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Vimy

Can anyone tell me what there is to do at the Vimy Memorial besides walking around admiring it?

Posted by
8293 posts

We went to find and photograph the names of two great-uncles who had died there. Why are you going?

Posted by
32 posts

We are going to pay our respects to all the Canadians that died and remember their sacrifice. We don’t know of any family members.

Posted by
430 posts

You can easily spend a couple of hours there. There is the splendid Memorial, wonderful view of the surrounding countryside, several cemeteries, tunnel and trench tours, and the visitor's center. The 250 acre site has been set aside in honor of the WW1 battle and Canadians who fought and died there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_National_Vimy_Memorial .

Posted by
3681 posts

I've seen the memorial in bright sunlight and on misty grey days; each mood is moving.

The fairly new visitors' centre contains artifacts and interpretations of the site. Guided tours of the battlefield are conducted by Canadian university students. Try to be there in good time to include the astonishing attack tunnels; they close earlier than the rest of the grounds. The Canadian students also provide tours at Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial.
The picturesque city of Arras, the jumping-off place for most Vimy tours, has plenty of history of its own in both of the World Wars.

Posted by
133 posts

Vimy was the highlight of our month-long trip to France last year. We stayed in Lille and took the train to Arras where we were met by a taxi driver who took us out to the memorial. As others have said, the tour given by the Canadian university students is excellent. We timed our arrival to be able to take the first tour of the day. The visitor's centre has a lot to see and hear as well. But it was the walk out to the memorial itself after the tour of the trenches that we will never forget. The day was grey, overcast and drizzly rain at times. There were hardly any other visitors (mid-September) so we had lots of time and space to reflect on all we had heard and seen in the visitor centre. The views from the memorial out over the valley below were beautiful in a poignant way, and made bucolic with the grazing sheep in the fields surrounding the memorial. We later went to the D-Day beaches and were deeply disappointed in the swarms of tourists and all that implies - ice cream and souvenir shops, motor coaches and packs of people following tour guides. In contrast, the quiet isolation of Vimy gave us the chance to really reflect on the sacrifices of war and in general, the inanity of war. On the way back to Arras, our taxi driver toured us through a number of graveyards scattered throughout the area and gave us some more history and context. It was a quiet train ride back to Lille.
So in answer to your question - there isn't much to do at Vimy. But it certainly did something to us.