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Last days in France

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Sunday 18th September

Sunday morning and we had a slow start with toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The overnight car park was very quiet and in the morning the valley was very foggy. We could hear the sounds of gun shots and when we looked down into the valley could see a row of hunters with their dogs walking through the fields. Did not work out what they were shooting at but as we drove that morning we saw many other hunters in the fields.

Gerberoy

Gerberoy is a small quiet picturesque village and as we were already parked on the site we were the first tourists to stroll through the streets. The cafes and restaurants weren’t open and the first sign of life we saw was an art exhibition which was shared by several artists. A lady was doing some mosaic work and explained what she was doing and about the glass work she had done. She invited us to have a look at the gallery and the sculptures in the back yard. As the morning progressed a few more people joined us in the village. It was good to get some photos of a place without masses of tourists in the way.

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We were lucky that no tourists had arrived and we could take some great photos.

We were lucky that no tourists had arrived and we could take some great photos.

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I don't think this door gets used very often.

I don’t think this door gets used very often.

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A sculpture in the artists back garden.

A sculpture in the artists back garden.

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Another interesting door in Gerberoy. The place was full of them but we limited only 2 for the blog.

Another interesting door in Gerberoy. The place was full of them but we limited only 2 for the blog.

Amiens

Heading to the Villers-Bretonneux war memorial, Amiens was along the route, as it was a Sunday we found an easy car park near to the centre of the town and after having lunch in the van we strolled in.

These were made with used wooden cable rolls. They also made chairs and other interesting items. On the way

These were made with used wooden cable rolls. They also made chairs and other interesting items. On the way

Ornate clock we saw on the way to the church.

Ornate clock we saw on the way to the church.

The Amiens Cathedral is famous and is the largest of its type in the world. It is supposed to house the relic of John the Baptist’s head and all through the church are statues, carvings and paintings depicting John either being decapitated or his head being held aloft. The other famous sculpture in the church is “The Weeping Angel” a 17th century piece of artwork adorning a tomb.

The Amiens Cathedral.

The Amiens Cathedral.

Plenty of depictions of John the Baptist getting his head cut off. A bit grim !!

Plenty of depictions of John the Baptist getting his head cut off. A bit grim !!

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This is the Weeping Angel.

This is the Weeping Angel.

After the church we headed to the old canal area where we stopped for crepe suzettes and coffee, very delicious.

Houses by the canal in the older part of town.

Houses by the canal in the older part of town.

Lori enjoying the crepe Suzette.

Lori enjoying the crepe Suzette.

Villers-Bretonneux

We drove to the town of Villers-Bretonneux late in the afternoon and were surprized that the Franco Australian Museum was still open. Entry that day was free as it was Heritage Day in France. Built in 1923-1927, the school is the gift from the children of the state of Victoria, Australia, to the children of Villers-Bretonneux as proof of their love and good-will towards France. The museum is situated next to the Victoria school and is in a temporary building while the old one is under refurbishment.

The school was built with money donated by Australians.

The school was built with money donated by Australians.

The museum is in a temporary home as a new building is being built.

The museum is in a temporary home as the building is being renovated.

A short drive out from the village is the memorial and cemetery. We had been to this site a few times but this time the place resembled a building site as work was being carried out for new carparks and an interpretive centre at the rear.

The place is undergoing some building works.

The place is undergoing some building works.

Behind the tower we could see the new center being built. It looks like it will be a very big place.

Behind the tower we could see the new center being built. It looks like it will be a very big place.

That night we stayed next to a small river on the edge of the village Aubigny. Found the place on the park4night app, very quiet place alongside picnic areas.

Monday

Battlefields and cemeteries of WW1

We had a busy morning spent visiting places related to WW1. First stopping at the town of Albert, then to the Welsh memorial at Mametz wood, Posiers, the Somme memorial at Thiepval and finishing up at Beaumont –Hamel.

A fancy town hall in the town of Corby.

A fancy town hall in the town of Corby.

A different looking town hall in the town of Albert.

A different looking Church in the town of Albert.

Ewout with a digger in the square of Albert.

Ewout with a digger in the square of Albert.

The church in Albert was almost entirely destroyed in WW1

The church in Albert was almost entirely destroyed in WW1

The Welsh Dragon in Mametz.

The Welsh Dragon in Mametz.

The memorial looks out of the place where the battle took place in the forest.

The memorial overlooks where the battle took place in the forest.

This is what you see when you drive into the town of Poziers.

This is what you see when you drive into the town of Poziers.

The memorial to the missing of the Somme battle,in Thiepval.

The memorial to the missing of the Somme battle,in Thiepval.

In the large memorial at Beaumont- Hamel the battle fields have been preserved and you can walk in the actual trenches of WW1

In the large memorial at Beaumont- Hamel the battle fields have been preserved and you can walk in the actual trenches of WW1

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Beaumont - Hamel is a Canadian site and a memorial has been erected showing a caribou.

Beaumont – Hamel is a Canadian site and a memorial has been erected showing a caribou.

We are now heading north and the route took us through the town of Arras a place we hadn’t planned on stopping, but as we drove through we found a car park close to the town centre and we stopped to have a look. Arras had some large squares but they were mainly used for car parks and the place lacked atmosphere. After a coffee and cake we were on the road again heading to Lens.

At Lens our plan was to park in the aire next to the McDonalds and stay the night. However the motorhome parking area was full and it was a noisy place. The services cost 3 euros and an English man paid the fee and filled his water tank. The water kept going so the other nearby motorhomes came out armed with watering cans and also filled up. Not to be left out we did the same, the water continued and all the motorhomes were full, it did eventually stop after running for 30 minutes.

Our overnight spot near a river. Much better than the McDonald's car park in the town.

Our overnight spot near a river. Much better than the McDonald’s car park in the town.

We used the wifi at McDonalds and on our Park4night app we found a place to sleep which was in a forest and about 9 kms from where we were. A really nice area where the locals have made boules areas. They were playing there as we arrived but as it got dark we had the place to ourselves.

2 Responses so far.

  1. jhclutt67 says:

    Amazing photos. Though we have been to the Somme twice you showed there is still much to see.

  2. chausson8a says:

    If you’re in the area, a visit to the Australian 5th Division Memorial and Cemetery at Polygon Wood in Belgium is worth a detour. You can park for free in the car park of the Taverne de Dreve cafe, where the enthusiastic owner runs a museum with loads of Australian memorabilia. We went in July this year: http://www.vanvoyage.co.uk/2016/07/polygon-wood.html. His beer is good too!

    Enjoy your trip.

    Paul

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