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Remembered Today:

Comment please on Flanders/Somme visit


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I am completing research on a War Memorial in South Africa. 16 out of 20 soldiers died in Belgium and France. I am retracing some of their steps and visiting graves and etc. The focus is mainly South African Infantry (which was with the 9th Division). One was with the RGA and two with the RFC.

I have designed and done my own little tours before - Flanders, Somme, Verdun and so on. I am happy with what I have in mind but know that more experienced people will have a number of useful suggestions.

WED 22 JUNE: Arrive Brussels and get car, drive Poperinghe and surrounds, Flanders Museum in Ypres, Menin Gate, Ariane hotel.

THURSDAY 23 RD JUNE: Off early to retrace SAI on morning of 20th Sept 1917 - Langemarck - Gheluvelt Line. Suggestions of roads and and paths and how accessible. Maybe wander off to Sanctuary Wood museum/trenches etc later in day. Menin Gate. Is it better to photo names on any memorial in early morning or late afternoon. Ariane Hotel.

FRIDAY 24TH JUNE: Off early to retrace SAI on 10th April 1918, Messines Ridge, in Wytschaete area. Again any suggestiosn paths and roads. Then drive to Arras. Here I need help. I would wish to go to Arras memorial to give me chance of photo today and tomorrow if it doesnt work. Then I need to go to Fampoux to retrace SAI on 12 April 1917. Where to stay in Arras????

SATURDAY 25TH JUNE: Off to Arras Memorial if not done yesterday. Off to Fampoux if not done yesterday. Am worried about traffic and how to find Fampoux. Then I want to get to Bertry cemetry, Honnechy cemetery and Le Cateux cemetery via the route of the SAI on 9th October 1918. I hear that Bantouzelle is nice???? If I cant fit all the three above in it doesnt matter because I have the next day. But where would one stay in this area ??? I would like to retrace the route effectively from the main road (forget the town) up to Bertry though on this day. Suggestions for the night??

SUNDAY 26TH JUNE: Wander around whichever of Bertry, Honnechy and Le Cateux I have not spent time in yesterday . Then holiday down to Laon. Where to stay?//

MONDAY 27TH JUNE: Day in Laon. This is indulgence. The last trip I was rushing to Verdun and stopped for a quick squiz at the Cathedral so this return is to honour a promise then. Again where to stay in Laon.

TUESDAY 28TH JUNE: Drive up and via Tincourt cemetery. Perhaps go on to Marrieres Wood or perhaps just straight to Peronne to reorienate at Historial. Where to Stay??? The last time I really enjoyed my hotel in Amiens - I liked having a town in which to do things but I dont want to spend all time in car. Albert doesnt really appeal to me. Any other ideas.

WEDNESDAY 29TH JUNE: Revisit Delville Wood and maybe Marrieres Wood or maybe Warlencourt. Suggestions of paths and etc. Night in Peronne.

THURSDAY 30TH JUNE: Maybe Marrieres Wood or Warlencourt. Suggestiosn paths and etc. Night in Peronne.

FRIDAY 1ST JULY: Will go to services etc. Must go to Thiepval anyway for photos. If weather bad a problemm so might have gone another day anyway for Thiepval. Night still in Peronne.

SATURDAY 2ND JULY: Along river and get to Aubigny cemetery. Then on to Rouen. Suggestions as to route. Perhaps visit St Sever Cemetery. Where to stay in Rouen??

SUNDAY 3RD JULY: Perhaps St Sever Cemetery. I know its difficult. Would I be able to find a General Hospital in Rouen - I think the one I want is 6th?? Then some culture - museum, cathedral etc.

MONDAY 4TH JULY: Last bits fo anything and train to Paris.

Now if anyone reading this was me what would they do differntly. Obviously I have to go to certain places but I also remember that French and Belgrium distances are very small and so a great deal can be done. I like to walk and to sit and read. I like picnic lunches and am greedy about good food meals. Pubs dont interest. any little museum or place I would like to know.

My only real query is the location of my Delville, Marriers, Warlencourt, Thiepval period. I have been to Peronne but think I will be bored - except I like the Historial. Help please.

Please help me fill in time usefully and enjoyably.

