Just returned from an amazing trip with our family, including 3 teenage boys. Emilie carefully listened to our request to focus on military history and arranged an itinerary with just the right balance of history, culture, art, and military history. We had incredible guides to Paris, WWI, and WWII sites plus unique B&Bs. So many memories!
If you are particularly interested in World War history, we can craft a tour just for you. The key regions you will want to visit are Normandy, Verdun and the Somme. All you have to do is contact us and tell us your special interests, as well as any other activities you’d like to include in your trip (such as wine-tasting, hiking, and particular places you want to visit). Then we’ll put together an itinerary based on your interests, allowing you to explore places, learn about the history, and enjoy activities at your own pace.
Verdun and Argonne: Echoes from World War I
Explore the serene and off-the-beaten-track landscapes of Verdun and Argonne, regions once scarred by the ravages of World War I. As you drive through and explore these regions on foot with an expert private guide, you'll witness the remnants of fierce battles and the memorials that now stand tall in honor of the fallen.
You’ll discover that the Verdun area has long played an important role in conflicts throughout European history, as it is situated at the crossroads of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Verdun resonates with stories of bravery, sacrifice, and the sheer endurance of the human spirit. Here, you can explore the Verdun Memorial, which not only commemorates the sacrifices of troops of several nationalities but also educates visitors about the grueling ten-month-long Battle of Verdun.
We’ll arrange for an expert private guide to take you to these key sites, as well as a village that was completely destroyed during the battle and never rebuilt. You’ll see some of the ruins and signs marking where different buildings in the village used to be.
Amidst the tranquil forests of Argonne, stories of heroic American soldiers come to life, a testament to their unwavering spirit during intense combat. In Argonne you’ll be able to visit the Romagne-sous-Montfaucon German military cemetery and memorial, as well as the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the largest American military cemetery in Europe. Over 14,000 American soldiers who died during World War I are buried here, making it an important pilgrimage site for Americans and a testament to the sacrifice of the U.S. soldiers during the First World War.
The Somme: Ground Zero of The Great War's Fiercest Battles
The Somme region saw some of World War I's bloodiest confrontations. A journey through these once-devastated landscapes provides a somber reminder of the sheer scale of conflict and the human cost attached to it.
The Battle of the Somme, which took place in 1916, remains one of the most fiercely fought battles in history, with over a million casualties. Today, this region, dappled with scars and memorials, serves as a living museum to the heroism and sacrifices made by those who served.
By visiting places like the Thiepval Memorial, you'll be paying homage to the thousands of soldiers whose final resting place remains unknown. The massive Lochnagar Crater, a result of underground warfare, showcases the devastating might of artillery during the war. The numerous cemeteries across the region hold the remains of British, French, American and German soldiers and various other nationalities, and show the universality of loss and the futility of conflict.
The Somme is more than just a battlefield; it's a testament to endurance, resilience, and the human spirit. France Just For You will arrange for a private guide to accompany you and help you gain a deeper appreciation of the events that shaped the course of history and the legacies that still influence the world today. The stories from The Somme are not just about warfare but also hope, camaraderie, and the indomitable spirit of humanity amidst its darkest hours.
Normandy: Relive World War II’s Pivotal Moments & Walk in Your Ancestors’ Footsteps
We’ll help you embark on an enlightening journey along the historic coastline of Normandy, where the traces of World War II still linger. As you explore these iconic shores, each beach tells a unique tale of courage and liberation.
Omaha Beach stands as a stark reminder of the heavy casualties sustained by American forces, while Utah Beach saw more successful landings and advances made by the Allies.
Gold Beach and Juno Beach, despite their serene beauty today, bear the weight of intense battles fought by British and Canadian forces respectively. Not far from these shores, the town of Sainte-Mère-Église tells tales of American paratroopers who played a crucial role in the early hours of D-Day. Each site, each stretch of sand, serves as a poignant marker of the pivotal Normandy landings.
Arromanches has a key role in the memory of D-Day, best known for its remarkable Mulberry Harbors. These temporary portable harbors, a feat of wartime engineering, were crucial in the success of the Allied invasion, allowing vast amounts of supplies and troops to be landed in the days following D-Day.
Not far from Arromanches lies the iconic Pegasus Bridge, the site of a daring airborne operation in the early hours of June 6, 1944. British paratroopers, in a swift and strategic move, captured this vital structure, ensuring that the eastern flank of the landings would be protected. Today, Pegasus Bridge stands as a testament to the meticulous planning, precision, and valiant efforts of these airborne troops.
Many of our travelers over the years have had a father, grandfather or uncle who fought in the Battle of Normandy, and wanted to retrace their ancestor's footsteps. In these cases, we work with expert private guides to create an itinerary that includes the exact places where their ancestors would have stayed and fought. If you have a personal connection to France, let us know and we’ll help bring your family history alive for you.
A Personal Touch with France Just For You
France Just For You brings history alive, allowing you not only to visit these iconic sites but to deeply engage with them. Through private tours, you can relive tales of bravery, understand the grand strategies, and, for those with ancestors who fought in these wars, follow in their footsteps. This may involve visiting the battlefields or beaches where they fought, towns they stayed in, or their grave, if they were killed in action in France.
Expert guides, with an intimate knowledge of local history, ensure that every moment of your journey resonates with meaning and relates to your personal interests.
Embarking on this self-drive tour is not just about revisiting history, but honoring the millions of individuals who shaped it. As your self-guided itinerary takes you through these important sites (along with a private guide for some sites), you'll experience an evocative blend of reflection, understanding, and profound respect.
If you’re interested in booking a personalized tour of France World War 1 & 2 Battlefields with France Just For You, crafted according to your interests and/or family history, please contact us and we will get back to you within 1 working day. In the meantime, we invite you to take a look at our World War History Tour of France, which will give you an idea of the type of itinerary we can plan for you.