First World War Memorials

Description: The north of France suffered terribly during the course of two world wars and it is possible to visit many sites whose names will be remembered from history lessons – in particular the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, the site of a battle which marked a turning point in the First World War. Here one can also see well-preserved trenches from both sides of the fighting and be amazed at how close they really were to each other and the appalling conditions under which the soldiers lived for months at a time in dug-out foxholes.

Location: For those speeding eastwards along the A26 Péage towards Paris or further south it is worth taking a detour to some of the memorials around Arras.

Our recommendations: There is a small museum outlining the history of the site which it is well worth visiting. For a more in-depth exploration head south of Arras to the Somme Valley in the triangle of Albert, Peronne and Bapaume.

Thiepval – Monument and Museum

Description: This Lutyen designed WW1 monument is one of the most important British war memorials in the world. It contains the names of over 72,000 soldiers missing on the Somme. Alongside the memorial is a recently opened (2004) visitor centre explaining in greater detail the Battle of the Somme in which 1.3 million died.

Location: On D151 in the village of Thiepval 7km NE of Albert. Journey time is about 1½ hours from Calais.

General Information: Thiepval Visitor centre, 8 rue de l’Ancre, 80300 Tel:- 0(3) 22 74 60 47. Open all year. Free admission.

Website: Thiepval Memorial

Our recommendations: Managed by the Historial Museum in Péronne these 2 museums should be combined to give a good overview of events in The Somme.

For the children: Depending on their level of interest in WW1 this may or may not be of interest. Younger children possibly will have a limited attention span. One of our four children dislikes anything to do with war, so inevitably compromises must come into play.

Museum of the Great War

Description: This thought provoking museum gives a good overview of WW!, particularly as it presents the experiences of the major participants (France, Britain and Germany) in a three-way presentation. It focuses on the origins and consequences of war as well as experiences of daily life among both the armed and civilian populations. There is much to see in the way of weapons, memorabilia, photos, and press cuttings as well as a first class film.

Location: In the centre of Péronne, accessed from either junction 13 or 13.1 on the A1.

General Information: Historial de la Grande Guerre, Chateau de Péronne, BP20063, 80201 Tel:- 0(3) 22 83 14 18. Open from 08/01/07 between 10.00-18.00. Adults €7.50*, Children €3.80*, Family of 2 plus 2 €20.00*.

Website: Museum of the Great War.

Our recommendations: Audioguides in all 3 languages are available and have user friendly information for all ages.

For the children: Depending on ages and level of interest in WW1 children may not go a bundle on this museum. However for history students there is much here to see. Play this one by ear!!

* please note that price are subject to chance, so check the providers’ website for latest details


Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to Nord Pas de Calais: