From Normandy to the Bulge: The First Division’s Race Across Europe

September 5-16, 2021

 

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For more information, or to make a reservation, call 1.877.298.9677 or email reservations@academic-travel.com

The First Division of the U.S. Army has provided exemplary military service since their inception in 1917. Nowhere has this proven truer than in the fields and woods of Europe during World War II. The Big Red One saw action across the European Theater, from the landings at Omaha Beach to the dreaded Battle of the Bulge.

On this 12-day journey, learn the history of this storied division as they blazed a path through Europe. Walk Omaha Beach and see the German bunkers they destroyed in Normandy. Explore the city of Aachen, the first German city to fall to the Allies courtesy of the 1st Infantry Division, and hike the trails of the Hürtgen Forest. Discover the North Shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge, a line held by the 1st Division, and visit memorials and cemeteries across the region to pay your respects.

“Into the Jaws of Death” The 16th Infantry Regiment lands on Omaha Beach

Highlights

  • Gain perspective and understanding about the U.S. Army’s 1st Division and their campaigns in World War II in the company of historian Jacquelyn Gillaspie.
  • Walk along the beaches of Normandy and explore seldom seen artillery batteries as you get an in-depth perspective on the historic coastal landings by Allied forces, including the 1st Division assault on Omaha.
  • Pay homage to the fallen at The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, where local citizens have adopted the grave sites of the fallen, and lay a wreath in their honor.
  • Explore the North Shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge, where 1st Division soldiers held off advancing German Panzer divisions and ensured that the line would hold.
American Cemetery, Normandy

Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to France
Sunday, September 5
Arrive in Paris and transfer to Bayeux. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 2 – The Battle of Normandy
Monday, September 6
Explore the village of Sainte-Mère-Église, where American paratroopers dropped from the sky on June 5. View the church steeple upon which one paratrooper was entangled for hours, and visit the village’s Airborne Museum. Enjoy lunch at Le Roosevelt, a restaurant built around a former German bunker. Walk on the sand at Utah Beach, then journey to Pointe du Hoc. Walk along clifftop pathways and venture into the concrete bunkers from which German forces unleashed a barrage of artillery fire, then visit the German war cemetery at La Cambe. (B,L)

Day 3 – Operation Overlord
Tuesday, September 7
Begin today exploring the Atlantic Wall, a series of fortifications built by the Germans. Visit WN-60, the first German resistance nest taken by the 1st Division and WN-62, the most powerful Nazi resistance nest on the Omaha coast and the location of the memorial to the 1st Division.
Continue to Omaha Beach and visit Ray’s Rock, named in honor of medic Ray Lambert whose heroics saved countless lives. At the American military cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, lay a wreath in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This evening, dine at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Across France
Wednesday, September 8
Visit Pegasus Memorial Bridge and Museum and hear a private talk by the director of the museum. Then, travel to Arromanches where remnants of the prefabricated concrete harbor still stand. After a leisurely lunch, travel to a Calvados distillery and try a few varieties yourself. Continue to Amiens and enjoy dinner tonight at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 – A Day in Amiens
Thursday, September 9
Begin your day with a guided tour of Amiens. Visit the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame of Amiens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and hear how it survived both World Wars. Stroll through the quarter of Saint-Leu, an area of narrow streets and canals lined with colorful houses and boutiques. Afterwards, enjoy lunch and the rest of the day at leisure. (B)

Day 6 – Onward to Germany
Friday, September 10
Journey to Aachen, the first German city to fall to the Allies courtesy of the 1st Division. On the way, stop in the Belgian town of Mons. Explore the Grand-Place square and visit a local Belgian micro-brewery, where you will experience a guided tour and tasting. Enjoy lunch on your own before continuing on to Aachen. Dine tonight at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 7 – Battle of Aachen
Saturday, September 11
Learn how the 1st Division isolated and attacked Aachen, Germany until it capitulated. Explore the famous sites, including Farwick Park and the Lousberg bunker, the Wehrmacht command center during the battle. Afterwards visit the Laufenburg, a 12th-century castle taken by the 1st Division during the War. Enjoy time in Aachen for lunch, then visit the Margraten, the only cemetery in Holland where American soldiers lay at rest. (B)

