The Monument to the 37th British division, the La Targette French National Necropolis, the Seaforth Highlanders Memorial, the New Zealand Memorial, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park, the German War Cemetery, Indian and Chinese Cemeteries, among others… One hundred years after the Great War, the nations of the world are still present in Arras Pays d’Artois, on the Remembrance Trails. Along an itinerary taking in twenty key sites distributed across the territory, remembrance tourism pays everlasting tribute to all those who fell on the front.
A decimated abbey, authentic military items of the period, a small memorial in red brick nestling in the woods: three locations, three different ways of remembering the Great War.
While the first stands witness to the violence of the battles that raged on the hills of Arras (Towers of Mont Saint-Eloi), the second tells us about life for soldiers on the front (the museum Jean & Denise Letaille, Bullecourt 1917) and the third is an ode to courage (Sheffield Memorial Park in Hébuterne), they are all on the First World War Remembrance Trails. A circuit comprising some twenty stops spread across the region of Arras Pays d’Artois.
The world reunited
New Zealanders in Grévillers, British in Arras, French in Neuville-Saint-Vaast, Canadians in Dury and even Indians and Chinese in Ayette! !
The Remembrance Trails once again bring together the nations who fought side by side during the First World War. While collective tributes primarily take the form of cemeteries and necropolises, they are occasionally supplemented by more individual touches. The Scottish have built a cairn (a tower of granite) in Athies, the Newfoundlanders have their Caribou at Monchy-le-Preux and the Canadians have converted two shell craters in cemeteries (Thélus and Neuville Saint-Vaast).
Bringing the peoples of the world together
The Remembrance Trails have other virtues too. They honour the combatants without distinction.
This is demonstrated by the presence of German war cemeteries at Saint-Laurent-Blangy and Neuville-Saint-Vaast. The Trails also reunite allies. Again in Neuville-Saint-Vaast, the French necropolis lies adjacent to the British cemetery. They also recall significant acts such as the donation by France of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park, in gratitude for the heavy human sacrifice made by that young nation. Finally, one hundred years after the conflict, the Remembrance Trails are an advocate for peace. As illustrated by the very moving Monument to the Fraternizations in Neuville-Saint-Vaast.
Remembrance Trail, in practice
- The Great War Cycling Trail in Artois (3 hours – Distance: 18,33 miles )