Paris – Rouen – Caen – Juno Beach – Landing Beaches – Honfleur – Dieppe – Beaumont-Hamel – Vimy – Ypres – Scheldt Estuary – Bergen op Zoom – Arnhem – Katwijk – Otterlo – Groesbeek – Reichswald – Apeldoorn – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
April 26 – May 11, 2021 (16 days)
✔ See most of the great historical locations of two world wars, and follow in the footsteps of our Canadian veterans
through Normandy, Belgium and Holland, accompanied by a military historian.
✔ Celebrate the much-anticipated 75+1 anniversary of VE Day, one of the most historic moments of our time, in Holland.
✔ Visit the war cemeteries of Bény-sur-Mer, Bretteville-sur-Laize, Dieppe, Tyne Cot, Adegem, Bergen op Zoom, Otterlo, Groesbeek and Reichswald.
✔ Explore the beautiful cities of Rouen, Caen, Honfleur, Dieppe, Ypres, Arnhem, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and discover the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, one of the largest flower gardens in the world.
Depart for France.
After arrival in Paris, transfer to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure to rest or explore the city.
Paris rooftops © Sarah Sergent, Paris Tourist Office
Depart the French capital and proceed to Rouen, city of Jeanne d’Arc, famous for its half-timbered houses.
Time for lunch before continuing to the coast. Stop at Pegasus Bridge prior to your arrival in Caen. (B,D)
Houses in Rouen © Rouen Normandie Tourisme & Congrès
Visit Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. In Courseulles-surMer, discover the Juno Beach Centre, a permanent memorial to all Canadians who served during WWI.
This afternoon travel along Normandy's landing beaches where parts of the Mulberry Harbour are still visible. (B,D)
Canadian landings at Juno Beach on June 6, 1944 - Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada
This morning explore the impressive Caen Memorial Museum, Normandy’s greatest museum, also known as the Centre for History and Peace. Lunch at leisure in Caen.
Embark on a tour of the surrounding areas of Audrieu, Putot-en-Bessin and past Carpiquet Airfield, stopping at the Ardenne Abbey. (B,D)
L’Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Caen © CDT Calvados, Atout France
Drive to Verrières Ridge on your way to Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. Drive down the Falaise Gap to Falaise, birth place of William the Conqueror.
Begin your return journey via Trun and St. Lambert-sur-Dive, where Major Currie earned the Victoria Cross. (B,D)
Major David V. Currie, third from left with pistol in hand, oversees a German surrender at St. Lambert on August 19, 1944 - Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada
Visit the picturesque seaside resort of Honfleur, from where Samuel de Champlain set sail for the New World.
In the afternoon continue on to Dieppe; visit the Canadian War Cemetery, the memorial at Pourville which marks the losses of the South Saskatchewan Regiment and Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, as well as the small but meaningful museum run by the Jubilee Association. (B,D)
Honfleur © E. Ursule, CRT Normandie
After a brief stop at Puys, proceed to the infamous WWI sites of the Somme. Start with Beaumont-Hamel and continue to Canada’s magnificent National Historic site on Hill 70 at Vimy; visit its tunnels and learn about the battle that took place in April 1917 and is such an important milestone in Canada’s history at the visitor centre.
End the day in Ypres, Belgium. If possible, take part in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate this evening. (B,D)
37th Division, 111th Brigade in Beaumont-Hamel, 1916
This morning explore the Passchendaele Museum, a worthy introduction to the war that engulfed the area for so many years. Travel through this hotly contested region which suffered WWI’s first gas attacks. Visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world, with 11,965 graves and a further 33,783 commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing. Stop at the St. Julien Canadian Monument with Vancouver Corner and the Canadian Cemetery at Adegem. Proceed northeast into the Scheldt Estuary, which was partly flooded during the war. Tracing the route of the Canadian Second Division back toward Arnhem, travel via the Leopold Canal on to Holland and see Breskens, Terneuzen, Middelburg and Bergen op Zoom. End the day in Arnhem, your home base for the next week. (B,D)
Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele © Zeisterre
Today join the locals in Katwijk, a seaside town at the mouth of the Rhine which once marked the northern border of the Roman empire. There will be a parade and wonderful local festivities as you celebrate their liberation in 1945. Return to Arnhem for dinner. (B,D)
Liberation of Holland © VND
Today visit the nearby Airborne Museum, dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem. Time at leisure to explore Arnhem, location of the famous John Frost Bridge of the movie A Bridge Too Far.
In the afternoon take a drive to the nearby village of Otterlo. (B,D)
Visit the Canadian cemetery at Groesbeek before driving to Germany. Explore Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, the largest WWII Commonwealth Cemetery. On your return journey, cross the Rhine at Rees-Bienen, where the Nova Scotia Highlanders of the 3rd Canadian Division crossed in April 1945. Dinner in Arnhem. (B,D)
Full day excursion to Amsterdam. On arrival, embark on a canal cruise.
Afternoon at leisure to further explore the Dutch capital on your own. You may wish to visit the Van Gogh’s Museum, the Rijksmuseum or Anne Frank’s House. Late afternoon return to Arnhem. (B,D)
Today join the main parade in honour of the Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland in Apeldoorn. Thousands of people line the streets to pay tribute to returning veterans, reconfirming the special ties that connect Holland and Canada. (B,D)
Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland, Apeldoorn
Depart Arnhem and drive to Rotterdam. Enjoy a cruise of the largest seaport in Europe. See Rotterdam's impressive skyline with its imposing buildings glide by, and get a unique view of the harbour’s shipyards, docks and the hypermodern transshipping of thousands of containers.
This afternoon visit the famous Keukenhof Gardens and experience the full glory of tulip fields in bloom. Late afternoon arrival in the Amsterdam area. Join fellow travellers for a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Tulips, Keukenhof Gardens
Transfer to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your flight(s) home. (B)