European Waterways is offering a series of cruises next April taking in the French and Belgium battlefields of the First World War.
Three 6-night fully inclusive cruises aboard the fully-crewed 12 passenger hotel barge La Belle Epoque are available.
The luxury cruise departs on April 5 and travels through picturesque Picardy along the Canal du Nord from Compiegne to Lille, with visits to the Somme and Flanders Fields memorial sites. The April 12 departure makes the return trip.
Highlights include passing through historic Lille, negotiating the 3-mile-long Ruyaulcourt Tunnelle and exploring the peaceful Picardy countryside.
Excursions include tours in Ypres, Belgium, to the medieval Cloth Hall housing the ‘In Flanders Fields’ museum, the Christmas Truce Cross and site where Lt John McCrae wrote the moving poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, and to the Ypres’ Menin Gate for the daily sounding of the Last Post at 8pm.
The cruise will also include a visit to the VC Corner cemetery at the Australian Memorial Park, where 400 unidentified soldiers lie and time at the ANZAC memorial at Villers Bretonneux.
Other highlights include the famous Cobbers Statue and Pheasant Wood Cemetery, the Thiepval Memorial, a monument to 75,000 “missing” from the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and some of the actual trenches, plus the clearing in the Forest of Compiegne, site of the November 11th Armistice signing.
Rates start from €3,790 (AU$5,595) per person, including all meals, wine, an open bar, numerous other daily escorted excursions, local transfers and admissions. Rates are based on double occupancy.
The April 26 departure cruises through Picardy along the the Canal de la Somme and the Canal du Nord from Corbie near Villers Bretonneux to Compiegne.
It also visits the Forest of Compiegne, as well as the hamlet of Villers Bretonneux and the VB Australian WW1 museum and school.
Visits to Le Hamel hilltop, where General Monash and his troops won the battle in 93 minutes, the Gibraltar Bunker and the famous Pozieres Windmill Monument, which was finally captured on 4th August 1916 by Australian troops, are also part of the itinerary.
Further highlights include visiting the Hindenburg Line, medieval Peronne and Mont St Quentin and exploring the tranquil countryside of the Somme and Picardy regions.
Rates start from €4,390 (AU$6,485) per person, including all meals, wines, an open bar, numerous other daily escorted excursions, local transfers and admissions. Rates are based on double occupancy.
For more information on pricing, cruises and schedules on these barges and more.
Visit www.gobarging.com or call 1800 828 050.