News Update 01 July 2017: Armistice Day at Villers-Bretonneux 11/11/2018
Registration is now open with the DVA and is already very popular
Registration for Armistice Day (Remembrance Day) 11/11/2018 at Villers-Bretonneux is now open and in high demand already. With an attendance cap of approximately 8000 people in total being able to attend the 2018 Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) Centenary ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Centenary service due to security constraints, this, along with the Anzac Day Centenary battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 2018 will be probably one of the most "in demand" ceremonies of all the Western Front centenary events.
If you wish to to attend this 'once in a lifetime' Armistice Day ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux you MUST register NOW at DVA to attend the ceremony. No registration - No entry!
The new Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre Villers-Bretonneux: Opening Anzac Day 2018
(* Please note we intend to visit this facility the day before the Armistice Day event, however until it is open we cannot g/tee this.)
(* Scroll down for 'Victory & Peace" Armistice Day Centenary Tour Itinerary and Prices)
Australia and World War 1
When The Great War came to an end in 1918 Australia was left to come to terms with a war which, on the Western Front alone, had cost Australia 48,000 dead (* including Gallipoli - over 60,000 dead) and over 156,000 wounded. Militarily, the ANZAC reputation stood sky-high at the end of the war and along with the Canadians, they were regarded as among the most elite fighting troops in the British Expeditionary Force – tough, battle hardened and ruthless, they were greatly feared by the Germans and grudgingly admired even by their nemesis - the British High Command.
On this 'once in a lifetime' "Victory & Peace" Armistice Day Centenary 5 NIGHT/6 DAY tour in France and Belgium we follow in their footsteps to the places where the Australian reputation was established as one of the finest fighting forces in WW1 on the Western Front. Along the way we shall hear tales of enormous courage, endurance and sacrifice that will both inspire and humble, culminating in participating in the very moving and forever remembered Armistice Day centenary ceremony at the Villers-Bretonneux Australian War Memorial.
At a Glance...
Your guide: A certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide
Dates: Tuesday 6 November - Sunday 11 November 2018 2017
Duration: 5 Nights/6 Days
Starts: Lille (France) Finishes: Arras/Lille (France)
Tour Code: AUA186DLILV
Tour Cost: (ESTIMATED) €1695.00 Per Person Share Twin/Double
Single Room Supplement: (ESTIMATED) €680.00
** Note 1. 01 May 2017: Due to major increased security measures now announced for Australian Centenary Events at Villers-Bretonneux, this itinerary *could be* subject to some further small operational changes. Details will be announced in due course in mid 2018.
** Note 2. 01 June 2017: Due to the triggering on March 29, 2017 of Article 50 by the UK to leave the EU and the negotiations for such to start in July 2017 - we are now experiencing further major currency fluctuations. Accordingly, we have increased our *estimated prices* for our tours in 2018 by 7% in line with these currency fluctuations.
Note: (*This estimated tour price has these increases included in this tour price*)
Day 1 - Tuesday 6 November 2018
Arrival Day for your Tour. Day/Evening at leisure after you arrive in Lille and check into your Lille Hotel.
Accommodation: 4 * Lille Hotel
Day 2 – Wednesday 7 November 2018
After breakfast (included) meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel with bags all packed at 8.15 am. (Note: Because it is early November our touring daylight hours are restricted so we must be prompt in getting away early in the mornings on our tour.)
8.45am. We start our tour with a short journey to the Ypres salient with visits to:
Messines Ridge – 3rd Australian Division attack, NZ Division attack.
Ploegsteert Visitor Centre (entry included)
Toronto Avenue Cemetery (The only all Australian cemetery in Belgium)
Hill 60 – Australian Tunnelling Company Memorial. 'Beneath Hill 60'
Menin Road & Polygon Wood – 5th (Australian) Division Memorial
Broodseinde NZ Div Memorial
Passchendaele Memorial Museum, Zonnebeke – entry included
Tyne Cot War Cemetery
Late afternoon/evening check in to our 3+* Ypres region hotel
Dinner at a local Ypres restaurant (included)
8.00 pm – This evening we experience the Menin Gate Ceremony. After the ceremony free to wander around this beautiful Flemish market town completely rebuilt after WW1.
