AUSTRALIANS IN FRANCE & BELGIUM IN THE GREAT WAR:
... 2018: THE FINAL CHAPTER OF THE 'WAR TO END ALL WARS'...
2018 ARMISTICE DAY (11/11/1918) CENTENARY 12 DAY / 11 NIGHT
"CRUISE & CHAMPAGNE DELUXE VIP TOUR"
New! If you are considering taking one of our Multi Day Armistice Day 2018 tours ('Victory & Peace' Tour & 'Armistice Signed' Deluxe Tour) we recommend that you also consider this very special small deluxe VIP tour including a luxury river cruise (Paris-Paris), and using unique special boutique accommodation throughout - culminating in the extremely historic Armistice ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux at 11am on 11/11/2018 - when the guns forever fell silent on the Western Front.
Note: We can also book the CRUISE ONLY segment if required for this cruise. Space however is VERY LIMITED. Contact us for more information.
At a Glance...
Your Battlefield Guide: A certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide (Not included on cruise)
Dates: Thursday 1 November - Sunday 11 November 2018
Duration: 11 Nights/12 Days
Starts: Paris (France) Finishes: Arras/Lille (France)
Tour Code: AUA1812DLILP
Tour Cost: ** Please note that we cannot price this tour as it is dependant on the cabin type on the cruise and the room type/configuration your require for the 2 accommodation venues we are using for the tour. Please email us with your request for both your cabin type and room type/choice and we will provide you with a FIRM price quote.
Single Room Supplement: On request
Select your Cruise Cabin Type here:
The tour includes an 8 day Paris-Paris river cruise (01 November - 08 November 2018) aboard the beautiful 'Amadeus Diamond' cruise ship and an overnight stay in the heart of one of the most famous regions in the world - the French Champagne District.
Day 1: 1 November: Arrive at cruise ship during day. Depart Paris 8 pm
Day 2-7: 7 November: (Itinerary Link) Cruising
Day 8: 8 November: Depart cruise after 8am breakfast. Board coach for Champagne district
From here you will travel by coach to the centre of the Champagne district surrounding Reims for a wonderful day of visiting/champagne tasting at many of the legendary French Champagne houses including the very beautiful boutique Ployez Jacquemart Champagne House. We will also take a quick tour of the breathtaking Reims cathedral - heavily damaged in WW1 and now fully restored.
Accommodation tonight will be 4* boutique accommodation in this area.
Accommodation: Accommodation: Reims area: *tentative: Ployez Jacquemart
Meals: B L
Day 9: 9 November: Depart early today to start our WW1 Battlefield Tour. 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)
The breathtaking Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial (*time permitting)
We then travel 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)
We then retrace our steps to Arras and our accommodation in Arras for the next 3 nights - the beautiful and elegant "La Corne d'Or ", an elegant 18th century mansion built on the foundations and immense cellars of a previous 13th century townhouse. It has since been renovated meticulously over the past few years and is now a lovely stylish 'boutique hotel' with an excellent reputation. Dinner tonight is not included - allowing you to sample one of the many amazing restaurants in Arras.
Accommodation: La Corne d'Or Trip Advisor Reviews:
Meals: B L
Day 10: 10 November
After breakfast we leave Arras with our first stop the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and learn about this famous small town that is the 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 to Villers-Bretonneux we then travel to 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 and see the inspiring Australian Memorial. We then travel onto 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 your accommodation in Arras. *Dinner in Arras. (*Not included) Remainder of night free.
Accommodation: La Corne d'Or Trip Advisor Reviews:
Meals: B L
DAY 11 – Remembrance Sunday 11 November 2018 (*Villers-Bretonneux AWM)
After a very early breakfast 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.
2030 (8.30 pm) (approximate) Arrive Arras. Evening free for farewell dinner (not included)
Accommodation: La Corne d'Or Trip Advisor Reviews:
Meals: B L
Day 12: Monday 12 November 2018
Tour finishes after breakfast.
* 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 Arras/Lille that evening/night so we recommend that you do not make travel plans for that evening.
If you wish to to attend this 'once in a lifetime' day tour to the 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 - at this stage - we are still awaiting confirmation we can visit this centre on 10 November 2018 as the centre is not open to take bookings until September 2018. We will advise in due course when we have confirmation of this .
** 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 expecting some further currency changes in the further weakening of the UK £ - with the strengthening of the AUD to the £ (UK Pound) and € (Euro). Accordingly, we have increased our *estimated prices* for our tours in 2018 by 7% in line with the AUD currency strengthening by approximately 7% against the Euro since May 2016.
Note: (*This estimated tour price has these increases included in this tour price*)
• Services of an EXPERT *highly qualified Battlefield Guide & Historian (*Guild of Battlefield Guides) for the duration of tour (*not on cruise) with specific knowledge on Australian WW1 battles
• The tour uses the same small luxury coach throughout the tour with an experienced coach driver
• *Cruise component (Cruise cabin(s) as you have selected - and we have priced your request upon)
• All accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
• All meals as detailed in the itinerary
• *Small breakfast pack (11 November)
• *Extensive Lunch 11 November (with drinks)
• Attendance at Armistice Day Centenary ceremony Villers-Bretonneux
• Visit to the beautiful Château de Bertangles: Sir John Monash HQ
• Commemorative high quality Armistice Day Anzac Day gifts:
• High quality full colour souvenir book of the tour
• Combined Travel Blanket/Pillow
• Thinsulate® Beanie
• Baggage Tags
• 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
TO BOOK: BOOKINGS (at 01 September 2017)
Due to 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 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) (plus payment prior to this of any cruise deposit) within 14 days of us advising you (of the confirmed tour price) - by email, text or telephone.
We further advise that we do not expect any increase on our 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 tour and at the ceremony.