Many thanks


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Laon is very short of good, interesting, characterful accommodation. I have used the Hostellerie St-Vincent on several occasions. It’s modern, functional, on the outskirts of the town, but you can walk up the hill to Laon. The external lighting is frightful. Ask for a room with a spa bath; they’re nicer. I’ve also used the Campanile opposite. When staying at the St-Vincent, you get a better breakfast if you walk across the road to the Campanile. You could walk or drive to good restaurants. Or eat in Reims (I’d go to Brasserie Flo).

If it doesn’t need to be actually in Laon, the Auberge de Vendeuil is pleasant and family run. It’s on the main road between St-Quentin and Laon, north of La Fère. I seem to remember enjoying the food there.

It’s interesting to look at the cathedrals at both Laon and Soissons, as they’re connected developments in the Gothic style – something to do with the arcading and the clerestory windows. (Sorry, church architecture isn’t really my thing.) Soissons isn’t far from Laon.


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Mercure is a nice modern hotel in downtown Arras, restaurant nothing special but lots of terrific ones on main square nearby.

Ramparts Hotel Peronne nice old place with great restaurant, try Ficelle Picardie. Also good with good restaurant is hotel just up the hill from Historial very close to central square.

No English at Ramparts a couple of years ago but we got by fine, nice folks.

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Good choice with the Ariane. Loads of good places to eat in Ieper. I'd say it's better to photo Menin Gate names in the morning as I reckon it's quieter.

Agree with Paul's recommendations about Arras. The Mercure has (or at least last year had) parking at the back of the hotel. really good food around the main square (10 minutes walk) and near the railway station (2 minutes walk).

I wouldnt discount Albert for your Delville/Thiepval period. It has the location going for it. The Royal Picardie gets a generally good response (including from me), but there has been a bad report of rudeness and poor service. Several nice restaurants in town (and the one at the hotel).

Good to see you're well on with the project. Nice to hear from you.

Have a great trip.


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:( John

you mentioned "good restaurants" in Albert. Can you tell me where these are as we have always struggled to eat anything apart from Big Macs in Albert?


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Hi there,

You can have an excellent meal at the Grand Hotel de la Paix in Albert, opposite the group memorial. Theyt also sell Great War books.



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Apart from the restaurant in the Royal Picardie which was very good a couple of years ago when we were last there, I can't remeber the names of the other two.

One was a small hotel (not the one on the square) but still in the town centre. I seem to remember a small petrol filling station across the road (but may be mistaken).

The other (and in my view the best) was a North African restaurant on the left of the main road going out of town towards Pozieres. Absolutely brilliant CousCous Royale.

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The Mecure in Perrone was pretty exciting the one night I spent there . After a day touring around we arrived at the hotel ...a few hours to freshen up and then a tour arranged dinner ...Being a lover of fine beer I hurried through the shower process and was down in the bar with plenty of time to spare ...bought a beer and found a nice seat near the full glass frontage of the hotel to look out on the coutryside . A tour bus came rocketing up the driveway ..I thought to myself " hmmm...old mate is arriving at a rate of knots !! " ...The bus swung around to pull up infront of the doors ...Only problem is that he missed it and came crashing through the doors !!...I found out at that point that you really can flip yourself out of a chair backwards with only the aid of your ass muscles !!. Being an Aussie I never spilt a drop of beer , and for the next short while I watched the driver explain to the manager how he managed to drive his bus into the hotel ...Didn't need to know any French to find this amusing . My fellow tourmates arrived later having missed the show . Going back to the Somme in June , but staying at the Royal Picardie ..from the picture the frontage looks plenty strong enough !.


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Thanks for suggestions so far. Any ideas for the Bertry, Honnechy, Le Cateau area. Also things to see and do.???

If people were me would they stay Albert or Peronne. I remember Albert as small and so is Peronne. But, when one is travelling alone its quite nice to come home late afternoon, have a bath or whatever and find somewhere nice to sit with book. Peronne has Historial to visit when all the driving is over. If my foci are Marrieres, Warlencourt and Delville Wood with visit to Tincourt, Aubigny as well as then time at Thiepval - whcih would you choose. I think Id prefer not to be moving every day and night hence this somewhat longer stay. Which place has more restaurants to choose from???

Keep comments coming.

Have I made my daily trips too short. Can I fit more in?? Or have I chosen too much???


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