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Anselm is looking for hotels and restaurants near Ieper, Arras, Cambrai, or St Quentin

Anselm is looking for hotels and restaurants near Ieper, Arras, Cambrai, or St Quentin

Mar 8th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Anselm is looking for hotels and restaurants near Ieper, Arras, Cambrai, or St Quentin

Margriet and I are planning a visit to some of the Great War battlefields near Ypres (Ieper) and the Somme this November. Our itinerary is still pretty rough, but it is something like this:

- An overnight in Arras, then renting a car there the next morning and driving to the Ieper area.

- Two days in the Ieper area.

- South to the Somme via Vimy and then two or three days moving in an easterly direction from around Albert and Beaumont-Hamel to St. Quentin, and then northeastwards towards the tiny village of Ors.

- We'd return the car to Arras and then spend a week in a yet-to-be-found apartment in Paris.

There isn't a great deal of information here on hotels and restaurants in that corner of France and Belgium. If anyone has any recommendations for Arras, the area around Ieper (Poperinge, for example) and then possibly places like Albert, Péronne, Bapaume, St Quentin, or Cambrai, I would be grateful. Our budget is somewhat flexible, but we'd be happy if we could average €100 or less a night for accommodation. As for meals ... well, if the local restaurant or hotel dining room is right, who knows what might happen.

All comments, suggestions, recommendations, etc gratefully received; payment by a trip report here on Fodor's and photographs on PBase.

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is online now  
Mar 8th, 2008, 11:58 AM
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Hello Anselm

We visited this area a few years ago, and used Arras for a base for several nights. In Arras we stayed at the Ostel les Trois Luppars, right on the Grand Place. It's a 2-star hotel and despite the historic facade, the rooms are fairly plain and modern. Nonethless it was well situated and good value. We found a number of good restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, although I can't recall their names.

http://www.ostel-les-3luppars.com/present.htm

For Flanders, we based ourselves in Brugge, so it was a bit more of a drive than having stayed right in Ieper. I can't personally recommend a hotel in Ieper, but Terry Copp in his indispensible "The Canadian Battlefields in Northwest Europe 1944-1945" recommends the Hotel Regina or the Gasthof and Zweerd in the Grote Markt near the Cloth Hall. He notes that the Gasthof has an exceptional restaurant.

The second edition of this book (2005) concentrates strictly on Second World War battlefields, but if you can find the first edition (1995) it does have a chapter on the Somme and Vimy. The hotel and restaurant recommendations in it, however, are dated of course.

Other recommendations from the 2005 edition for Ieper are Flanders Lodge, the Novotel Ariane and Albion. Outside of Ieper, he highly recommends the Hostellerie Mont Kemmel at the highest hill in Flanders in Kemmel:

http://kemmelberg.be/item.php?lang=EN

He also recommends Diksmuide as an attractive town worth visiting and notes that there are two attractive hotels on the Grote Markt, DeVrede and Pelderbloem, both reasonably priced and with restaurants.

In his first edition, he gives quite a few recommendations for hotels, B&Bs and restaurants for the Somme area, including some in Amiens, Peronne, Arras and the countryside in-between. If you can't find the guide ("A Canadian's Guide to the Battlefields of Northwest Europe") I can provide some of these in a further post.

Good luck in your planning. I assume that you plan to be at Vimy for November 11.

We will, of course, await your trip report with great anticipation.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Anselm, we went to Vimy for a tour of the subways in 2005, monument scaffolding and all. But we were based in Amiens, so can't help you except to echo laverendrye that Arras has lots of restaurants in and around Grand'Place. There was a market set up in the square which was just finishing up in early afternoon that may yield provisioning opportunities.
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Mar 8th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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laverendrye and QueScaisJe, thanks for the responses.

I've sent off a note to my brother-in-law, who is likely to have a copy of Terry Copp's book. If he doesn't, I'll try ABE Books for a used copy. I'd probably prefer the first edition with it's chapter on the Somme and Vimy.

I'll take a look at those places you recommended, laverendrye. I just located Kemmel on the map: south of Ieper and west of the Messines ridge; that would work.

QueScaisJe, did you rent a car, and if so, how did you find driving in or out of Amiens? It's a bit further west than I had planned to go, but it would probably offer greater hotel choices than Arras.

laverendrye, about the 11th: as things stand right now, we'd be visiting Vimy during the week of November 2 and in Paris the week of November 9. We were planning to attend the French ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, but I'm beginning to wonder whether we could flip our weeks and stay in Paris from the 2nd to the 8th, and then tour the north from the 9th to the 15th or 16th. The more I think about this the more I want to be at Vimy on the 11th.

