RoundHouseB (1)
York city walls
RoundHouseB (1)
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The Battle for France - Verdun 1916

Pick-up/Drop-off: Hotel in centre of Reims (convenient for TGV and Eurostar)

Accommodation: hotels in Reims and the Verdun area.

Verdun is unique as a Great War battlefield on the Western Front, its compact nature making it the subject of exceptionally intense bombardment. Political rather than military motives compelled the French to defend Verdun so stubbornly, whilst the battle also represented perhaps Germany's only realistic strategy for securing some kind of negotiated exit from the First World War. The battlefield is now preserved as a memorial and offers an exceptional opportunity to find out about the French experience of the Great War.

This tour begins and ends in the great cathedral city of Reims - itself a specific target for German artillery during the Great War. The short drive to Verdun delivers you into a region carrying the scars of centuries of conflict, the city of Verdun itself still partially enclosed within the remnants of its sixteenth century fortifications. You will visit the excellent, newly-refurbished Verdun museum, the memorial church and ossuary as well as the fortresses of Douamont and Vaux. There is also a walking tour to look at the remains of the Fort de Tavannes and we will visit a range of other stirring sites across the battlefield.

This tour really is like no other and explains why a battle which involved figures like Pétain, de Gaulle, von Paulus and Maginot not only proved a psychological turning point for the French during the Great War, but also represented a defining moment in the history of the twentieth century.

N.B. This tour involves considerable walking over rough forest terrain.
Fort Douaumont, the supposedly impregnable heart of the Verdun fortresses
A cast iron cupola typical of Verdun fortifications
Autumn evening tranquility above Douaumont
Shattered entrances to Douaumont