Tag Archives: wwii

Exclusive D-Day Private Package with Context Travel

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2019 promises to be a huge year in terms of D-Day events in France, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of this historic landing. with commemorations all across Normandy, Paris and London. So you can bet that availability for tours this summer are extremely limited!

Which is why we were thrilled when Context Travel, one of the most esteemed guides in the world, announced a special D-Day overnight tour running this year.

If you’re lucky enough to be in France this year and a military history buff, it just might be up your alley.

The tour includes a full two days of insight the historic event from a French perspective, including the daily life of Parisians at the time, with an excursion to the Normandy beaches.

No online booking available! Call your WIT Travel Agent to book – but hurry as spaces are extremely limited! 503-224-0180 or inquiry@wittravel.com.

Subject to availability of Context Travel’s specialist guides. 

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75th ANNIVERSARY D-DAY PRIVATE TOUR PACKAGE

from $2648

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visits both Paris and Normandy
  • The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
  • Juno Beach
  • Omaha Beach
  • Place de la Concorde
  • Champs-Elysées
  • Normandy Beaches
  • École Militaire

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Day One

We’ll pick up our story in the Paris of 1940, exploring what life was like in the city under the four years of Nazi Occupation. Over the course of roughly 3 hours, we’ll learn about individuals like Helen Berr, Marchal Pétain, Sacha Guidry, François Mitterrand, the French Gestapo group Bonny-Lafont, and artists like Chanel and Picasso, using their stories as a window into the Occupation, the French Resistance, and the experiences of Jewish families living in Paris up to the Allied liberation in 1944. Our route will weave from the Left Bank to the Right, visiting sites relevant to the Occupation years like the Champs Elysees (where Hitler’s Grand Tour took place) and the Place de la Concorde. We’ll finish by discussing what happened to German collaborators, the return and reaction of Jewish survivors to their homes in Paris, and how France has since managed the historical weight of this turbulent period.

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Day Two

On our second day, we’ll pivot from a strictly Parisian viewpoint to take in a broader understanding of D-Day itself with a 12-hour excursion to Normandy. Starting in Paris, you’ll take a 2-hour train to meet your Context expert and driver at the Caen station. We’ll vary our particular stops based on the interests of your group, but typical sites along the Normandy beaches and coastline include Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Normandy American Cemetery, and Arromanches (where we’ll discuss Operation Overlord). In the company of your expert, you’ll witness firsthand the cliffs, beaches, and fortifications that were the site of the greatest amphibious landing in history as well as unspeakable losses on both sides.

Those venturing back to Paris will follow the footsteps of Allied soldiers as they officially reclaimed the French capital in August 1944, a mere 10 weeks after the D-Day landings. Regardless of your next destination, our two days examining the decisive impact of D-Day on France will leave us with a greater understanding of World War II in Europe as a whole.

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More posts with Context Travel: 

Japan for Families

London Walking Tours with Context Travel

Stockholm with Context Travel

Vatican After-Hours

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Finding Dad, My Hero

This week we are featuring a Guest Blogger, Rick Stiggins. With the assistance of Willamette International Travel, Rick and his wife Nancy traveled to France in the summer of 2012 to find the final resting spot of Nancy’s father, who died in World War Two.

Finding Dad, My Hero

By Rick Stiggins

My wife, Nancy, was conceived in 1943 and her dad, Captain Robert Cannon, went to war and never returned.  He died in the Battle of Riepertswiller in northeast France on January 17, 1945—within a few months of the end of the war.  He was a decorated and highly-respected officer who refused his general’s orders to return home—he would not leave his comrades until the war was won.  Though she had never been held by her daddy, Nancy has always felt a very close bond to him and has always wanted to visit the place where he fought his final battle.  With the help of Willamette International Travel, she got her wish on Armistice Day, 2012.

Nancy’s Mom had been contacted after the war by a retired officer who, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, was researching that particular battle and who requested details about her husband.  Inspired, Nancy later discovered old family files that included the officer’s detailed day-by-day description of the battle.  Captain Cannon had led his 45th Infantry team up a small valley in the countryside just outside of Riepertswiller, intending to rescue a surrounded unit at the head of the valley.  Unfortunately, they were overwhelmed by German forces and he died on a hillside in the winter snow.  The report included a hand-drawn map revealing where he had died.

Using Google Maps and Google Earth pictures, we tried to match the terrain around the village with the geographic features of the map.  The Defense Department also provided maps of the changing battle lines during January, 1945.

With all of this background information in hand, we teamed up with good friends from Geneva who were fluent in French, and headed for the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.  We arrived in Riepertswiller on a bright May morning to begin our search.  Prior contacts with the local mayor had revealed that the only local person who might have been able to help us was away.  So we were on our own.

We found one small valley on the edge of this beautiful little farm village and start comparing our map with the features of the landscape—but they didn’t match.  We moved on.  Just a bit farther north of town, we found our target—a lovely, thickly forested valley with three hills on the right.  Her father had died on the third hill.  A logging road provided our hiking pathway and we were able to get very close to this hillside.  If one’s spirit were to be located in one place for eternity, it would be hard to find a more peaceful or beautiful place.  Nancy had brought with her a small plaque to honor her hero.  It said in French, “The most beautiful things in the world are not those that we see, but those that we feel with our hearts.” We attached it to a tree, spoke a few words to and about him, cried, and went away feeling that we had fulfilled a lifelong dream.

Later in our journey, we traveled to Normandy where we learned about and thanked many more heroes.  Theirs was a special generation.

Rick and Nancy finished their trip with a week in Paris and days in Vaux le Victome and Normandy. We at Willamette International Travel frequently work with travelers to customize itineraries based on individual needs and preferences. Call us at 800.821.0401 or email info@wittravel.com to start planning your custom trip today!

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