6.30am – Meet your English speaking driver guide in the lobby of your hotel and departure for Belleau Wood / Chateau Thierry ( 1h30 drive)
In 1918, the Valley of the Marne again became a battlefield, with Americans fighting at Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood. Château-Thierry was one of the first actions of the American Expeditionary Forces under Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing. The second battle marks the tide’s turning in favor of the Allies, but at great human cost. Visit the magnificent Château-Thierry American monument overlooking the Marne Valley: On one side of the monument are an engraved map and orientation table showing American military operations in the region and significant battle sites. After a picnic lunch, walk through the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, and learn the history of this evocative resting place. On the hillside above the cemetery sits the lovely Romanesque Belleau Chapel, its walls inscribed with the names of more than a thousand Americans whose remains were never recovered or identified. Nearby is a German military cemetery, which presents quite a contrast to the American memorials
10.30am – Departure for Verdun
12.30pm – Arrival in Verdun
300 days and 300 nights
There were 300 days and 300 nights of combat without a break, 300,000 dead and missing, 400,000 French and German wounded. The Battle of Verdun in 1916 was a frontal assault, the most murderous in history, between France and Germany. This struggle for annihilation, through an artillery duel without precedent, symbolises and summarises the whole war.
Through the authenticity and richness of its remains, the Battlefield of Verdun constitutes a heritage unique in the world. This vast area situated in the "Red Zone", proposed for UNESCO listing, bears the striking scars of the bitter combats of 1916. It consists of a group of remarkable sites that allow the visitor to understand the stages of the development of national remembrance:
The remarkable sites
- battle sites (where men fought): PC Driant, the Douaumont and Vaux Forts on the right bank; Hill 304 and Le Mort-Homme on the left bank, etc. - cemetery sites (where men are buried): the National Necropolis and the Douaumont Ossuary, etc. - remembrance sites (where homage is paid to the combattants): The Mémorial de Verdun, the Tranchée des Baïonnettes, the Monuments to Jews and Muslims who died for France, etc
Verdun, Capital of the Great War
Verdun, the best-known town in the world after Paris, provides the way in to the battlefields of the Meuse.
The cathedral town was rebuilt after the war. The River Meuse runs through it, together with a network of "Venetian" canals, and today it provides a harmonious, elegantly-refurbished environment.
The memory of the Great War is still present there, particularly through the huge Monument à la Victoire (Monument to Victory) and the Citadelle souterraine (Underground citadel) where the Unknown Soldier was chosen.
The Centre Mondial de la Paix (World Peace Centre) holds a number of cultural events, international conferences and exhibitions that encourage reflection on the history of the conflicts of the 20th century
7.30pm- end of the tour in Paris