Accommodation: 3+* Ypres area hotel
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3 – Thursday 8 November 2018
After an early breakfast and checkout we depart in our coach to the battlefield of Fromelles: 19-20 July 1916 where we visit:
The 1916 Fromelles battlefield
VC Corner Australian Cemetery
Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery (Fromelles)
Visit to the new Fromelles WW1 Museum (entry included)
We then travel onwards to the Somme region, stopping for lunch enroute. (included)
In the afternoon we visit:
Mouquet ("Moo-Cow") Farm
Pozieres – Windmill Memorial & Tank Memorial & 1st Division
Le Hamel (*time permitting)
The breathtaking Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial (*time permitting)
We then travel to our hotel near Bethune, the modern 3-4 star Best Western La Metarie, our accommodation for the next 3 nights. (Trip Advisor Reviews) Set alongside the breathtaking 14th century Chateau La Chartruese in the same expansive grounds, you have 4 restaurants and bars to chose from in absolutely magical setting.
Welcome group dinner tonight is in the La Distillerie restaurant.
Accommodation: Best Western La Metarie (Trip Advisor Reviews)
Meals: B L D
DAY 4 – Friday 9 November 2018
After breakfast we then depart for Bullecourt to visit the battlefield, the "Digger" and "Slouch Hat" Memorials and *Bullecourt War Museum (*entry included.) After lunch (included) we move on to Mont St Quentin to learn about the bitter battle in 1918 to see the inspiring Australian Memorial and travel to the St Quentin Canal area to visit:
Sites of the American & Australian attacks on the St Quentin Canal line
The mouth of the St Quentin Canal tunnel
Le Quesnoy. NZ Division's final fight of WW1 (Time permitting)
Return to our hotel for relaxed dinner in the hotel. Remainder of night free.
Accommodation: Best Western La Metarie (Trip Advisor Reviews)
Meals: B L
DAY 5 – Saturday 10 November 2018
After breakfast we leave the hotel with our first stop the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and learn about this famous small town that is now the centrepiece of the Australian presence on the Western Front in WW1. This morning we will also have a chance to wander around the memorial and visit the NEW $A100M 'Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre' (SJM Interpretive Centre) – the newly completed 'Jewel in the Crown' of the Australian Remembrance Trail.
We will also visIt the newly refurbished Musee Franco-Australien (museum) and the famous "Lâ€ Ecole Victoria" (Victoria School). After our visit we then travel to nearby Arras for lunch (not included) and wander this beautiful historic town - completely all but obliterated by German shelling in the war - and then completely rebuilt after the war to the exact details as it was pre-war. Our coach will leave Arras this afternoon at approx 2pm to travel back to our hotel. Remainder of afternoon free.)
Note: The brand new - and absolutely stunning - Lens Louvre Museum is just a short cab ride away from your hotel (25 klm - 20 minutes) in Lens if you wish to visit this in the afternoon. Tonight we have our farewell group dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Best Western La Metarie
Meals: B, D
DAY 6 – Remembrance Sunday 11 November 2018 (*Villers-Bretonneux AWM)
After an very early breakfast and checkout of our hotel (approx 7am) we retrace our steps back to the Villers-Bretonneux AWM. Today at 11am marks the day exactly 100 years ago when the guns on the Western Front finally fell silent and the 'war to end all wars' - was over. Over 60,000 young Australians paid the ultimate price in WW1, with 12,000 of them never found and over 200,000 wounded and maimed young men also testament to this terrible conflict. Today at 11 am we remember them - and all who fell in this war - and all wars and conflicts for which we enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted today.
Today will truly be a day carved forever into history - and for you to say - I WAS THERE...
Note: Security arrangements for today will have us first arriving with plenty of time for security processing and parking our tour coach at a major car/coach parking area at the Gant supermarket carpark in nearby Glisy. - where we will undergo airport type security screening before boarding our DVA coaches to Villers-Bretonneux, about a 15 minute coach ride from Villers-Bretonneux AWM. Once at Villers-Bretonneux we will disembark and take our positions for the service which will probably start around 10am with the major part of the service starting at 11am, - the exact minute the guns fell silent over 100 years ago.
Note: DVA Australia will not be releasing exact timings for the day/ceremony until probably early 2018, however we at Spirit were quite involved in this new security processing for the first time with Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in 2017, so we have first hand experience of how it works. The security screening is a testament to the planning by DVA, and the whole process is very quick and efficient, as is the coach transport shuttles to the AWM at Villers-Bretonneux.
