visits to important places involved in the Battle of Normandy. We start the day with a stop in the open countryside south of Caen, at a high point known at Point 67, near Verrieres Ridge - one of the most debated locations on the Normandy battlefield. Here you have a commanding view of the battlefield in all directions.
We continue further toward the coast, into the Juno Sector and some of the small villages that were liberated by the Canadians in the first hours and days following June 6th including Authie and Buron. We then make a special stop at Ardenne Abbey, where Canadian soldiers were illegally executed by the Nazis just a few days after D-Day. It is an important Canadian pilgrimage, and we pay our respects to the young men in the garden of remembrance.
It's then onward to Bayeux for the first of three nights' stay. Overnight Bayeux - Novotel. [B,L]
Monday August 15
This morning we will walk the sands of Juno Beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer, with story telling and much reflection. A visit inside the Juno Beach Centre is included, along with a tour of the German command bunker hidden below the sand dunes. The Juno Beach Centre is your home away from home in Normandy, and you will be especially proud of the young staff who come from Canada to work here as guides.
We also visit Juno at Bernières-sur-Mer and the famous Canada House, along with the nearby defenses. This home is one of the most iconic of all sites in Normandy, and you will appreciate a personal invitation from the owner of the home to visit inside.
In the afternoon we visit the hallowed grounds of Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, the burial place of 2,044 Canadians who fell in the early hours of D-Day and the subsequent liberation of Normandy. Overnight Bayeux - Novotel. [B,L]
Tuesday August 16
Our first visit is the heart of the British landing zone code named Gold Beach. This area was selected as one of two sites to construct the man-made Mulberry Harbour where ships could off-load the massive supplies needed for the invasion force. The view from the cliffs above reveals remnants of the harbour just off-shore. We then walk down into Arromanches, a lovely coastal tourist village, to visit the Musée du Débarquement which wonderfully illustrates how the harbours were designed.
After some free time for lunch and shopping in the village, we drive just as short distance west to the imposing German coastal gun battery at Longues-sur-Mer, a position of four large naval guns which posed a serious threat to Allied ships off-shore as well as the landing beaches themselves.
We get back to Bayeux for some mid-afternoon exploration. You may wish to consider taking in the 1,000-year-old Bayeux Tapestry which depicts events leading to William the Conqueror's invasion of England, or perhaps peek inside the enormous cathedral. Bayeux is also a wonderful location for photography, the town having been mostly spared the destructive fighting of the war. Overnight Bayeux - Novotel. [B,L]
Wednesday August 17
After a relaxed morning in the local village of Bayeux it's time to say goodbye to Lower Normandy and continuing our journey northeast along the channel coast, toward the focal point of our trip - Dieppe.
We will take in the landing point at Pourville where brave actions led the charge. Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Merritt, commanding officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, would earn the Victoria Cross at the spot now known as Merritt's Bridge.
Time is reserved in the evening for special gatherings as may be organized by our local contacts. We arrive for the first of three nights in Dieppe, with our boutique hotel right on the promenade overlooking the main beach featuring a panoramic view from the restaurant. Overnight Dieppe - Windsor Hotel. [B,L]
Thursday August 18
Today we will visit more of the Canadian landing zones of Operation Jubilee - the plans, the execution and the after-math of the August 1942 raid that went so horribly wrong. We begin in the garden at the foot of the citadel, then walk along the main beach in Dieppe to gain a sense of the overall raid, with time at the various monuments to the regiments who landed here. Captain John Weir Foote, a chaplain, would be awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts here.
We also stroll down to the sea wall at Puys where so many young men of the Royal Regiment of Canada fell heroically in battle. This spot, on August 19, 1942, is arguably Canada's darkest moment of World War II. We keep a flexible schedule to permit attendance at official ceremonies.
In the evening we will make our way to the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, tucked away up the hill, to attend a special candlelight Vigil (tbc). Overnight Dieppe - Windsor Hotel. [B,L]
Friday August 19
Our calendar for today is kept clear to allow for attendance at commemorative events for the 80th Anniversary of the Raid on Dieppe as may be organized by Veterans Affairs Canada and local officials. Information will be posted as details are announced. Overnight Dieppe - Windsor Hotel. [B,L]
For additional context, Listen here to CBC's Robert Bowman and his broadcast from Dieppe the day after the raid.
Saturday August 20
We are back on the road this morning, heading inland and back in time to World War 1 for a special visit to Vimy Ridge. We will take a guided tour of the underground tunnels which reveal how soldiers lived and prepared for battle beneath the earth. We also walk the above-ground trenches for a first-hand feel of trench warfare. Ample time is then given to be at, on and around the Vimy Monument, arguably the most impressive of all the war monuments in Europe.
A short distance down the ridge takes us into Souchez for quick stops at points of interest, along with a delicious lunch with wine at a well-known establishment filled with charm.
We then say au revoir to France and drive north across the border into Belgium, to the enchanting small town of Ieper (Ypres) in the province of Flanders. At 8pm the Last Post Ceremony will take place at the Menin Gate, as it has every evening since 1928. Overnight Ieper - Novotel Centrum Flanders Fields. [B,L]
Sunday August 21
This morning is departure day for those Canadians returning home on the optional group flight - buffet or box breakfast is included, depending on departure time from the hotel. Some travelers may choose to remain in Europe longer to extend the end of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on post-tour accommodations so that you have extra time to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh!
Others guests will depart for home or continue their travels on other routes. [B]