WW1 Site Tours Northern France

Old Nov 10th, 2009, 01:58 AM
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WW1 Site Tours Northern France

Can anyone recommend a good private guide or small group tour company specialising in the WW1 sites. My husband and our friend would like to spend 2 to 3 days visiting the sites whilst we girls stay in Paris. We are from Australia, so would be particularly interested in those sites as well. My husband has come across a web site with "Dr Thompson;s" tours - has anyone done one of these.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 02:19 AM
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glenn_col - A wonderful venture for your husband and friend while the women investigate Paris. While I cannot make any suggestions about a private guide or tour group for their purpose I can certainly suggest the recent trip report from AnselmAdorne. His venture into northern France tracking the war route of a relative through personal letters written from the front and sent home is well worth the read. I hope someone else can recommend a guide or group.

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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 03:50 AM
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Thanks, tC.

glenn_col, I can't recommend a guide or tour, but I think I can point you to a source that will help: the Great War Forum at

You will find a wealth of information on that site, but you have to register to use the search function. Try using a phrase such as "guides Australian sites" or some such pattern and you will doubtless get some good leads. You can also look for names or places that are associated with Australia; "Fromelles", for example, will pull up a very long thread about Lambis Englezos and his remarkable search for missing Australian soldiers.

One thing I did discover recently is that private guides can be quite expensive. Joining an organized tour might be more reasonable, and the Great War Forum might help there, too.

If your husband feels comfortable driving in France, another option might be to take the train to Amiens and to rent a car. The Somme battlefield is nearby, and it would be a fairly easy excursion up to Fromelles and the VC Corner Cemetery.

There are two other sites that might be helpful in planning a tour of Australian war sites: Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918 and the Australian War Memorial. Both are wonderful resources. The links:

And finally, the trip report that teacherCanada mentioned. We did stop by the Australian memorial at Fromelles, and there is an Australian connection in this story; my wife's Great Uncle Harry was firing artillery in support of the Australian attack on Pozières in August 1916.

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Old Nov 16th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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Thanks very much Anselm, I have spent the weekend going through your information,very interesting.
tC, don't know if leaving the girls in Paris alone is such a good idea though.....financially!
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Old Nov 16th, 2009, 01:50 AM
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Hello glenn_col, as my name suggests I am also from Australia!
Last year my husband, son and I spent several days in Northern France visiting Villers Bretonneux, Amiens, Bullecourt etc. We had a car and relied almost solely on a great book (purchased in Borders Australia)called "Pilgrimage - A Traveller's Guide to Australian Battlefields" by Garrie Hutchinson. Whilst the book details the battles and strategies of this time it also provides directions for the contemporary era in the "Western Front today" section which provides great detail on how to get to significant sites and what is not to be missed.
One of my fondest memories is of my son and I using our rudimentary french in the Villers Bretonneux florist and asking for flowers in green and gold which we laid at the Australian memorial down the road.
My husband and son have just last week used the same book (photocopied chapter!) to visit Fromelles, Ypres etc on a short break between business in Belgium.
Whilst I thought I would be just tagging along and missing shopping time, ultimately it was one of the best parts of our trip.
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Old Nov 16th, 2009, 03:42 AM
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As AA said, tours are quite expensive and driving is easy, but if that's your preferrence, try this for a three day tour. Richard
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Old Nov 16th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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bookmarking - after reading Anselm's enthralling report earlier this year, I'm planning a visit to that area for next year.
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