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Canadian World War History in Europe

10 days
Set out from Amsterdam to cross the former battlefields of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, where brave soldiers gave their lives during the First and Second World Wars. Visit historic sites and memorials in Lille, Ypres and along the coast of Normandy before ending your journey in awe-inspiring Paris—and returning home with a renewed sense of national pride.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and dirt paths, with some hills and stairs.

Experience the Vimy Ridge Centennial on a special departure of this tour in April 2017.

See itinerary

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Tour of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Amsterdam

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to the Netherlands! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Amsterdam

  Included meals: Breakfast

A walking tour introduces you to Amsterdam’s iconic canals and unique character.

• Stroll by the canals and bridges, taking in the houseboats that dot the banks

• View Dam Square, home of many landmarks including the neoclassical Royal Palace, the 15th-century New Church and the National Monument

• Enter the Anne Frank House, where the young diarist and her family hid during the Second World War

Enjoy a free evening in Amsterdam or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Canal Cruise & Dinner $115pp* Details

Cruise along the canals of Amsterdam on a houseboat, enjoying the view of row houses lit up for the night. Your cruise will take you through the center of the city as you enjoy dinner by lantern light.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Lille 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Lille via Bergen op Zoom & Mechelen

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Lille, France today, stopping for several visits along the way. 

• Stop in the city of Bergen op Zoom to learn about its history as one of the sites of the Battle of the Scheldt, an important military campaign for the Canadian First Army during the Second World War

• Continue on to the Belgian city of Mechelen to enter the Kazerne Dossin, a Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on the Holocaust and Human Rights

Day 5: Full day excursion to Ypres

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, set out to explore the region surrounding Lille.

• Visit the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 on the grounds of an historic château to learn about the battle that took place there

• Enjoy free time for lunch in the Belgian city of Ypres

• Enter the In Flanders Fields Museum, where you’ll discover the impact that the First World War had on this region

Spend a free evening in Lille or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Tasting Tour of Lille $119pp* Details

Explore the best of Lille’s culinary scene this evening. Walk through the Grand Place, the city’s main square, to view the ornate Vieille Bourse stock exchange building. Stop at an estaminet, or small restaurant, near the neoclassical opera house to try a typical appetizer with beer. Then, make your way past the grand Lille Cathedral to a modern brasserie where you’ll enjoy a delicious three-course meal. End your evening with dessert in a cave bar, paired with the best beer in the city.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Normandy Coast 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to the Normandy Coast via the Vimy Region

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue your exploration of the Vimy region today on a sightseeing tour with a local guide.

• Visit the Vimy Ridge Memorial, a national historic site of Canada 

• Enter the Vimy Interpretive Centre to see medals and memorabilia from the battle

• Explore the Vimy tunnels and trenches

Then, travel through the cities and pristine port towns of France on your way to the Normandy coast.

Day 7: Full day excursion to the Normandy Coast

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out to explore the Normandy region, stopping to uncover historic sites as you go. 

• Visit the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, the burial place of many Canadian soldiers who fought during the beginning of the Battle of Normandy

• Enter the Juno Beach Centre

• Explore the seaside town of Arromanches

• Step inside the D-Day Museum, which highlights the events of June 6, 1944, when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Paris via Dieppe

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Paris today, stopping en route to visit the town of Dieppe with your Tour Director leading the way. 

• See the Canadian Memorial, which chronicles the events of the Dieppe Raid in August of 1942

• Visit the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, where Allied soldiers killed in the Dieppe Raid were laid to rest

Later, arrive in Paris and enjoy a free evening or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner in Paris & Seine River Cruise $115pp* Details

Take in the nighttime allure of the City of Light on a special evening excursion. The event begins with dinner at a local restaurant. After you dine, board a boat cruise along the Seine. As you coast along the river and under Paris’ bridges, you’ll behold the illuminated monuments of the city glittering alongside the riverbanks. Please note: The dress code may vary depending on the restaurant for your dinner. Your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

A guided tour introduces you to the architecture, scenery and history of the City of Light’s many neighborhoods, called arrondissements.

• Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe 

• Pass Pont Neuf and the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on the UNESCO-recognized banks of the Seine River 

• Stop for a photo at the Eiffel Tower

• See the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde

• Marvel at the iconic architecture of the Louvre and Hôtel des Invalides

Enjoy a free afternoon in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Versailles Palace & Gardens $115pp* Details

The reign of Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King,” set new standards for decadence among the crowned heads of Europe. It took 50 years and 35,000 workers to turn Versailles, once a small hunting lodge, into the most magnificent château in all of France and the envy of royalty worldwide. On this excursion, you will see the palace in all its glory as you tour the State Apartments and the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Then, stroll through the lavish gardens to admire their fine statuary, splendid fountains and colorful flowerbeds.

Please note: The four rooms of the Queen's State Apartment are closed for renovations through 2017.

Must be booked 45 days before departure

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Paris.

Add Paris Starting from $349 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Paris—the city of life, love and light. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the mysterious Mona Lisa, from the bustling Champs-Élysées to the winding streets of Montmartre, you'll find romance, history and beauty. Browse boutiques, stroll manicured parks, take a seat at a sidewalk café and watch the sun set over the Seine.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Montmartre Wine Tasting & Dinner $125pp* Details

Start off your evening with a walk through Pigalle’s cabaret-lined streets, passing by Moulin Rouge on the way. Then, take a funicular ride to the top of Montmartre, the highest point of the city, and explore the lively area around the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Afterward, enjoy a French wine tasting led by a local expert and a delicious three-course dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $135)

Day 11: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy another full free day in the City of Light or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Walking Tour of Wartime Paris $75pp* Details

Go back in time to uncover Paris as it was during World War II following the invasion by German forces in 1940. Hear what daily life was like under the rule of the Vichy government led by General Pétain, who collaborated with the Nazis. Visit Hôtel Meurice, the Nazi headquarters during the occupation, and the Préfecture de Police, where the initial uprising against the Germans began. Discover how members of the resistance, including their leader Charles de Gaulle, communicated and fought for freedom from the Nazis until the city’s liberation on August 25, 1944. You’ll also see the Deportation Memorial, which honors the over 200,000 individuals sent to concentration camps across Europe during World War II.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Lille, France
  • Paris, France
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

This tour includes The Netherlands, Belgium and France. In order to enter these countries, Canadian and U.S. citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for Canadian or U.S. citizens. If you are not a Canadian or U.S. citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your particular entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. Please note that there may be times when you will have to handle your own bags.

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis). 

Health

There are no major health risks associated with travelling to the Netherlands, Belgium or France. However, it is always advisable to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates.

Cuisine

In the Netherlands, the universal staples of beef, chicken and fish are prepared in a simple fashion, and substantial soups and stews are also very popular. Snack food might be less familiar, where the emphasis is on fish. You might try maatje, raw green herring served with onions. Also popular are pancakes, french fries, doughnuts and waffles bought from street stands.

Belgian cuisine is sophisticated and gourmet. Rich sauces accompany dishes of pork, game and beef. Seafood is of a very high quality—mussels steamed in white wine are a favorite.

Cuisine in the Normandy region of France is known for its fresh flavors. Chicken, rabbit and duck are staples, and you can find fish and shellfish in its coastal towns. The abundance of dairy farms throughout the region means many dishes are accompanied by cheeses and creams. Normandy is also famous for its apples, which are used to create cider and calvados, or apple brandy. In Paris, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crêpes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafes.

Transportation

Flights arrive in Amsterdam and depart from Paris. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, most locations are best accessed on foot. Amsterdam has a user-friendly bus and tram system. Paris’ massive Métro is world-class, easy to navigate and efficient. Make sure to take time and look for the best deal on travel passes. Ask your Tour Director which one might work best. Often the daily passes are not actually the best deal. 

Electricity

All destinations on this tour operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

The Netherlands, Belgium and France are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in Toronto and New York, it’s 6pm in these countries.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3CAD/USD per person per day for your driver and $6CAD/USD to $9CAD/USD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

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