Decided to visit the Canadian WWI memorial at Vimy today. Started off by visiting the Gothic basilica in St. Omar. Famous for its elaborate woodwork, it houses the tomb of the 8th century St. Erkembode, on top of which is a neat row of children's shoes placed there by parents hoping for intercession on behalf of children with walking difficulties.
Church garden St. Omar
Tomb with children's shoes
Then it was off to hilltop Cassel for a lovely lunch at the Taverne Flamande and a brief, admiring tour of the Flemish-looking town square. We popped into the church, mainly famous for having been Marshal Foch's headquarters in WWI because of its commanding view over the plains.
Plaque to Foch inside church
Reggie and lunch
Flemish-looking town square
Finally, we got to Vimy and the impressive memorial to the 11,000 Canadians who died taking this ridge overlooking the plains of Flanders beyond. It was the first time the four regiments had fought together and their success after months of failure by others, helped define Canada as more than just a British colony. The remains of trenches and shell craters still abound in the surrounding woods, after 97 years and the grounds are full of undetonated explosives.
Statues at the base
The sign in the foreground warns that there are still unexploded ordinance about, so stay off the grass behind the fences.
Though Paul's head cold was now kicking-in full strength, we managed a quick stop at Arras for its famous Place des Heroes and Flemish galleris before zipping home on the A26.