VIA FRANCIGENA

FROM ARRAS TO LAON

Trip Style

Countryside, Woodland

Availability

March to October

Highlight

War memorials and cemeteries with military history from the World Wars

Price from

820 EUR

 

Grade

VIA FRANCIGENA – FROM ARRAS TO LAON – 9 DAYS/8 NIGHTS

 

 

Walking this section, you will pass through the famous region of the Somme and have many opportunities to visit war memorials and cemeteries from both World Wars.

 

 

This walk is through tranquil countryside and woodland and it is hard to imagine the devastation that bombarded this area particularly during World War 1.

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Arrive into Arras. This architecturally visual feast is a sight to behold for its Flemish and Baroque buildings. It also has a very well preserved military history from both World Wars and has France’s largest military cemetery as well as a remarkable monument to 58,000 soldiers called the Ring of Memory. Just north of Arras there is also the Canadian War Memorial which is in memory to all Canadians who fought or gave their lives in World War I.

PACKAGE DETAILS

Day 1: Arras


Arrive into Arras. This architecturally visual feast is a sight to behold for its Flemish and Baroque buildings. It also has a very well preserved military history from both World Wars and has France’s largest military cemetery as well as a remarkable monument to 58,000 soldiers called the Ring of Memory. Just north of Arras there is the Canadian War Memorial which is in memory to all Canadians who fought or gave their lives in World War I.

Day 2: Arras to Bapaume (26km)


Leaving Arras behind you will follow a country road where in the distance you can see the spire of the church in Mercatel, the first village you will pass through today. Walking through the countryside and small villages, you will come upon small war cemeteries and churches before arriving into Bapaume, your stop for the night. Bapaume, like much of the other towns in the region, are dependent on farming and light industry. During both World Wars, this town experienced intense fighting due to its strategic position between Artois and Somme. It was liberated from the Germans in World War I, first by Australian forces, then after falling to the Germans again, by troops from New Zealand. It also required extensive rebuilding which could only take place after the dangerous work of mine-clearing was completed.

Day 3: Bapaume to Péronne (26km)


Today will see you continue walking through the region of Pas-de-Calais where you will pass more cemeteries from the World War and by crop fields that appear to go on for miles. Just before halfway through the day you will leave behind the Pas-de-Calais region and enter the ancient province of Picardie in the area known as the Somme. Passing through more tranquil villages and the countryside, you will come to Péronne where you will be spending the night. Just like Arras, Péronne was occupied by Germans during WW1 until it was liberated by Australian troops in 1918. Here, it is recommended you visit the Museum of the Great War which is housed in the medieval castle.

Day 4: Péronne to Trefcon (19km)


The walk today will pass through more crop fields and farming villages with war memorials before you enter a wood leaving behind the area of the Somme and coming to your final stop Trefcon which is in the Aisne department.

Day 5: Trefcon to St Quentin (16km)


From Trefcon to St Quentin, the walk will be relatively flat passing through further crop fields and small villages before coming to the outer suburbs of St Quentin and then the city centre itself where the Basilica of Saint-Quentin stands proud. On the site of the Basilica, there has been a religious building there since the 4th Century all of which have been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. As recent as during World War 1, the Basilica was all but destroyed, and after extensive reconstruction only reopened in 1956.

Day 6: St Quentin to Tergnier (23km)


Crossing the Canal de Saint Quentin and leaving St Quentin, you will return to walking through the crop fields before seeing in the distance your destination for today, Tergnier. Here, you will find the Musée de la résistance et de la deportation which tells of the resistance in this region and those that were deported.

Day 7: Tergnier to Cessières (23km)


From Tergnier you will leave the town and head back into the countryside, but unlike the other days to date, you will today come to be walking through the Forest of Saint Gobain. Walking through the gentle rolling hills of woodland, you will wind your way down into your stop for tonight, Cessières, which sits between two forests lending the town an element of storybook charm.

Day 8: Cessières to Laon (10km)


The walk today will be a short walk taking you to your final stop for this section, Laon, the capital of the Aisne department. Leaving the forests behind and continuing across crop fields you will slowly rise to Laon, which is set 100 meters above the Picardy plain. In Laon, you can visit the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Laon which dates from the 12th and 13th century and is a sight to behold both externally and internally. While here, why not take a ride in the only fully automated cable car system in the world the Poma 2000, which links the upper historical town centre with the lower town on the plateau.

Day 9: Laon


After breakfast we bid you farewell.

INCLUDED AND NOT

  • 8 nights in 3* hotels
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • Detailed Walking Notes
  • Francigena Holiday Pack
  • Luggage Transfer
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Entrance fees (museums, monasteries)
  • Transfer from/to airport
  • Extra night stays
  • Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
  • Dinner

Access

Fly in: Arras


The nearest international airport is Paris Charles de Gaulle. From here you can get the TGV train to Arras which takes approximately 50 minutes.
More information on the train time and price can be found on the following website here.

Fly out: Laon


As with Arras the closest international airport is Paris Charles de Gaul. From Laon you can get the TGV to Paris.
Alternatively we can arrange private transfer in either direction.

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