Still fresh in human memory, the battlefields of WW1 serve as important reminders of the needless brutality of war. These three tours from Lille are a handy way to reach them.
To the west of Lille, the main city in France’s Flanders region, there are scars that will never fully heal. Running roughly from Belgium in the north to the south and east, the trenches of World War I in this part of the country saw more intense fighting and protracted battles than anywhere else on the Western Front. The battles at Ypres, Messines, Arras, Cambrai and the Somme turned the fields red with blood. Today, these sites are poignant reminders of the senselessness of war of any kind.
Flanders battlefield private tour with lunch
Get picked up from your hotel in Lille to spend a full day visiting a broad array of memorial sites and historical landmarks. Stops on this private tour include the Australian Memorial Park in Fromelles, then into Belgium to see where Winston Churchill served, in Ploegsteert, where you’ll also have lunch at a local eatery. The day ends at Menin Gate, where you’ll attend the daily Last Post remembrance service. Please note that a minimum of two people is required for this tour to run. From €230 per person.
Canadian WW1 Vimy and Somme battlefield tour
The battlefield sites around Lille saw nationals from many different countries fight and die for their countries. The result is a series of tours dedicated to visiting the places where platoons from particular nations were posted. In the case of this nine-hour tour you’ll tread the footsteps of Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge, where they bravely fought the German army. You’ll also be able to visit Canadian Cemetery No. 2, among other memorial sites. From €295 per person.
Australian battlefield guided tour of Flanders
If you’re keen to see the sites where Australian troops were posted and fought, as well as V.C. Corner, the only exclusively Australian WW1 cemetery on the Western Front, choose this tour. You’ll also visit the New Zealand Memorial, the Irish Tower in Messines, and explore the battlefields around Ypres, where you can see the expert work of Australian tunnellers at Hill 60. Lunch is provided on this 12-hour tour. From €295 per person.