The Western Front Small-Group Explorer Tour will walk in the footsteps of the Anzacs on all the main battlefield sites in the Somme, Flanders and the Ypres Salient over 4 days. The itinerary has been personally designed by Mat McLachlan, Australia's leading battlefield historian, and the expert historians who escort this tour have been hand-picked by Mat.Either begin your tour in Paris or join the tour in Lille.
Day 1 - Paris to Ypres Meet at the Holiday Inn Express – Canal De La Villette Hotel in Paris for a 9.00am departure. We drive to Ypres, Belgium. In the evening we will enjoy a walking tour with our Historian around the rebuilt town, before coming together for a welcome dinner. (Passengers joining the tour in Lille will be collected from our meeting point at the Lille Eurostar station at midday en-route to Ypres.) (D) Day 2 - The Ypres Salient Today we will explore the Australian battlefields in the Salient, places where the Anzacs made history in 1917. Our first stop will be the Passchendaele Museum. We will then visit the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood. Lunch is included at a local café. We then visit Hill 60, before visiting Tyne Cot, the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery. Our final stop today is at the German Cemetery at Langemark. On return to our hotel we see the magnificent Canadian memorial at Langemark. This evening visit the Menin Gate where the names of 54,000 missing British and Commonwealth soldiers are recorded, for the moving Last Post ceremony. (B, L) Day 3 - Ypres to the SommeWe will travel to French Flanders, and the moving 1916 battlefield of Fromelles, where Australia lost 5533 men during its first action on the Western Front. While here we visit the Australian Memorial Park, VC Corner Cemetery, the site of the Australian mass grave at Pheasant Wood and the Fromelles Cemetery, where 250 Australian and British soldiers were laid to rest in 2010. We will also visit the Fromelles Museum. Next is the battlefield of Bullecourt, where Australia lost 10,000 men in two great battles in 1917. We will pay our respects to them at the Slouch Hat memorial in the centre of town and the Australian Memorial Park on the site of the German front line. In the afternoon we will visit Pozieres, scene of the most costly battle in Australia’s history. We will then see Mouquet Farm, where the Australians fought a bitter campaign against the Germans in August 1916. Our final stop is the imposing Thiepval Memorial, which commemorates 70,000 British soldiers missing from the Somme fighting. A packed picnic lunch is included. (B, L) Day 4 - The Somme to Paris Today we will explore the Somme. Our first visit is to Adelaide Cemetery and then see the Victoria School in Villers Bretonneux. We will also visit the excellent Franco-Australian Museum. We then travel to the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, where the names of almost 11,000 Australians missing in France are recorded and the Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre. Our next stop is the Australian Memorial Park at Hamel, scene of a great Australian victory orchestrated by General John Monash on July 4, 1918. We then drive back to Paris, arriving at the Holiday Inn Express – Canal De La Villette Hotel at approximately 5pm. (B)