If you are coming to France and visiting Paris around Anzac Day (April 25th), then you should visit an area close to Paris that is drenched in Australian history. The Somme is where many Australian soldiers fought, and where one of the most stunning victories of World War 1 took place.
The small town of Villers-Bretonneux, just outside Amiens, is the obvious place to head for if you are a WW1 history buff. It spectacularly recalls the Australian input into the battles at the Somme.
Experts from leading French tour company Paris On The Way have put together a list of the top 5 places that World War 1 enthusiasts should visit:
1) The Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux is the main memorial to Australian soldiers killed on the Western Front. Consisting of a tower listing the missing dead - almost 11,000 names, it commemorates the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (24-27 April 1918).
2) The Franco-Australian Museum at Villers- Bretonneux tells the story of the Australian Imperial Force during World War 1 and offers an insight into the Australian story there.
3) Well-known both at home and abroad is the story of the ‘unknown soldier.’ The Adelaide Cemetery in Villers-Bretonneux contains his empty grave with the following inscription:
“The remains of an unknown Australian soldier lay in this grave for 75 years. On November 2, 1993, they were exhumed and now rest in the tomb of the Unknown Solider at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.”
4) The ‘Avenue des Australiens’ – is where you can visit a monument dedicated to the memory of the 2nd Australian Division. Remarkable for its many plaques, there is also a statue of an Australian soldier standing guard.
5) The Battle of the Fromelles Museum – takes visitors on a journey from ‘shadow to light’, exploring the disaster of the Battle of Fromelles and the recovery almost 100 years later of 250 soldiers that died at this battle in July 2016. Here you can see World War 1 artefacts such as uniforms and weapons as well as recreations of both German and Allied trenches using materials recovered from the original battleground.
These are just a few of the sights that Australians can visit. Paris on the way delivers a range of guided tours for those wishing to visit pertinent war sites around Paris.
Not your typical tour guide company, Paris On The Way is fully endorsed by the French Ministry for Culture, and delivers tours that are heart-felt, memorable and bespoke…combining French savoir faire with true joie de vivre.
Take a look at the full range of tours - http://www.parisontheway.com/