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Guines


nicko576
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I am going to France for a 5 day camping break with my wife and 10 year old son, and we are staying at Guines, just outside Calais, I have had to compromise by 1 day on The Somme and one day around Ypres, and the other days doing family stuff, beaches, shopping etc, does anyone know of any interesting ww1 sites of interest around Calais.

cheers Nick

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Crikey Nick you,ve let yourself in for a fair amount of driving there especially the somme and back in one day. Is it really going to be worth it? Unfortuneately at Calais, or Guines you get the worst of both worlds being close to neither and a fair way off from both. Are your plans absolutely made and booked? There was a thread recently on where to stay that would be a good compromise between a family holiday and battlefield exploration. I highly recommended the Sunpark at Oestduinkerke outside Nieupoorrt as very reasonable in price, good quality chalet accomodation, large domed tropical swimming pool- highly recommended, beach etc AND about a 45 minute drive from Ypres. You wont get to the Somme but have two days in the Salient instead whilst keeping the family happy! Take them up to Ypres for the Last Post and a meal in the square.

But I am afraid your suggested arrangements are going to leave you frazzled and probably the family not very happy.

If you do want a WW1 site in the region,go down the road past Boulogne and visit the vast base cemetary at Etaples; - it is quite stupendous in size, scale and layout..

Good Luck SG

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If you do want a WW1 site in the region,go down the road past Boulogne and visit the vast base cemetary at Etaples; - it is quite stupendous in size, scale and layout..

I would second that. I have been there once, and it has left an indellible impression.

At the risk of drifting 20 odd years off topic, there was a town called Liques that I travelled through, a few miles beyond Guines. I stopped there whilst cycling, and after a while realised i was being carefully studied by the few people at the local suermarche. Once they had established I was niether Dutch nor German*, they were pleased to tell me how the English Army had liberated the village, handing out sweets as they came through. They were specific that this was the British, not the US Army.

Guines does get a mention in a RGA war diary, as the heavy machinery travelled through the town after landing there in about 1915/6. Unfortunately, I can only recall that this was written - not the name of the unit. :blush:

Calais was apparently the location of a place called "Cinder City". Better informed members may be able to tell you more of this.

Q: I believe that Calais was the site of one of the soldiers' strikes of 1919/8 ? Again. please can someone who knows what they are on about confirm this!!!

some bits and pieces

doogal

*they directly asked me whether I was either nationality. Personallly it makes no difference to me, though I sensed their biggest surprise was that an English person would cycle that far... :)

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Thanks Guys

I wanted to use Albert as a base, but was overruled so we have booked at Le Bien Assise in Guines, The Salient is a definate as i have to visit a grave in Cement House, but i am having a rethink on the Somme, I will probably look around Arras, I have been meaning to go to Vimy Ridge I have never been there before

Thanks for your help

Nick

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does anyone know of any interesting ww1 sites of interest around Calais.

Calais has a beautiful WW1 German military cemetery (and Belgian and French WW1 cemeteries) along with several of the CWGC in the area that is well worth visiting. (You shouldn't really miss the may 1940 sites such as Fort Neulay and the memorial that is now located near Fort Risban (another desperate spot in 1940) while you're there either.)

.

Dave

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My father in law was based at Audruicq, not far from Guines, during WWI. He was a driver with the 118th Railway Company RE(ME). I read up about the place, and seemingly there was a huge depot there for ammunition etc. At one point it was bombed, killing a number of people there.

I have travelled through Audruicq once or twice, but could not see much sign of anything from the period though.

However, your family might enjoy the excellent Wed morning market! it is full of small farmers selling a bundle of cabbages, sparkling fresh watercress, and the odd live goose!

Not sure exactly when you are going, but if it's after 7 June, the town museum in Etaples has an exhibition (7 June-16 Nov) called Le camp militaire britannique d’Etaples – 1915/1919. It is an exhibition of photographs of the vast military camp at ETaples – one of the largest British bases of World War I, plus plans and objects dug up from the sites.

Musée Quentovic, Etaples.

The cemetery is mind-blowing; I would certainly second that suggestion.

Nothing to do with WWI, but there is an excellent attraction in Etaples called Mareis, which tells you everything you didn't know about the fishing industry. It's modern, with all captions in English as well as French (apart from the initial scene-setting film).

Actually there is one thing from WWI near Calais: The Dover Patrol obelisk on the top of Cap Gris Nez, which celebrates the cooperation between British and French navies in keeping the Straits of Dover free of enemy submarines during that period.

Oh, and a bit farther south than Etaples is Montreuil, a lovely hilltop town with ramparts and cobbled streets. This was Haig's HQ for a long time. There is an equestrian statue of him in the market square, just in front of the theatre.

If you go there, you must visit the Citadelle; once inside, go down a gloomy set of steps marked "casemate" to find the semi-underground chambers that were the British communications centre.

It takes about 45 mins to walk around the ramparts of the town - worth doing for the wonderful views, but there are some sheer drops, so maybe not very suitable for a lively 10-y-o! Don't miss the wonderful chocolates in the Chocolats de Beussent shop, on Place Darnetal. In fact you can visit the little factory where they are made in the valley of the River Course, near the village of Beussent, just to the north of Montreuil. It smells wonderful!

