World War One Commemorative Cruise - Stage 1 Picardy
World War One Commemorative Cruise - Stage 1
Voyage through century old battlefields visiting evocative memorials to the fallen
World War One Commemorative Cruise - Stage 1
Join Panache on a fascinating journey through landscapes in Northern France that once witnessed events that changed the course of history. We journey along the Canal du Nord, the centre of many battles during World War One, stopping off at significant sites and memorials to commemorate the centenary of The Great War.
This cruise is fully inclusive of six nights accommodation, gourmet meals, fine wines and open bar, daily excursions, local transfers and full use of all onboard amenities.
This is a sample itinerary and may be subject to change. Where possible, we will try to adapt the visits to reflect the interests and nationalities of guests onboard.
Itinerary & Hotels
Courtrai day 1
You’re met at the designated meeting point in Bruges and transferred to the hotel barge moored in Courtrai for a Champagne welcome and introduction to the crew and barge. Time for a walk or cycle ride before dinner on board.
Hôtel Barge - PanacheStrasbourg
Panache is a spacious, 128 feet long hotel barge featuring a stunning sun deck, a social dining and bar area with a piano and 6 double or twin junior suites, accommodating 12 guests. There are six crew, including an on-board chef, to ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay aboard.
There are panoramic windows in the saloon bar area and the barge has been finished in a traditional yacht style with brass and mahogany fittings. The large sun deck features a spa pool and an alternate dining area. There are twelve bicycles for guests' use, to explore the scenic towpaths.
All cabins are en suite and have twin handbasins and oversized showers.
- En suite, air-conditioned cabins
- TV/DVD in cabins
- Spa pool
- Sun Deck
- CD player/iPod dock
The Master Chef aboard Panache ensures to produce reginal specialities such as -
- Braised veal in red wine
- Roasted duck a l'Alsacienne
- Magret de Canard aux Mirabelles
- Le Baeckeoffe d'Alsace
You can expect to find wines such as Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pouilly Fume, Reisling Grand Cru and Chablis Premier Cru on the wine list.
The cheeseboard will also feature regional greats such as Tomme Fermier d'Alsace, Munster-géromé, Tomme de Yenne, Mattons, Roussot and Caprice des Dieux.
Courtrai to Lille day 2
This morning, cruise to Lille along the beautiful River Lys to Ypres, which the Australian troops called “Wipers” and which was the centre of intense, sustained fighting between German and Allied forces in WW1. After lunch, visit sites in and around Ypres including the medieval Cloth Hall that now houses the “In Flanders Fields” museum - a moving pictorial comment on the futility of the conflict. We will also visit the Christmas Truce Cross, the Pool of Peace crater and the site where Lt. John McCrae wrote the moving poem “In Flanders Fields”, the Essex Farm dressing station. Early dinner ashore at 6.30pm in a traditional Belgian restaurant ‘Den Anker’, then afterwards, attend the moving daily Last Post ceremony at 8pm at the Menin Gate Memorial.
Lille to Arleux day 3
Today begins with a drive to Fromelles to visit the VC Corner cemetery at the Australian memorial park, where 400 unidentified soldiers lie. The cemetery was situated in no-man’s land between the Australian and German lines in 1916. This was the first scene of Australian involvement on the Western Front and you will learn just why it was so disastrous. We will also see the famous Cobbers statue and battlefield of Fromelles, and the Pheasant Wood New Cemetery Extension, opened in 2010 after 200 soldiers’ bodies were exhumed there. This afternoon we cruise to Arleux and the beginning of the Canal du Nord. Dinner on board.
Arleux to Ruyaulcourt day 4
After an early breakfast we head off to visit the battlefields of Arras and Vimy Ridge. We then return to the barge for a cruise under the New Zealand Engineers Bridge, amazingly built in a week in 1918 under continuous German fire. The canal itself was the scene of the Battle of Canal du Nord in September 1918. Being located in the heart of the battlefields, it was substantially destroyed and no attempt was made to reinstate and complete it until the early 1960s. We continue cruising on to our evening mooring at Ruyaulcourt. Dinner on board.
Ruyaulcourt to Péronne day 5
This morning, we pass through the 3 mile Ruyaulcourt Tunnel and cruise on down towards Péronne. Later, we head to the Somme and the site of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, where 23,000 men died in one day on July 1st, 1916. We visit the moving Thiepval memorial: a monument to 75,000 “missing” from this battle, and the visitor centre has wonderful archival film footage and photographs from the era. Afterwards, we move on to the Newfoundland Park memorial where the Newfoundland Regiment of 700 men was wiped out in just 40 minutes. We will also visit the famous little town of Pozières to see the Gibraltar bunker, the ancient Windmill monument and infamous Tommy Café. Return to the barge for dinner on board.
Péronne to Béthencourt-sur-Somme day 6
The liberation of Villers-Bretonneux in 1918 claimed over 1,200 Australian soldiers’ lives. Every year, the ANZAC Day ceremony is held at the town’s memorial where over 10,000 Australian servicemen are commemorated. This morning, we visit this incredible village, which remains a living tribute to the Australian soldiers who liberated it. Highlights are Victoria School (built by money raised from children in Victoria after WW1), a fascinating and moving visit, and a pictorial museum in the town centre; the Australian National War Memorial; Le Hamel, memorial site of General Monash’s astounding 93 minute victorious battle over the Germans. After lunch, we cruise the final leg of our journey along the Western Front to our mooring at Béthencourt-sur-Somme. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Béthencourt-sur-Somme day 7
After breakfast, disembark Panache and transfer to the designated drop off point in Paris.
Route & Location
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