Where should I visit in The Somme?
March 26, 2006 4:39 AM   Subscribe

Where should I visit in The Somme? I'm off there this week, primarily to trace the actions of the Sheffield City Battalion which was focused on the village of Serre. But where else should I visit while I'm there? What are the must see things in the region. I am staying in Albert.
posted by chill to Travel & Transportation around Montevideo, France (7 answers total)
Its not in The Somme per se, but the Douaumont Ossuary in Verdun is a WWI monument/graveyard I have always wanted to see.
posted by TedW at 6:43 AM on March 26, 2006

Visit the Beaumont Hamel Memorial site and be sure to see the Noufoundland memorial there. This is the most important piece of international history for Noufoundland and also it's saddest day. July 1st is still a day of mourning for Nfld.

Newfoundland thought that the war would be a short one, and so it sent it's finest men overseas. The Newfoundland Regiment Battalion ration strength on June 30, 1916, was 1044 all ranks, including administrative staff and attached personnel...So far as can be ascertained, twenty two officers and 758 other ranks were directly involved in the advance. Of these, all the officers and slightly under 658 other ranks became casualties...Of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only sixty eight were available for roll call the following day.

From the site I linked to above. Lots of good info in there.
posted by furtive at 7:35 AM on March 26, 2006

Sorry, that should read Newfoundland. sigh
posted by furtive at 7:36 AM on March 26, 2006

I really like the Baie de Somme area. You can take a guided walk across the bay to learn about the ecosystem there, see the seals, and taste a type of seaweed that is used in salads. There are also occasional evening festivals with fish fry-ups and Breton musicians singing old sea shanties that are just magical.
posted by hazyjane at 8:18 AM on March 26, 2006

The Jardins de Valloires at the Abbaye de Valloirs is very pleasant. (Some of my photos from there.) The towns south of the Baie de la Somme have seen better times although St-Valery-sur-Somme is charming with some decent commerce. Have the moules-frites at the little restaurant on the beach (at the end of the Quai Jeanne d'Arc) if the weather is nice. The area uphill from there (the medieval town is good to explore on foot. There's a good (but not great -- you're in the wrong part of France for great) créperie just uphill from the main gate. I've forgotten the street name and am having trouble pinpointing it on a map but it is just off the plaza at the town hall. A good boulangerie is there as well where you can try the local speciality of meat and potatoes in a pie.

Up river, Amiens has what some consider to be the finest Gothic cathedral in the world. It's nave is grander than any.

To the north, Arras has a fine town square of Flemish style architecture.

To the south, is Beauvais, whose Gothic cathedral was never completed due to its overly ambitous height.

If you go as far as Lille, you'll find excellent museums and you are then not far from Ypres which has an excellent WWI museum.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:20 AM on March 26, 2006

Update time.
I went to the Newfoundland Memorial park as suggested. Very good.
Photos of the trip here and here.
posted by chill at 5:57 AM on April 6, 2006

Nice photos and excellent captions chill.
posted by furtive at 8:39 AM on April 9, 2006

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