2017 ANZAC DAY VILLERS-BRETONNEUX DAY TOUR ex PARIS
Whilst the Dawn Service at Gallipoli is famous the world over with both Australians and New Zealanders as the most revered of the overseas Anzac Day ceremonies, the ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux, first initiated in 1998 has rapidly gained ground as "the" ceremony to attend if you are in Europe or the UK. On 25 April 2017, it is the 99th anniversary of the Second battle of Villers-Bretonneux. Join us for this very special event.
For 2017 we are operating a SPECIAL RETURN DAY TOUR from Paris to Villers-Bretonneux in France for the Australian Anzac Day Dawn Service. Villers-Bretonneux is famous as the area where the Germans nearly broke through the Allied defences during the German spring offensive of 1918. The German High Command worked out that if they captured Amiens, then push quickly to the coast they would split the Allied Forces in two and win the war – or at least sue for peace on their terms. Their first major offensive had actually reached to within ten miles of Amiens, before being stopped in the first battle of Villers-Bretonneux.
Brigadier General Grogan VC,who saw the attack on Villers-Bretonneux, described the successful counter attack by night at short notice across unknown and difficult ground as "perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war". The Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Foch, referred to the "altogether astonishing valiance" (valour) of the Australians.
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Date: Tuesday 25th April 2017
Tour Code: VB171DPAR
Price Per Person: Euro €378.00 (Approx A$525.00) (Payment in €)
Full payment due 28 January 2017
IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATE: 02 February 2017
Revised Security Arrangements France & Belgium: Pre-Registration is now MANDATORY!
We have just received new advice from the Australian DVA (Dept of Veteran Affairs) regarding revised French security arrangements for all future official DVA Australian Remembrance events for WW1 in France and Belgium.
These security arrangements are ONLY for official DVA events: Anzac Day Villers-Bretonneux 2017 (25 April), Bullecourt Centenary 2017 (25 April), Polygon Wood Centenary 2017 (26 September), Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day Centenary 2018, (25 April) Le Hamel Centenary 2018 (4 July) and the 2018 Armistice Centenary ceremony (11/11) Further details:
Dawn Service Villers-Bretonneux 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
Powerpoint Briefing: 2017/2018 Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day/Polygon Wood/Le Hamel (Maps)
Please NOTE that you MUST register DIRECTLY with DVA for SECURITY CLEARANCE if you are attending ANY of these events. Registration for 2017 Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt Anzac Day is now open for registration HERE:
(** Note 2 Feb 2017: (Updated 20 February) Due to major changes to security for 25th April this itinerary has now changed. The major change to the itinerary is the omission of visiting Bullecourt due to time constraints on our travelling time to Fromelles imposed by new security arrangements.
Brochure route Map & Distances for the 2017 Day Anzac Day Villers-Bretonneux Tour from Paris.
2330 (11.30pm) (24 April 2017) Assemble at Gare du Nord coach park (Rue de Maubeuge) outside the Mercure Gare de Nord hotel. (Across the road from Gard du Nord Railway station)
2400 (Midnight) Coach departs from Gare du Nord coach Park.
0200 (2am) (25 April 2017) Arrive Glisy for security parking. Here you will disembark and undergo a security search before boarding your shuttle bus transfer to Villers-Bretonneux AWM. Please have your passport with you for photo ID. Allowing for security screening for all passengers using the shuttle coaches we plan to arrive at the AWM at VIllers-Bretonneux at 0300-0330 (3-30) am.
DVA Release for Dawn Service Villers-Bretonneux 2017
The Official Anzac Day Dawn Service - Australian National Memorial
Entrance to the site is via the promenade at the front of the memorial, and you will walk 300 metres uphill through the cemetery to the memorial site. The surface is grass and may be slippery if damp. Safety lighting will be installed at the entrance and through the cemetery, but you may wish to bring a torch to assist with visibility.
Temporary seating is installed at the site. Seating will be made available for only 4000 people so we suggest seats are taken shortly after arrival. Reserved seating is only available for official delegates and for visitors with limited mobility (please advise us if you have limited mobility as space is limited and must be requested in advance - we cannot guarantee seats). If seating is full, there will be standing room on the grassed areas to the side and rear of the seats.