Day 8 – Battle of Hürtgen Forest
Sunday, September 12
Explore the Hürtgen Forest on a hike and see the vestiges of the battle still visible in the forest, including foxholes and minefields. Continue to Merode, where the German’s extensive trench system has been preserved, and see the restored Merode Castle. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then visit the 1944 Hürtgen Forest Museum for a guided tour with the museum curator. Afterwards travel to Malmedy and enjoy dinner tonight at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Bastogne & the Battle of the Bulge
Monday, September 13
Explore Bastogne and dive into the infamous Battle of the Bulge. Visit the Battle of the Bulge Museum at La Roche-en-Ardenne, followed by a tour of the perimeter of Bastogne, which will include Kessler Farm and the Bois Jacques. Enjoy a lunch at leisure before continuing to the Mardasson Memorial, which honors the memory of American soldiers who were wounded or killed during the Battle of the Bulge. (B)

Day 10 – Battle of the Bulge – the North Shoulder
Tuesday, September 14
Travel to the Siegfried Line at the Losheim Gap, where the German Sixth Panzer Army launched its attack. Visit important battle sites such as Elsenborn Ridge, St. Vith, and La Gleize, where American forces fought desperately to stem the German tide. Travel to Hot Corner, a patch of land the 1st Division held against the Germans. Stop at Malmedy, site of an infamous massacre, in which more than 80 American POWs were shot to death by their German captors. (B,L)

Day 11 – Return to Paris
Wednesday, September 15
En route to Paris, take a guided tour of a Champagne cellar in the Epernay region and sip a glass of champagne to celebrate your journey. Enjoy lunch at leisure in Reims, where on May 7, 1945 General Eisenhower received the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht. Then, visit the Museum of the Great War in Meaux before arriving in Paris this evening for your farewell reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 12 – Homeward Bound
Thursday, September 16
After breakfast, transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for individual flights home. (B)

(B,L,R,D denotes included breakfasts, lunches, receptions, and dinners)

 

Aachen, Germany’s Cathedral

Accommodations

Hotel Churchill
Bayeux, France
Located in the heart of Bayeux, the Hotel Churchill boasts a rich World War II heritage and a large collection of related memorabilia. The warm and cozy rooms are traditionally decorated and offer hair dryers and bathrobes. Number of nights: 3

Mercure Amiens Cathedral
Amiens, France
Located steps away from the Amiens cathedral, the Mercure Amiens Cathedral is the perfect place to rest your head. The recently renovated restaurant and bar are relaxing places to grab a bite and rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi and modern décor. Number of nights: 2

Aquis Grana City Hotel
Aachen, Germany
The Aquis Grana City Hotel is a four-star property located meters from Aachen Cathedral. Spacious rooms featuring elegant bathrooms, a laptop safe, satellite TV and stylish bar are just a few of the property’s many highlights. Number of nights: 2

MY Hotel
Malmedy, Belgium
MY Hotel combines high class comfort with a contemporary twist to provide a relaxing stay. Soothing earth tones and minimalist décor influence each space. Rooms are sleek and clean, and include a hair dryer and Wi-Fi. Number of nights: 3

Hotel Château Frontenac
Paris, France
Located just off the Champs-Élysées, the four-star Hotel Château Frontenac is an elegant Parisian hotel. With recently renovated rooms, on-site restaurant and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, and in room coffee-and-tea making facilities, guests will find a true oasis. Number of Nights: 1

Tour Price

Price per person, based on double occupancy: $6,795
Price per person, based on single occupancy: $8,045
September 5-16, 2021

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Please note that the First Division Museum offers this travel experience as a way
to engage our audience and does not benefit financially from this trip.

Terms and Conditions

 

What Is Included

  • All accommodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation within the itinerary unless otherwise indicated
  • All sightseeing as specified in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Gratuities to porters, drivers, and guides
  • Transfers to and from airports for those arriving or departing according to the designated itinerary

 

What Is Not Included

  • U.S. domestic or international airfare or other transportation from your home to the departure point of the trip and from the end point of the trip to your home
  • Travel and trip cancellation insurance
  • Passport, visa, airport departure and excess baggage fees
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; food and beverages not part of the included meals
  • Personal items such as telephone, fax and internet charges, laundry, room service, alcoholic or other beverages not specified as included
  • Gratuities for non-group services

For more information, or to make a reservation, call 1.877.298.9677 or email reservations@academic-travel.com