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Dunkirk Memorial; Notre

Dame Cathedral, Paris;

cruise on the River Seine,

Paris

Tours to

Northern France

Northern France is not too far from the UK. Travel to the

area to study about France under German Occupation and

the fall of France in World War II or enjoy the French

cultural experience and put the language to use.

Decollage V2

Dunkirk and The Fall of France

In May 1940, the Germans launched their Blitzkrieg assault on Belgium and France.

The speed and scale of this lightning form of warfare completely outmanoeuvred their

opponents, and by the end of the month, the Allied defenders found themselves trapped

by German panzers against the English Channel. In response, Britain mobilised all available

maritime resources to evacuate some 337,000 soldiers in order to be able to continue

the struggle against the Nazi regime.

Northern France under German Occupation

By 1941, the Germans were anticipating a second front to be launched against them by

the Allies from the west and accordingly, Hitler decreed that the ‘Atlantic Wall’ should be

created. These defences, made from reinforced concrete, steel and forced labour,

stretched from Norway to Spain and consisted of thousands of bunkers and gun

emplacements. As the tide turned against the Third Reich, so Hitler turned to technology

for salvation. Due to its proximity to Britain, northern France was selected as the launch

pad for Germany’s secret ‘V’ weapons

.

Éperlecques

The Blockhouse of Eperlecques is the largest bunker in Northern France and is classified

as a historical building. This monumental factory was designed to manufacture 84.8 tons

of liquid oxygen per day and to launch a maximum of 36 rockets a day. The V2 would

have targeted southern England from this area.

La Coupole

After Allied bombing raids had crippled the Blockhouse at Eperlecques, the Germans

turned their attention to La Coupole. The menacing concrete dome that emerges from

trees hides not only a rocket-launching base, but also an underground slave labour camp,

‘home’ to thousands of Russian and Polish prisoners. During your visit to La Coupole, you

might wish to include one or two of the other major exhibitions held within its complex

such as the Holocaust, the German occupation and the development of the rocket after

the Second World War.

Boulogne-sur-Mer and Nausicä

Spend one or more days in the Boulogne-sur-Mer area as an introduction to both the

French way of life and using the language. Visiting Nausicä, Centre National de la Mer, the

centre is dedicated to introducing young people of all ages to the diversity of sea life and

its conservation and has a very active Educational Department with many resources for

teachers. The nearby resort of Wimereux offers a safe beach for games and letting off

steam.

Agincourt – Azincourt

The might of the English Longbow has never been more effectively demonstrated than on

the legendary fields of Agincourt (1415). Two small outnumbered armies were able to

decisively defeat their French opponents due to the longbow. The new Medieval History

Centre in the village not only tells the story of the battle, but sets the whole bloody

conflict in context. There is a life-size knight on horse back in armour, full size talking

figures, as well as interactive exhibits (weapons and armour). It is a good starting point and

preparation for walking round the battle site.

Paris

Paris is an exciting city to visit for an educational and cultural experience and can be

combined with a full day visit to Versailles. Enjoy a three hour guided tour of the city in

English to orientate yourselves and then choose some of the many cultural, tourist and

leisure experiences. The list is endless but some of the main attractions that spring to

mind are the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de L’Armée which combines the

Artillery Museum and the Historical Army Museum, the Eiffel Tower, a walk along the

Champs Élysées, Notre Dame, a cruise on the River Seine and a trip up the

Montparnasse Tower. For leisure visit Aquaboulevard, a large aqua parc close to the

Montparnasse Tower.