Our return flight is on the 17th via YYZ ...

AA, thinking furiously
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Mar 8th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Anselm,

We did have a car. The jaunt to Amiens came near the end of a circle through the Loire and Basse Normandie: part of our pilgrimmage to Juno, Dieppe, and Vimy.

Amiens itself has only a moderate appeal to travellers, but is graced by the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the jewel of Amiens. The cathedral is Franceís largest Gothic building. There are rows of restaurants along the river in the St-Leu district, a pleasant way to end the day with the setting sun.

I seem to remember that roads were well-marked, but an unfortunate dependency on our car's GPS may have created false memories in this regard.
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Mar 9th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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Anselm,

It's a tough call on whether to attend the ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe or Vimy on 11 November, but I'd probably choose Vimy. We were at the Arc de Triomphe on 11 November 1998 for the 80th anniversary of the armistice jointly presided over by President Chirac and Queen Elizabeth. It was a grand occasion indeed and the crowds were enormous. I don't know what is planned for this year's 90th Anniversary.

As for the rest of your itinerary, I image that you will be visiting Ors for Wilfrid Owen's gravesite. As you will be in the general vicinity, you might consider a visit to Mons, just across the border in Belgium. Mons, of course was the site of the first encounters between the British and Germans in August 1914, but it was also liberated by the Canadian Corps on 10/11 November 1918. Just outside town, there are markers not much more than 100 yards apart which show where the leading elements of the British and German armies met in 1914, and where the Canadian advance stopped at 1100 on 11 November. There is also a small cemetery, St Syphorien, in which one can visit the graves of the first British soldier killed in the war, and George Price, the last Canadian, killed 2 minutes before the armistice. There are also several German graves in the cemetery. It is all quite poignant. In the Grand Place, the municipal museum has several galleries devoted to the Canadians.

The Canadian Embassy in Belgium has a very good website on Canadian memorials, cemeteries and museums in Belgium, and a link to an excellent publication in pdf form, "Canadian Routes of Remembrance in Flanders..."

http://www.international.gc.ca/bruss...eration-en.asp

Once more invaluable source is Paul Reed's "Old Front Line", a comprehensive website to many of the battlefields on the Western Front.

http://www.battlefields1418.com/


I imagine that I may have further complicated your planning, but that's part of the fun of it.

laverendrye is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:09 AM
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We've stayed several times at The Ariane hotel in Ypres. It is well located , a very short walk to the town center and for Last Post. They have a very good restaurant and bar. It is used by some of the battlefield tour groups and the conversation is always lively. We were fortunate to be asked to join a group, as guests, on a private visit to the memorial church.

I'll have to look up where we stayed in Albert. In Perrone we stayed at Les Ramparts, also well located and with an excellent restaurant.
avalon is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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We've also stayed at the Du Mont Kemmel, just outside of Ypres. Again, very well-located...nice rooms and a good restaurant. I wouldn't reccomend it in bad weather though! The road up is long and steep, but it makes for good views.

I just realiazed that we too will be in Paris again on the 11th. The parade and ceremonies last year were exciting and memorable.

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Mar 9th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Thanks to all for the responses.

You hit the nail on the head, laverendrye. After Ypres and Vimy, weíll be looking at the places where Wilfred Owen fought: Serre and Beaumont-Hamel (where weíll also look at the memorial to the Newfoundland Regiment), Savy and Fayet just outside St Quentin, and then north and east to Joncourt and ultimately Ors. (I found explicit directions to the grave site on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.)

Iíve sketched out a revised approach that will put us in Paris from the 2nd to the 8th, and then seven full days in Flanders and Picardy before returning to Paris on the 16th. That means we can be in Vimy on the 11th (Margriet pointed out that we will feel more there than in Paris) and have greater flexibility of movement, including the possibility of adding Mons to the itinerary.

Much to my surprise, my brother-in-law does not have the Copp book in his library, so Iíll look for a used copy. Speaking of books, I have already accumulated a great stack and am slowly beavering my way through them. I would particularly recommend Paul Fussellís The Great War and Modern Memory. It is part social history and part literary criticism, truly brilliant.