Timings of our arrival at Glisy and departure won't be known exactly until we get the final information from DVA - hopefully early 2018. We anticipate arriving at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and cemetery around 9-30-10 am so we have time to give you an opportunity to experience the full commemorative programme for the ceremony. It is usually very cold in mid November at the memorial so be prepared and wear layered clothing as the day will change from extremely cold temperatures in the early morning to usually about 10-12 Celcius maximum in the afternoon.(You will have a Spirit rainproof poncho/thermal blanket in case it rains). Full details of the ceremony here:
After the Ceremony
1400 (2pm) Depart from AWM at Villers Bretonneux & return to Glisy parking & return to tour coach.
1430 (2.30pm) Extensive lunch with drinks at the delightful Le Moulin des Ecrevisses restaurant
1600 (4pm) Depart restaurant for another historic 'FIRST' for today - a visit to the beautiful Château de Bertangles outside Amiens. During World War I, the château was the Australian Forces Headquarters commanded by Australia's most famous General - Sir John Monash.
On August 12, 1918, Monash was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath at the chateau by King George V, the first time a British monarch had honoured a commander in such a way in 200 years. On the evening of Anzac Day April 24th 2016, The Governor General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove visited Bertangles to pay tribute to this amazing man and his men. It was here that Monash planned his defence of Amiens, his 92 minute battle masterpiece at Le Hamel and the tough tenacious fight that finally took Le Quesnoy - earning the Aussie lads 3 VCs. This a first - and NO other tour operator offers this amazing historic visit on their tours.
1830-1900 (6.30-7 pm) (approximate) Depart Château Bertangles for Arras and Lille.
2030 (8.30 pm) (approximate) Arrive Arras. Rest stop & break. (You can also leave the tour here.)
2100 (9 pm) Depart Arras (approximate)
2200 (10 pm) Arrive Lille. Tour Finishes.
* 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 exact return arrival time in Lille that evening/night so we recommend that you do not make travel plans for that evening.
(* Note: If required you can leave the tour at either Arras or Lille.)
Meals: B L
• Highly experienced and knowledgeable Military Historian/ Battlefield Guide throughout
• Executive standard coach used throughout the tour with toilet and *WIFI (*where available)
• 1 nights' 4* Star accommodation in Lille
• 1 nights' 3+* Star accommodation in Ypres area
• 3 nights' accommodation 3-4*: Best Western La Metarie
• Breakfast daily whilst on tour (5 Breakfasts)
• 4 lunches
• 3 dinners
• Museum entrance fees
• Ploegsteert visitor centre
• Passchendaele Museum, Zonnebeke
• Fromelles WW1 Museum
• Bullecourt War Museum
• Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre – Villers-Bretoneux Memorial
• Franco-Australian Museum (Memorial School), Villers-Bretonneux
• Visit to the beautiful Château de Bertangles: Sir John Monash HQ
• Special deluxe one-of-a-kind souvenir colour tour booklet
• High quality commemorative clothing: hat and backpack
• Rainproof poncho/travel blanket and commemorative name badges and lapel pin(s).
(Please note: the itinerary is subject to change at the total discretion of the guide or events before or during the tour that are - or could be beyond our control.)
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE
Lunches, dinners, refreshments and beverages not detailed above
Tips, porterage and all personal extras
Transport/Trains to and from start and end point
Travel/Cancellation / Medical Insurance
Passport & related fees
Any optional excursion(s not specifically stated
Items of a personal nature
TO BOOK: BOOKINGS (at 01 September 2017)
As we are still waiting on final information on security & other important operational issues including final prices from some French suppliers for our November 2018 Armistice Tours, we have decided NOT to take holding deposits for this tour at this stage.
Instead, we ask you to fill out the BOOKING FORM for the Armistice tour you wish to book and send to us as soon as possible. Please also note the Terms and Conditions of bookings for our 2018 Armistice Tours in the Booking Form. Once we confirm the tour price (Oct/Nov 2017) we will require you to pay a deposit of *€400 per person (extended multi day tours) within 14 days of our advising you (of the confirmed tour price) - by email, text or telephone.
We further advise that we do not expect any increase on these estimated prices or if so, very minimal.
If we do not receive your deposit within 14 days of us advising you once we release the confirmed tour price - we will release your booking back into the general booking pool without any further communication with you. Please CONTACT US if you require more information regarding this tour to this moving and historic ceremony. Space is strictly limited on the tours and at the ceremony.
"N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Let us never forget Australia)