Wednesday, November 6, to Wednesday, November 20, 2019
A 15-day tour of the Canadian battlefields in both World Wars, including Normandy's Landing Beaches; Vimy and Flanders Fields; the Battle of the Scheldt region of Belgium; the 'Bridge Too Far' area between Arnhem and Nijmegen, in the Netherlands; the Reichswald Forest and Rhine crossing town of Wesel in Germany; the Ardennes Forest and Luxembourg, associated with the Battle of the Bulge; and the WW I and II armistice sites in Compiègne and Reims. Remembrance Day commemoration in Flanders' Fields! Excellent hotels, regional cuisine, and historical presentations by your tour escort, Michael Quinn.
Evening departure from Toronto Pearson Airport to Paris. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Morning arrival at Paris CDG Aiport and transfer by private coach to Normandy. Lunch en route. Afternoon arrival in Honfleur, a charming little seaport situated on the Seine Estuary, associated with Samuel de Champlain who sailed from here in 1608 to found the city of Quebec and the colony of New France!Accommodation in the centrally located hotel Ibis Styles and dinner in a restaurant in the harbour area.
A full day of sightseeing in the Normandy landing beaches area, we focus on Juno Beach, the Canadian sector of the landing area, with sights such as Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, the town of Courseulles with the excellent Juno Beach Centre, and Bernières and its seaside memorial. We also visit the famous Pegasus Bridge, Arromanches with the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour, and the huge American War Cemetery at St. Laurent. Afternoon hotel return and evening at leisure.
Today’s programme includes Ardenne Abbey, where some Canadian POWs were executed by SS troops, Bretteville Canadian War Cemetery in the Falaise area, and a visit to Caen, the city of William the Conqueror, carefully rebuilt after being destroyed during the fighting in 1944. Afternoon return to Honfleur and free time to explore this picturesque town on your own.
After breakfast, departure for Dieppe, where Canadian troops landed in August 1942. Visits to both the Canadian Memorial (at the infamous beach) and nearby War Cemetery. On for a drive along the English Channel coast, with wonderful views of the “White Cliffs of Dover” (if weather permits) and a stop in Wimereux, just outside Boulogne, to visit the grave of John McRae, author of “In Flanders’ Fields.” We also view some installations of the German Atlantic Wall, including a “big gun” emplacement. Continuing via Calais and the entrance of the Chunnel, we reach Dunkirk, where we walk on the beach that witnessed the spectacular evacuation of British troops in 1940. Cross the Belgian border and pause near the little seaport of Nieuwpoort and the mouth of the Yser River, where in 1914-1918, the frontline ended with barbed wire stretched across the beach into the North Sea. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel Portinari in Bruges, arguably the best-preserved medieval town in all of Europe.
Today we attend the Remembrance Day Commemorations in the town of Ieper (Ypres), hub of Flanders Fields, with a moving ceremony at the Menin Gate, the great British and Commonwealth World War I Memorial. Group lunch in a traditional restaurant, followed by visits to the Church of St. George with its mementoes of the Great War and to the excellent War Museum in the Cloth Hall, an impressive medieval building, destroyed during WW I but carefully rebuilt afterwards. Return to Bruges in late afternoon.
This morning, guided walking tour of medieval Bruges, a city often referred to as the “Venice of the North”. Highlights will be the Market Square and its towering Belfry, the Gothic Town Hall, and the romantic Beguinage and Lake of Love. Afternoon free to shop or enjoy Bruges on your own.
We recommend a canal cruise, and/or a visit to one or more of the city’s fine museums and churches. This evening, optionaldinner of regional culinary specialties with traditional music.
A full-day exploration of the “’killing fields” of World War I in Northern France and Belgium. Sights and stops will include the Canadian Memorials at Vimy and Passchendaele; Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McRae composed his famous poem; the Brooding Soldier Monument, commemorating the men who fell during the first gas attack in 1915. Late afternoon hotel return and evening at leisure.
This morning after breakfast, we focus on the role of the Canadian Forces during the Battle of the Scheldt, fought in the Fall of 1944. We first explore the battle sites of Moerbrugge, Moerkerke, and the Leopold Canal, then join representatives of the Belgian-Canadian Association for a brief memorial serviceat the Canadian War Cemetery in Adegem. Lunch and visit to the nearby Canadian War Museum. In the afternoon we cross into Holland and head for the town of Wageningen, where on May 5, 1945, the German troops in the Netherlands capitulated to Canada's General Foulkes in the Hotel De Wereld, which happens to be our hotel for the next two nights! Dinner in the brasserie of this historic hotel.
This morning we visit the city of Arnhem and the nearby village of Oosterbeek, where British paratroopers tried to capture the bridge across the Rhine during Operation Market Garden in September 1944, theme of the blockbuster movie “A Bridge Too Far”. On to Nijmegen and the Canadian sector of the front during the winter of 1944-1945, with visits to the Canadian War Cemetery and the National Liberation Museum in the town of Groesbeek. Return to Wageningen and free evening.
Today we follow the footsteps of Canadian troops as they penetrated into Germany and crossed the Rhine in the spring of 1945, prior to swinging back to liberate the Netherlands. We pause at the British War Cemetery in the Reichswald Forest, then travel via Wesel, where British and Canadian troops crossed the Rhine, to the great city of Cologne. Visit to the city’s famous Gothic Cathedral, followed by free time to enjoy the old town. Overnight in the centrally located Hotel Mercure.
Today we return to Belgium, enter the Ardennes Forest, and visit the town of Bastogne with its impressive American monument to the Battle of the Bulge, fought in this area in late 1944. On to Luxembourg and its American Cemetery, with the grave of General Patton. Crossing into France, we arrive in late afternoon in Reims, the elegant capital of the Champagne wine country. Dinner and overnight in a centrally located 4-star hotel.
A busy morning, with visits to the modest schoolhouse that functioned as both General Eisenhower’s HQ and witnessed the German surrender on May 7, 1945; the magnificent Gothic Cathedral; and a visit and tasting at one the famous Champagne Houses, such as Piper-Heidsieck. Rest of the day at leisure.
Departure from Reims after breakfast. We motor to Rethondes, a hamlet in the Forest of Compiègne, and visit the site where the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, in the railway carriage that served as HQ of Allied Commander in Chief, Marshal Foch; it is also here that the French capitulated on June 22, 1940. After, a gourmet Au Revoir-lunch in a traditional country restaurant, we check into a hotel near Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Hotel shuttle transfer to CDG Airport and afternoon return flight to Toronto. Late lunch and snack will be served before arrival at Pearson International Airport in the late afternoon.
- Accommodation in a combination of comfortable four-star/first-class and three-star/superior tourist category hotels, based on double occupancy. - Meals: breakfast (usually buffet-style) daily and a total of seven full-course dinners or lunches. - Overland transportation via private coach. - Sightseeing, visits, and excursions as indicated in the itinerary, including admissions. - Hotel taxes and gratuities. - Pauwels staff member services.
- All expenses of a personal nature. - Meals other than those mentioned above. - Beverages (wine, beer, mineral water etc.) with dinners. - Coach driver’s gratuity, estimated at €25. - Travel insurance, available upon request.
June 06 - 16, 2019
$3,775.00 including return air from Toronto
June 13 - 14, 2019
$635 + HST based on sharing accommodation
August 05 - 20, 2019
$4,995 from Toronto