I think Iíve got lots to work with on accommodations in the Ieper area. In addition to the ones suggested by laverendrye and avalon, Iíve also found an interesting place in Poperinge called the Hotel Recour. (It is, unfortunately, pricey, but we could compensate by choosing less expensive places elsewhere on the trip). We take a close look at all of them and make a choice.

Avalon, thanks for the suggestion for Péronne. If you could dig out the name of the place in Albert, Iíd be delighted. If anyone else has any recommendations for St Quentin, Cambrai, and, letís see Ö Valenciennes or Mons, I would love to hear about them.

Anselm
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Mar 10th, 2008, 02:57 AM
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It took some looking as Albert was on our first trip to the battlefields quite some time ago!

We were stopping at Bouzincourt to see my husband's uncle's gravesite.

We didn't stay right in Albert but a few miles away in Doullens at the Chateau de Remaisnil. I just checked their website , and while our stay was lovely, the prices have escalated and the dollar has dropped! It's a bit too rich for our blood now that we've retired.

http://www.remaisnil.com/English/home.htm
avalon is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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Anselm: In your planning, you might find this map handy. As well as showing museums, memorials and such, it has an extensive listing of hotels and B&Bs in the area of the battle of the Somme. I can't vouch for any of the hotels, but in Peronne, Terry Copp recommends the Hotel des Remparts.

http://www.somme14-18.com/fr/making/pdf/brochures01.pdf
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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Anselm, I might have the older edition - will check tonight.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 04:06 PM
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SallyCanuck, thanks so much. I'll check back to see if you found it.

laverendrye, a very helpful map. I'll study that with interest.

avalon, the Chateau de Remaisnil looks spectacular! You're right, though, those prices are approaching the eye-watering range. But it might just be doable if we scrimped a bit elsewhere.

Anselm

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Mar 11th, 2008, 05:23 AM
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Well, I couldn't find it but I know I do have it and it has to be the first edition because it's years since I bought it....I saw it recently but it isn't in the book shelves so I've obviously put it somewhere safe and forgotten. I will look again tonight.
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Mar 11th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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In planning our trip to the Somme, I too looked at staying in Arras. However, I could not find accommodations to my liking. We ended up staying in the small village of Corbie not far from Amiens at a fabulous B&B called Le Macassar. www.lemacassar.com From there we toured the Somme & went to Vimy as a day trip.

Good luck with your plans!

2010
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Mar 11th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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Hi AA,

Amazon UK has a copy (singular) of that Terry Copp book: it is an outrageous price but...

Looking forward to seeing you again in TO in August if you can make it.

I hope you will take lots of photos of the moments at Beaumont-Hamel: as a NL, I have ties to a couple of names on that memorial and will be thinking of you and Margriet there on that day.

Lee
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Mar 11th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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Anselm--I wouldn't spend a great amount on the first edition of the Copp book. Its main focus is WW II with only one chapter on the Somme and Vimy, and the second edition is far superior in its treatment of the WW II battlefields. (Both are comprehensive and indispensible as far as guides to the WWII Canadian Battlefields in NWE). The first edition does have a number of recommendations for restaurants and accommodation in the Somme/Vimy area, but these are now some 13 years out of date. If you can find a library copy, it would be useful to consult.

A better choice might be "In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps" (2006) by Angus Brown and Richard Gimblett, a guide with excellent maps and illustrations. If you can't find it in your local bookshop, the CBC on-line boutique sells it.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 12th, 2008, 03:41 AM
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2010, many thanks for that link. Le Macassar looks lovely. I had been thinking that I didn't want to go quite as far west as Amiens, but having studied the map a little more carefully, Corbie would be fine.

Lee and laverendrye, the cost of the Copp book used is quite stiff. The lowest price I could find was more than $50 through ABE Books, so I think I'll pass on buying it. (And SallyCanuck may yet turn up her copy.) I already have Brown and Gimblett's In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps and have found it very useful.

Lee, I'd be delighted to take photos for you at Beaumont Hamel. I do plan to attend the Toronto GTG (August 9, I think?), so we can talk more about it then.

AA
AnselmAdorne is online now  
Mar 12th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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Anselm, I found the book ... have it here with me ... now what?
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Mar 12th, 2008, 05:28 AM
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SallyCanuck, wonderful! Will you be at the Toronto GTG in August? Perhaps I could borrow it and send it back to you?

AA
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