0200 (2am) Pre-Service program starts at 2.00 am. Commemorative program to explore the Australian experience of WW1. (This is earlier than previous years.)
0430 am: (4.30am) Be seated for start of service at 0530 (5.30 am). This is earlier than previous years
5:30 am: Dawn Service commences
Should you have relatives buried here please advise your guide so he can locate them or consult the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website at www.cwgc.org
After the Service: Finish at 0730 am. Please join other group members on the promenade area ready for pickup between 0800-0900.
What about the weather?
The weather in the Somme region in April can be extremely cold (close to freezing). The Australian National Memorial site is exposed to the elements and is normally very cold before and after dawn. You should ensure you are appropriately equipped for cold, wet, and windy weather, and take appropriate clothing with you when you disembark from the coach. The ground surface of the National Memorial is grass, so warm socks and waterproof shoes should be worn.* Included in your Tour inclusions are a waterproof raincoat/poncho that also doubles as reflective heat blanket and a foldable travel blanket/pillow.
What should I take with me?
● You will receive in your tour inclusions a commemorative backpack as a small bag is quite useful
● Wet weather jacket
● Warm, layered, thermal clothing, jacket, hat or cap, gloves, scarf (*You also will recieve a thermal (*Thinsulate) wool beanie from us as part of your tour).
● Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes
● Lighter clothing for later during the day
● Drinking water and snack (water will be available from your coach driver for a small fee)
As detailed, there will be an excellent commemorative souvenir pack for everyone travelling on the tour including your ANZAC commemorative tour booklet.
What facilities are available during the Dawn Service?
● Temporary toilets, including disabled toilets, and hand washing facilities
● First Aid Services
● Rubbish bins
● Bottled Water
After the Ceremony
0900 (Approx) Depart from AWM at Villers Bretonneux & return to Glisy parking & return to tour coach.
1000 Full breakfast at delightful Le Moulin des Ecrevisses restaurant
1130 Depart restaurant.
1200 Pozieres Windmill Memorial & 1st Australian Memorial.
1230 (** We regret we cannot now include Bullecourt as the new security and screening arrangements we have just been advised of will take up at least an hour to 1 hour 30 - for what was only previously (before we were advised of the new arrangements) to be a short 15 minute visit. We believe that this revised itinerary arrangement will give us more leisure time and a more balanced day for our lunch in Arras and our trip north to Fromelles, one of the most important and significant battles on the Western Front for Australians. At Fromelles we will walk the battlefield and visit the 'Cobbers' statue, VC Corner and Pheasants Wood cemetery.)
1300 Lunch in Arras
1430 Depart Arras
1530 Arrive Fromelles: Visit *Museum (*time permitting), Pheasant Wood Cemetery, VC Corner & 'Cobbers' Memorial
1700-1715 Depart for Paris with (2030 8.30pm) approximate arrival time at Paris Gare du Nord station.
* Please note all timings are approximate and that the itinerary is subject to change at all times due to reasons beyond our control. Also, we cannot guarantee the return arrival time in Paris that evening/night so we recommend that you do not make travel plans for that evening.
Note: Due to distances & timings we cannot include the Franco Australien Museum/Victoria School (Villers Bretonneux)
Services of an EXPERT *highly qualified Battlefield Guide & Historian (*Guild of Battlefield Guides) for the duration of tour with specific knowledge on Australian battles in France & Belgium in WW1
The tour uses the same luxury coach throughout the tour with the services of two experienced
*Full HOT breakfast
Attendance at Anzac Day ceremony Villers-Bretonneux
Commemorative high quality Anzac Day gifts:
High quality full colour souvenir book of the tour
Combined Travel Blanket/Pillow
Western Front Maps (Incl in book)
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE
Meals and snacks as not included as above
Museum fees (if applicable) unless specified as above
Items of a personal nature
Please Note: Hand Luggage only: We cannot take large suitcases on this day tour.
NO child rate applies & infants cannot be taken on this tour. Minimum age 12 years
Please CONTACT US to book or if you require more information regarding this tour to this moving and wonderful ceremony. Space is strictly limited on the tour and at the ceremony.