From the Normandy Shores to the Liberation of the Netherlands
2018 Northwest Europe Canadian Battlefield Tour From the Normandy Shores to the Liberation of the Netherlands
100th Anniversary of the End of the Great War ... 1914-1918
April 22 to May 7, 2018 France - Belgium - Holland (16 days)
Embark on a journey of wonder and discovery as you walk in the footsteps of our Canadian soldiers, who left their mark of service and sacrifice in the pursuit of democracy & freedom.
Your pilgrimage begins in Paris, extends out to the Normandy shores of Juno Beach, and then carries northeast through WW1 and WW2 all the way to Amsterdam. The tour includes visits to sites of significance to Canada and her allies:
Juno Beach & the D-Day Beaches
Beaumont-Hamel & The Somme
... and much more
Our annual Northwest Europe battlefield tour is the most comprehensive tour of its kind - a pilgrimage to the Canadian battlefields of WW1 and WW2 where Canada came of age as a nation and forged a reputation as the army to be called upon for some of the most difficult and challenging battles. This is our annual signature tour, ideal for those making their first trek to the battlefields and hoping to catch most of the significant points of interest. If you were to make only one Canadian battlefield tour, this is it.
We also pay special attention to the final months of The Great War and the key Canadian contributions which brought about the end of WW1 in this, the centenary year.
Your excursion also includes free time to enjoy a little culture, with the opportunity to visit several Unesco World Heritage Sites and to explore two of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities ... Paris and Amsterdam. You’ll stay at quality hotels throughout, selected for their great location and service. And you’ll be part of a typically all-Canadian group. Read what past travelers have said about our trips.
Join us for an unforgettable, life-changing journey through France, Belgium and Holland.
Vimy Ridge, France. Every Canadian ought to visit once.
Day 1 Sunday April 22 Depart from Canada for your overnight transatlantic flight to Paris, except for those who may choose to leave for Paris sooner to extend their trip. Where available, guests will enjoy the luxury of a premium airport departure lounge.
Day 2 Monday April 23 Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport we will proceed to downtown Paris where a local guide will come on-board our coach for a sight-seeing drive of the city. The day includes a Welcome Lunch/Dinner in the city and a cruise of the River Seine. Upon arrival your hotel room is available for immediate check-in, providing the opportunity for rest for those who wish it. Overnight - Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel.
Day 4 Wednesday April 25 This morning we depart for the Normandy coast where we will consider pre- D-Day, looking at the 'Atlantic Wall' defenses facing the Allies in the coming invasion. We visit Pegasus Bridge and the Memorial Pegasus Museum where you will learn the story of the pre-dawn paratrooper landings in the region by the British 6th Airborne and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. We make a must-see visit to the first house liberated on D-Day, the Café Gondrée, a special place filled with history and charm. We enjoy lunch with wine at a local brasserie (advanced menu selection). Our final stop is Longues-sur-Mer, a coastal artillery position of four large naval guns which posed a serious threat to Allied ships off-shore and the landing beaches themselves. We then make our way to the medieval town of Bayeux for the first of three nights' stay, winding down in the hotel where we gather to chat about the day and raise a toast. Overnight - Novotel Bayeux. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 6 Friday April 27 Day Six takes us to points west where we explore 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 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. Next up is one of two American landing sectors code named Omaha Beach, made famous by the opening twenty minutes of the Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan. Here the Americans suffered heavy losses, as illustrated by some time of reflection at the Colleville-sur-Mer American War Cemetery which serenely overlooks the Normandy shore below. We move west to Pointe-du-Hoc where the United States Army Rangers scaled 100' cliffs to secure the position. We close out the day with a short drive in-land to La Cambe German Cemetery and an opportunity to respectfully consider the losses of the other side. More than 21,000 German soldiers lie here, some having not quite reached their eighteenth birthday. Overnight - Novotel Bayeux. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 7 Saturday April 28 Today is a scheduled free half day, allowing you time to explore the local village of Bayeux. 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. In the afternoon we visit l'Abbaye d'Ardennes near Caen, and then say goodbye to Normandy and continue our journey northeast along the coast to Dieppe for the night. Overnight - Hôtel Mercure Dieppe La Présidence. Breakfast.
Day 8 Sunday April 29 We begin the day with a morning stroll along the main beach to consider Operation Jubilee - the plans, the execution and the after-math of the August 1942 raid that went horribly wrong. The raid entailed three Canadian attack zones and we next move northeast to the beach at Puys, followed by a visit to Pourville to the southwest. Our final stop is the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, tucked away up the hill and beyond the edge of town which beckons Canadians to visit. Listen here to CBC's Robert Bowman and his broadcast from Dieppe the day after the raid. We then depart the coast and resume our journey into northern France as we move back in time to World War I, spending the night in the historic city of Amiens. Overnight - Mercure Cathedrale Hotel Amiens. Breakfast.
