Battle of Fromelles Centenary
Prepare your trip to France & stay in Paris
This is the centenary year of the Battle of Fromelles on the Western Front, which occurred between July 19th and 20th, 2016. Each year more and more Australians are travelling to the battlefields of Northern France to pay their respects to the soldiers who fought for freedom alongside French forces and their Allies against the German invaders. France has never forgotten the sacrifices made on their behalf. The towns and villages of Northern France are dotted with memorials, graves and battle sites, which are maintained with the dignity commensurate to the gravity of the events that unfolded.
“A profoundly moving experience”
In April last year I was fortunate enough to visit the battlefields of Northern France. It was an opportunity to witness for myself the locations of many battles and also to discover more about the dramatic events that took place. It was a profoundly moving experience, and it felt like a pilgrimage to go there and to pay ones respects to those who gave so much. The Battle of Fromelles was the first battle fought by Australian soldiers (the First AIF including three brigades of the 5th Australian Division) on the Western Front. The Australian War Memorial has described the battle as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history”. The Australians suffered 5,533 casualties (either killed, wounded or taken prisoner) in one night and it was an unprecedented disaster. Directed against a strong German offensive the battle was fought alongside British forces and it was intended primarily as a diversion to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive which was going on further to the South by other Allied forces since July 1st. Heavy losses were also suffered by the British forces, as well as the Germans during this battle.
Special commemorative events have been planned for this years 100th Anniversary, and further general information can be obtained by visiting websites including: The Australian War Memorial, the French Embassy in Canberra (Australia), and Atout France (the French Government Tourist Office).
It is very easy to travel from Paris to the battlefields of Northern France on either local trains or aboard the very fast and comfortable TGV trains. The region is also renowned for its unique cuisine, wines and other places of historical interest.
Stay in Paris for Bastille day
These commemorative events are also taking place close to the celebrations hosted in Paris for Bastille Day, on July 14th, which includes a spectacular military parade down the iconic Avenue Champs Elysee. This is usually followed by spectacular fire works in the evening over the Eiffel Tower and is not to be missed.
Book a luxurious apartment in Paris
During your stay in Paris before and after your participation in these commemorative events we invite you to stay in one of our luxurious apartments located on Ile Saint Louis, or the Marais area of Paris. Many apartments include spectacular views of the River Seine, or Notre Dame Cathedral and we also offer a full range of concierge services. Our dedicated and friendly team at Guest Apartment Services Paris will be able to assist you with your plans to ensure that your special visit to France for these centenary events is truly unforgettable.
Christine Courtenay AM (Sydney, Australia) – January 2016.