Wimereux is a very pretty seaside resort, between Boulogne and Calais. Try and go around high tide though, as the sea goes out a long way along this coast.

Guines itself has a good historic visitor centre (nothing to do with WWI) called the Tour de l'Horloge (just behind the tourist office), which has quite a lot of hands-on stuff for children. It's the history of the town (Viking invasion, English occupation, Field of theCloth of Gold etc), and has most things in English as well as French. It think it would be good for a 10-y-o.

A short distance away, in the marshes N of Guines, is St Joseph Village, a slightly smaller-than-life-sized village with old shops, petrol station, crafts etc. It's quite quaint.

More stuff on market days, events etc on www.northernfrance-within90minutesofcalais.co.uk

Have a great trip

Angela

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Thanks Angela

much appreciated, i might try Wimereux

thanks again

Nick

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Nick,

Angela has covered a lot of my favourites in the area already, however if you have the time just take a drive along the coast road from Calais towards Bologne, its the D940. you get some great views and on a clear day you can see Dover from the 'Dover Patrol Memorial', if you get there look inland and you will see the surrounding fields heavily crated by the RAF bombs in WW2.

Just down the hill from the memorial in the Churchyard at Esscales (Spelt wrong!) is a single CWGC grave of Marine Callow killed on the Dieppe Raid, think I am correct in saying he is the nearest overseas CWGC to the UK.

Further along the D940 there is a museum in the casement of the German Cross Channel guns which is worth a visit.

As Angela mentioned Montruiel is beautiful and on a nice day the ramparts are a nice stroll, followed off course by lunch in the square looking at 'Aig on is orse' (A statue)

Have a great trip.

Regards,

Scottie.

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The gun battery Scottie mentions above is referred to locally as the "Batterie Todt", and is near Cap Gris Nez, 2km S of Audinghen. Daily 9-12, 2-6.

If you *do* get diverted into WW2 places, I found the museum at Dunkerque, about the embarkation of May 1940 ("Operation Dynamo"), absolutely fascinating. It has the uninformative name of "Memorial du Souvenir", and lies just to the NE of the main shopping streets. Daily 10-12 and 2-5.30.

I should have said, re "Mareis" - the fishing thing at Etaples - that it is very child-orientated. Kids can tickle fish in a touch-tank, and also have a go at tying various knots. Daily 9.30-1 and 2-7.

And of course Nausicaa, on the seafront at Boulogne, is a marvellous aquarium, where you could easily spend half a day. Daily 9.30-6.30.

Just remembered, there is one of those adventure trails up in the trees in the forest of Guines, with zip-wires and stuff, which looks to be open in May and June (though you might have to prebook). It's called Passion d'Aventure; under-16s have to be accompanied by a participating adult. Cost is 23 euros per person; they don't take credit cards. 9-7 (last admission 3.30); closed Tues.

Have fun!

Angela

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Certainly go for Nausicaa.

How old are the kids? The boat lift at Arques (near St Omer) is worth a visit (we went a few years ago). Typically French (ie., all in French and a bit scruffy), but fascinating. Also you're withing easy reach (well, reasonable day trip) of Cassel and Bellewarde Park, which I can recommend younger children will love. As will dad ;)

There's also lots of pretty scenery - the Michelin Map has them indicated in green, and quite a few attractive villages. As a tourist destination, I like the Calais/St Omer area; don't know why, but maybe because it reminds me of the flat East Anglian lands I grew up in.

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Nick,

just remembered, if you do go to the Dover patrol Memorial the remains of the gun batteries are still there a few yards away just below in the cliffs and free to ramble around!

Wish i was going! :mellow:

Scottie.

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Slight hijacking moment...

Round Boulogne there are so many places to go without driving for hours.Heres a few,most with Great War links;

Cap Blanc Nez,naval memorial & Atlantic wall stuff.

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Its from here that Goering & uncle Adolph looked at Dover from (like in the B of B film)

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Close up of mem.& no,I may love 'er but I didn't write the Chantal message <_<

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Bomb blasts just a few yards away from diversionary raids prior to d day.

You can see Calais & the ferries coming in & out too.

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& visible from 'blanc' is 'gris' where Capt.Webb landed after a dust off with the tide,

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After battling tide & jellyfish,last straw was seeing a shark.His trunks are still in the local dry cleaners as he didn't really want them back ^_^

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& last,not WW1 really at all(apart from a lot of old poilus who were forced to work here) is the huge/massive/immense blockhaus at Eperleque.V1 & 2 fabrication & launch facility.

This place must be visited as photos cant do it justice,its just unimaginable!

Go!

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& of course,Montreuil sur mer,as mentioned.Nice little town but I dont have photos yet.Last time I stayed there was in 1984 & out of season,everything shuts early.

You'll have a great time there,I know!

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Thanks everyone

for the tips and advice, some very interesting options, i will let you know when i get back

Nick

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