Day 9 Monday April 30 Day Nine is steeped in history as we wind our way into the countryside to consider the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest and bloodiest battles of World War One. You will be intrigued with a guided tour at Beaumont-Hamel - it is here that the Newfoundland Regiment was nearly wiped out in the first few hours of the attack. This proudly Canadian battleground is one of the best preserved sites in all the region. Next is a visit to see the impressive Thiepval Memorial, the largest British battle memorial in the world and on which are inscribed the names of over 72,000 soldiers who have no known grave. The day includes a visit to the Lochnagar Crater. Overnight - Holiday Inn Express Arras. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 10 Tuesday May 1 Each Canadian ought to visit Vimy Ridge once in their lifetime and today is your day. 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, one of 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. We then say au revoir to France and drive north across the border into Belgium, to the enchanting small town of Ieper (Ypres). At 8pm the Last Post Ceremony will take place at the Menin Gate, as it has every evening since 1928. Selected travelers will be invited to lay a wreath on behalf of the tour in honour of the centenary of the end of WWI. Overnight - Novotel Ieper Centrum. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 11 Wednesday May 2 Ieper (Ypres) was the center of fierce, prolonged, bloody fighting in World War I and the remnants of this are all around. We pass Hellfire Corner on our way to the monument at Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood). Our day includes The Brooding Soldier at St. Julien. We will visit Essex Farm ... it is here, in the province of West Flanders, that Canadian LtCol John McCrae penned his famous poem In Flanders Fields (the following day, May 3, will be the 103rd anniversary of its composition). We also visit the monument to the Battle of Passchendaele and nearby Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world. We return to Ieper for free time in the afternoon. Overnight - Novotel Ieper Centrum. Breakfast.
Day 12 Thursday May 3 This morning we say goodbye to Belgium and our journey takes us across the border into the Netherlands, heading northeast just as the Canadian Army did in 1944. We pay a visit to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, one of the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries in Holland and the resting place of a recipient of the Victoria Cross. Here are buried many of the young men who fell in the Rhineland battles as the Allies moved across the border into Germany. Overnight - Best Western Hotel Haarhuis. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 13 Friday May 4 Our day begins with a highlight event, the annual Remembrance Service at Holten Canadian War Cemetery. We see how the local school children are made central to the event, which features pipes & drums, members of the Royal Canadian Legion Europe, dignitaries, and more. Our next stop is the tiny village of Rha where we learn of the efforts of the Queen's Own Rifles to liberate the local residents. We then travel to the coast for the evening. Overnight - Hampshire Hotel Delft. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 14 Saturday May 5 The battlefield portion of the tour is over but our vacation is not! After exploring the charming town of Delft in the morning we travel north to the Dutch coast for our Farewell lunch. We then carry onward to Amsterdam for the afternoon and evening. Overnight - Wyndham Apollo Hotel Amsterdam. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 16 Monday May 7 Morning departure via Schiphol Airport for those returning home, while others may extend their stay at their option. Box breakfast.
Note: This itinerary is tentative, with minor changes possible prior to departure. Clients should keep in mind that minor variances are always possible during the actual tour based on the need to adapt to circumstances we encounter during our travels.
PRICING $5750CAD Land Only, based on Double Occupancy $1550 CAD Single Supplement
14 nights accommodation in twin-bedded rooms with private facilities
Guests on the group flight (info TBA) will enjoy gathering at a premium departure lounge (where available) ... an exclusive benefit not offered by other battlefield tours
Upon arrival in Paris in the early morning your hotel room is reserved for you and available for immediate early check-in should you wish to take some rest after your flight ... an exclusive benefit not offered by other battlefield tours
Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and on-board facilities
Buffet breakfast (cold and/or hot) at the hotel each morning, plus select lunches/dinners as outlined in the itinerary
All hotel service charges, local taxes, baggage handling (one bag per person) are included
Gratuities to Coach Driver, On-Board Agent and Local Guides are included! ... these costs are extra on most other tours and can add up to $150 CAD or more per person at the end of your trip, requiring an awkward search for a bank machine in the final days of your vacation ... we eliminate this. Be sure to compare!
Group pick-up from Charles de Gaulle Airport on April 23, 2018 and return group transfer to Schiphol airport on May 7, 2018 (individual transfers are the responsibility of the client)
PRICING DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Airfare - optional group booking: 22Apr18 Air France AF351 Toronto-Paris dep 1820 arr 0750 07May18 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL691 Amsterdam-Toronto dep 0945 arr 1140 $993 which includes estimated departure taxes
Meals other than stated on the itinerary
Travel / Cancellation / Medical Insurance
Passport & related fees
Any optional excursion not specifically stated
Items of a personal nature
Prices are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, to be confirmed at time of final payment
Hotels have been pre-booked but are subject to change
This tour requires a minimum of 20 passengers
$500 Non-Refundable Deposit due with booking.
Balance of Payment due on or before December 15, 2017. All deposits and payments are non-refundable.