Day 1: Depart Canada for France
Depart from select Maritime cities (Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, Charlottetown) and meet your Tour Director and traveling companions at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. We will be taking an overnight flight to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
Day 2: Arrive in Paris, France
Upon arrival in Paris, you will be met by your local Canadian Battlefields Tour Guide and coach driver. As we make our way through the historic city you'll be given a chance for photo opportunities at the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. We overnight in Paris.
Day 3: Paris Touring
Today is a full day in Paris to explore Montmartre, Champs Elysee, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and Opera Garnier before our Welcome Dinner at Jardin Notre Dame overlooking the famous Gothic Cathedral as well as a Seine Cruise. You will also have a chance to visit the Musee du l'Armee at Invalides, a fascinating exhibition of the military and also an insight to the Liberation of Paris. Overnight in Paris.
Day 4: Paris to Bayeux
Today we travel towards the Normandy coast to visit the famous Pegasus Bridge. This important strategic position was assaulted by the British 6th Airborne Paratroopers with amazing precision in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. We will take time to view the glider landing zone and see the first house liberated in Europe, the Cafe Gondree. We will also visit Verrieres Ridhe and Hill 42 to understand the Canadian 2nd Division after taking Caen & we will follow the Canadian Advance before a visit to Abbaye des Ardennes where Kurt Meyers 12th SS executed 20 Canadian POW's. Overnight in Bayeux.
Day 5: Bayeux Area Touring
Today we will explore Bloody Omaha focusing on "Easy Red" ironically the worst sector and the site of the American cemetery and existing German bunkers. We will tour along the coast to the existing Battery at La Chaos before viewing Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches. Lunch will be at Juno Beach Centre and Juno Beach before visiting Bernieres sur Mer and onto the Canadian Cemetery of Beny sur Mer. Overnight in Bayeux.
Day 6: Bayeux to Amiens
This morning we travel to the seaside port of Dieppe. The picturesque beaches of Dieppe are also the scene of Canada's darkest day in WWII. On August 19 1942, 907 men died within a few hours. Operation Jubilee was an attempt to amphibiously land troops in occupied France in a rehearsal raid for D-Day. The catastrophe that unfolded is the main reason harsh controversy surrounding Dieppe still lingers today. We will explore all three landing zones, the cliffs, gun emplacements, and the many memorials to our Regiments that bravely fought here in a hopeless situation. We will also have a visit to the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery close by before traveling to Wimereux and the site of John MacRae's resting place. Overnight in Amiens.
Day 7: Amiens Area Touring
The morning our visit will include Lochnager Crater, the preserved battlefield of Beaumont-Hamel, the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme, the Courcelette Memorial and the Trench Museum in the famous town of Albert. After lunch we will visit the Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada. On April 9th 1917, Canada's volunteer army fighting together for the first time accomplished what no other army had previously; taken Hill 145 and the surrounding areas from the Germans. We will tour the restored trenches, go underground into the tunnels and view Walter Allward's masterpiece monument, our World War one National Monument. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge which makes our visit even more symbolic. Overnight in Amiens.
Day 8: Amiens, France to Ieper, Belgium
This morning we make our way to Ieper with a visit to Talbot House in Poperinghe and upon arrival we will visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, restored after the 100th First World War Anniversary and a fascinating venue. You will have the chance to explore Ypres - Wipers to the Tommy's - during the afternoon with visits to St. Georges Chapel. A walk along the ramparts and after dinner tonight, we attend the Last Post Menin Gate Ceremony which is held every night at 8PM. Overnight in Ieper.
Day 9: Ieper Area Touring
Today we will be exploring into Belgium and the Ieper Salient where so many ferocious battles were fought. Our first stop is Essex Farm where John MacRae wrote the now world famous poem "In Flanders Fields." Afterwards we shall stop at the sombre German cemetery of Langemark. Once visited by Hitler himself, it is the final resting place of over 44,000 individuals. We will see The Brooding Soldier Monument at St. Julian, the location in which Canadians suffered through the first gas attacks of the war. We will also tour the area surrounding the horrific battle of Passchendaele and discuss the appalling conditions men were told to fight in. It was a battle that cost Canada 16,000 causalities in 25 days. Our day will finish with a stop at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. It was first used in 1917 to bury those recently killed in the fighting and quickly swelled in size. Many of Passchendaele's victims lie peacefully forever here. Overnight in Ieper.
Day 10: Ieper, Belgium to Arnhem, Netherlands
We depart early and make our way to the Netherlands. This country's grateful population shares a very close bond to Canada due to our sacrifices in liberating them from German occupation during WWII. Near the 2000-year-old city of Nijmegen we will visit the Canadian War Cemetery of Groesbeek. The cemetery contains the graves of over 2,300 men who died fighting around the area. It is also the final resting place of 23 year old Victoria Cross recipient Sgt. Aubrey Cosens. Much focus will be placed on Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history that took place in Holland. We will visit the Hartenstein Hotel which was used by the British 1st Airborne as a headquarters for 9 days in September of 1944, now it stands as a museum dedicated to Market Garden. Nearby we will view Oosterbeek War Cemetery, also known as the Paratrooper Cemetery due to the high amount buried here from the fighting. Close to Arnhem, we will visit the renamed John Frost Bridge in honor of the commander who fought against overwhelming odds to hold it in the battle. This famous landmark was featured in the 1977 film "A Bridge Too Far" by Richard Attenborough. Overnight in Arnhem.
Day 11: Arnhem to Amsterdam
Travel onto Amsterdam and enjoy a tour of the city including Dam Square, Rembrandtsplein, Anne Frank House, and a canal tour before our farewell dinner in the centre. Overnight in Amsterdam.
Day 12: Return to Canada
After breakfast, we collect our luggage and transfer to the airport. Say goodbye to our local guide as we return to Canada and our respective Maritime airports.