2020 Battlefield Tour
This schedule may be subject to change.
Day 1 — Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020
Charles de Gaulle – Meaux
The tour will start at 11 a.m. at the Citizen M Hotel Charles De Gaulle Airport. Our first stop is the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, the largest World War I museum in Europe, for an exclusive exploration of their gallery collections to provide interpretive context for the tour. We then continue onto our hotel, staying overnight in Vienne-le-Château. Evening meal and museum entry included.
Day 2 — Monday, Sept. 28, 2020
Verdun Town Center and Voie Sacrée
Understanding Verdun—one of history’s most demanding battles—is essential to understanding the history of World War I and French identity. We begin the morning exploring the beautiful Northeastern French city and its memorials, museums and the scars of battle in its Town Centre to better grasp the idea of the French military system and homefront mindset during this time. After a local lunch, we follow the historic Voie Sacrée or “Sacred Way,” the communications and logistics road to the frontline. By December 1916, it had been traveled by over 3 million men, including young American volunteers. We hear their stories, along with that of Colonel Driant—a key figure during the opening phase of the battle—before ending deep in the forest of Verdun at the ruins of the village of Beaumont. Staying overnight in Vienne-le-Château, breakfast included.
Day 3 — Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020
Froideterre - Fluery - Douaumont
Beginning at Froideterre Ouvrage, we delve into the scored topography and stories of the 1916 frontline. Tracing the footsteps of the heroic American Ambulance Field Service staff, we will explore the remains of a deep hospital shelter and visit the newly renovated Fleury Museum. After lunch in a café built immediately after WWI to feed battlefield pilgrims, we will spend the afternoon in commemoration in the shadow of the Douaumont Ossuary before heading to the Tranche Londres Line, where, with the legendary Fort Douaumont, the landscape bears witness to the ferocity of the ten-month battle in 1916 which was a “war within a war.” Staying overnight in Vienne-le-Château, breakfast included.
Day 4 — Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020
Fort Tavannes to Fort Souville Line
Starting with Fort Vaux, we trek to Fort Tavannes through the Batterie de l’Hopital, ending at the impressive Fort Souville complex with its Pamard casemates. In the afternoon, we transfer to the Saint-Mihiel Salient, first visiting the burial site of acclaimed French writer Alain Fournier and his companions. Guided by the words of Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel, we will then tread through the forest to a hidden German war-time cemetery before proceeding to the lunar landscape of Les Éparges, perhaps the most intensively mined sector of the Western Front. We conclude the day at Hattonchâtel, which was attacked by the US 102nd Infantry Regiment. Staying overnight in Saint-Mihiel, breakfast included.
Day 5 — Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020
Saint-Mihiel – Montsec
Our day begins at the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Memorial atop Montsec, which affords a stunning view over the battlefield. Traversing down to the atmospheric trenches of Bois-le-Prétre and some of the most well-preserved German trenches on the Western Front in Fliery, we head to lunch at Pont-à-Mousson where the American Ambulance Field Service is honored by a striking memorial in the town square. Continuing onward to examine the notorious April 1918 German trench raid with the 26th ‘Yankee’ Division at Seicheprey, we pause at the beautiful cemetery at Thiaucourt before ending the day canopied under the woods of Aprémont, where we follow the story of a French commander and his unit’s famous last stand. Staying overnight in Saint-Mihiel, breakfast and evening meal included.
Day 6 — Friday, Oct. 2, 2020
Leaving our hotel, we head for Paris where guests can return on a morning flight to the U.S. or begin their own exploration of the City of Lights.