France
Somme

Here you’ll find travel reports about Somme. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

52 travelers at this place:

  • Day673

    Petit Port

    April 30 in France

    It had been a rotten night in terms of weather and we woke to a rotten day. Torrential rain turned to sleet and as we began our journey, it then turned to a blizzard of snow, blown by vicious side winds in excess of 20mph. It wasn't an easy drive!

    By now we've got into the swing of getting up, travelling between between 120km and 200km, with perhaps a stop for lunch or a supermarket, then arriving at our stopover and settling in, before doing it all again the following day. Today was a little different because we had called ahead to Clinique Veternaire Vauban in Abbeville in order to get Poppy's passport stamped ready for the ferry on Thursday. There turned out to be a drop-in session in the afternoon, so we stopped in a large car park about 300m away and after Poppy had settled herself from the drive, we walked her to the clinic.

    The staff were friendly and we were seen quickly. The vet took a double take and checked she was actually 15 years old (but was convinced of the fact when she looked at her teeth). To our relief Poppy passed her clinical exam and to our surprise she voluntarily ate the worming tablet the vet held out to her (although she turned her nose up at the treats she was then offered as a reward- contrary animal!). We left with two new stamps in the passport, €40 lighter and a rather tired Poppy.

    We'd made good progress through France so had a day in hand. We were therefore able to spend 2 nights at the lovely car park at Petit Port. Situated in a rural spot between La Canal de la Somme and the smaller Contre Canal it was a pretty place, despite the persistent rain.

    The following day we relished not having to move on. Ducks and moorhens rippled the reflections on the water surface in the golden light of dawn and apart from one brief rain shower, it stayed gloriously sunny all day. 1st May is a bank holiday in France so there were many fishers stationed on both waterways, as well as an vintage car rally that stopped by for half an hour. We took a couple of enjoyable walks along the super straight towpath. It wasn't warm but the sunshine did its job and elevated our moods.

    Having time to think about it, we spent a while discussing and tweaking our travel plans for 2019 onwards, sticking months onto our European map, their colours corresponding to their year. This way we could see our journeys over space as well as time and found a few improvements we could make to our itinerary.

    The sun set with a special treat; a view of otters on the Contre Canal! For more than an hour as the sky's colours transitioned from blue, to warm oranges and reds, then faded to grey, we caught glimpses of them swimming to and fro, collecting bits of grass for their well hidden nest!
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  • Day9

    Beaumont-Hamel, France

    June 29 in France

    This is a really nice site to visit. We did a tour with a Canadian guide from Newfoundland. Her Great Uncle was killed during the battle here. The site was full of British teens on school trips and Doug felt like he was in a Harry Potter movie.

  • Day11

    We attended a private non religious ceremony/reenactment to mark the anniversary of the start of the Battle of The Somme. Numerous WW1 experts were present including Andy Robertshaw from Great Britian. Each participant was given an envelope with details of a soldier you were to read to yourself at the end. Everyone was also given a shot of rum from an original crock from the War that had some original rum in it. We were in the precise location of a British unit right beside Hawthorn Crater that was blown at the start of the attack. We mimicked the movement of the unit at the precise time they moved out that morning. Once this was complete a bagpipe player played us over to Hawthorne Crater and were the first to be given a tour and told what the plans are for this site. Andy Robertshaw with the help of a military engineer told us what all the items we had found in the battlefields were. We then had breakfast in the village.Read more

  • Day37

    France Amiens

    July 14, 2017 in France

    We left Amsterdam bright and early so as we could weave our way through the canals and roadworks, still took half an hour to go a couple of kms! On the way to Amiens we stopped off at Villars Bretonnoux and visited the Australian World War One memorial there. Man what an emotional place, we both had tears as we wandered the site. It is a very moving place and was quite damaged during the Second World War with the stonework showing many bullet holes. Beautifully looked after by the French.The connection to Australia is very strong in this village as the Aussie forces rescued it from the Germans and assisted in the rebuilding of the village after the war. We had lunch at the Victoria cafe, there are kangaroo symbols all over the place as well as other signage referencing Australiana. Onto Amiens, a delightful town that has canals and interesting old buildings in the town centre and has an enormous Cathedral at its centre. It is Bastille Day in France today so last night there was a huge fireworks display set to music which we watched with many thousands of French people. Was spectacular. Off today to explore and enjoy Bastille Day. Viva Le France!Read more

  • Day432

    More driving today! First stop was just up the coast from Le Havre, a small coastal town called Etretat. Its main drawcard feature are large white chalky cliffs exactly like you get at Dover, though these are slightly smaller and probably a little less impressive. Still very cool though, and interesting to think about since the English coast isn't all that far away (though this is much further than the Dover-Calais distance).

    The town itself was quite cute as well, and seemed to be very popular. We'd arrived around 9:30 and by the time we left at 11 it was getting quite full. A few nice little streets, knick-knack shops and the like. But quite kitsch and touristy - nice to know that the French aren't above that after all, it's not all Chanel and macarons!

    Back in the car where we drove another few hours to the north-east, heading to the city of Amiens. This is home to one of the famous French gothic cathedrals, Notre-Dame de Amiens. It's obviously a World Heritage site, so we found a car park underground, left Schnitzel in the car and spent a couple of hours filming inside and out. We're getting pretty good at these, spotting the differences and so on. I do sometimes wonder whether it's necessary to have every single huge French gothic cathedral on the list though - maybe just the best one, or combine them or something. I dunno.

    Finished here, we headed to the outskirts of the city where we had our apartment for the next two nights. It was a loft studio located in the upper floor of a yuppie couple's terrace house. Aside from being let in, we had basically no contact with them. It was quite nice and freshly renovated, though up quite a few stairs!

    Not having any cooking facilities, we headed out to a nearby McDonalds for dinner! Very surprised to see a banner welcoming Australians to the McDonalds, and then realised that it was ANZAC Day in a couple of days, and this was in the Western Front area. What a coincidence!
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  • Day38

    France, Amiens

    July 15, 2017 in France

    Had a lazy start to the day....slept in, breakfast late. Had planned on just walking the main sights of this lovely city. We had been told by the concierge to take a boat trip to "Des Hortillages" - floating islands that have been formed from peat bogs some 2000 years ago. These islands are now small plots with a small house and large veggie garden - they really are quite amazing. You travel on a flat bottomed barge type boat through little canals that weave their way through the islands. No roads, no cars, and incredibly quiet given they are right in the middle of the city. From there we strolled to the house Jules Verne lived in for 18 years. It's not open to public, there is just a sign telling you that where he lived, from there on the La Cirque, a beautiful old building that had copped a bit of damage in the war and has been rebuilt and is still under going works today. Amiens was apparently a key target of interest to the invading forces in both wars and most of the buildings have received damage. There is a fabulous museum building, not open to the public that had significant damage, was rebuilt, and is now undergoing major renovations. It's a pit we couldn't go in, it looked pretty impressive. We had a pretty lazy day, finishing off with drinks no dinner by the river. Off to our next stop, Dinan, where we are out of hotels (yay!) and have our our cottage for a week. Can't wait.Read more

  • Day62

    Battlefields of France

    September 3, 2017 in France

    Snapshot
    Where - Normandy Region of France
    Weather - mixture, some showers, some sun

    Leaving Belgium we headed to France and have spent the next few days in Brad's element - visiting the area where significant war time battles were held. It is not really high on my list of interests but I must admit I have a greater understanding of what happened here during WWII.

    Before we went to Normandy, we drove to Villers Bretonneux - a village in northern France that was totally devastated during WWI - and has special ties to Australia because Australian soldiers stopped a counter attack by the Germans (with significant loss of life.) Apparently, most of the soldiers came from Victoria and when the returned they asked all the schoolchildren to donate a penny to go towards rebuilding the school in Villers Bretonneux. They raised around £12,000 (a lot of money back then) and to this day the school is called The Victoria School and the sign above the school says " Never Forget Australia". There is a Franco-Australian Museum in the town (where the school is ) and just outside the town is the war memorial located on the site where the battle was fought. It is hard to believe that 100 years ago (next year, coincidentally on 25th April), the surrounding land was battle scarred when to look at it today it is peaceful farmland.

    We are staying for 3 nights in a little old fisherman's cottage in the town of Ouisterham (pronounced Wee Strum). We have the place to ourselves which is good for a change, even if it is a rather odd little place on three levels with narrow spiral stairs to the 2nd level and a kind of step ladder stair to the bedroom. Very quirky but it was fine for exploring the Normandy area.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Département de la Somme, Departement de la Somme, Somme, Soma

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