The European Heritage Days are an opportunity to raise awareness of the cultural and architectural heritage that shaped civilisations throughout history. A greater understanding of history helps us to build a better future. During this international event, several sites on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front will be proposing exclusive activities and events for their visitors.
Photo rally, from the Sir John Monash Centre to the Franco-Australian Museum in Villers-Bretonneux.
Through the wealth of its collections, the Franco-Australian museum highlights the building of Franco-Australian remembrance. It houses many objects – letters, maps, paintings, posters, uniforms and especially photographs, mainly donated by the local population.
During the European Heritage Days, the Sir John Monash Centre and the Franco-Australian Museum are joining forces, offering a unique experience to be shared as a team, with friends or with members of the family. Discover the emblematic sites of Villers-Bretonneux and take part in a photo rally while learning more about the Diggers and their history.
To take part, visit the Sir John Monash Centre or the Franco-Australian Museum on Saturday 21st September and Sunday 22nd September between 9:30am and 5:00pm. Remember to bring your headphones!
Discover Jean & Denise Letaille’s collection of battlefield artefacts true testaments to the Australian, British and German presence in Bullecourt, in 1917.
Over time, a married couple of local farmers from Bullecourt gathered an impressive collection of objects found in their fields and in the surrounding countryside. Weapons, military equipment and personal belongings from Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom were found on the former front line alongside men who fell during the two battles of Bullecourt in April and May 1917.
Gathered in the museum, these relics tell the story of one of the deadliest, yet little known, episodes of the Great War. Above all, they tell the story of the Diggers, these brave soldiers who came from the other side of the world to serve on the Western Front.
Free entry on Saturday 21st September from 1:30pm to 6pm and Sunday 22nd September from 10am to 12:30pm and from 1:30pm to 6pm.
The Australian Girls’ Choir live at Vignacourt
During the Great War, Vignacourt was an important rear base for Allied soldiers. Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, a couple of farmers who were passionate about new technologies, had a plate camera, rare equipment at the beginning of the 20th century. Louis taught Antoinette how to use it and they improvised a photo studio in the farmyard. A sheet was stretched out as a backdrop, and civilians as well as soldiers came to be photographed. At the end of the war, the photos were stored in the attic and forgotten for almost a century. This unique collection of photographs is now displayed in the Vignacourt 14-18 Museum.
During the European Heritage Days, the town of Vignacourt, in partnership with the “Maison des Australiens”, has the pleasure of welcoming the Australian Girls’ Choir who will perform an exceptional concert.
The concert will take place on Sunday 22nd September at 5:00pm in the hall. Free entry.
Free guided tours at the Museum of the Battle of Fromelles
The Battle of Fromelles took place on 19 and 20 July 2016, and saw one British and one Australian Division launch an attack on their Bavarian counterparts. The battle was brutal, and close to 7000 casualties were reported in less than 24 hours. Many of the soldiers who fell during this battle were never recovered.
In 2009, a team of archeologists uncovered the remains of 250 British and Australian soldiers who were reported missing in Fromelles. A wide identification campaign began, and with each new identification, the story of a soldier was brought to light.
Through this permanent exhibition, learn about the battle, the archeological research and the history of those who were lost.
The Battle of Fromelles Museum offers free guided tours on Saturday 21st September at 11am and Sunday 22nd September at 2:30 pm. Bookings required.
The Underground City of Naours is known to be the most representative and comprehensive underground refuge that can be visited in the North of France. It has the particularity of having the greatest number of writings and graffiti from soldiers of the Great War known to date. The activities of soldiers on recreation leave reveals a far less bloody and little known aspect of the Great War.
The Underground City of Naours offers free guided tours on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September from 10:00am to 6:30pm.
Other activities and entertainment will also be proposed in the park of the Underground City of Naours during the European Heritage Days weekend.
A Second Empire Ball at Querrieu Chateau
Today, after many sieges, only the bases and two cylindrical towers of the medieval Chateau of Querrieu remain. It was rebuilt in the 17th century and the interior was refurbished in the 19th century. Vast English-style grounds with magnificent trees surrounds the Chateau now listed as a Historical monument.
During the Great War, the Chateau served as headquarters for the 4th British Army under General Rawlinson. On 10th August 1916, King George V and his son the Prince of Wales, travelled to Querrieu with his Chief of Army in order to present military decorations to Generals Fayolle and Balfourier. Many strategic military decisions were made in the Chateau, which is today a site of remembrance for the First World War in the Somme.
From 2nd September to 6th October 2019, Querrieu Chateau invites you to learn about fashion under the Second Empire through an exhibition presenting a collection of ball dresses and outfits from the prestigious Alexander Vassiliev Foundation. Open every day except Monday, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.
“Querrieu under the Stars“: Visit-show on Saturday 21st September from 7:30pm to 10:30pm
Explore behind the scenes at The CWGC Experience
The CWGC Experience is a new visitors’ centre in Beaurains that shines a light on the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, giving visitors an up close and intimate look behind the scenes at the teams who still work painstakingly to care for the fallen.
For the European Heritage Days, The CWGC Experience is inviting visitors to take part in guided tours with CWGC employees to discover workshops normally closed to the general public and meet with the craftspeople, gardeners and engineers who maintain CWGC cemeteries. Younger visitors are invited to take part in craft workshops and a treasure hunt.
Free admission from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday 21st and Sunday, 22nd September.
Escape Game at the Somme 1916 Museum in Albert
Located in a former underground tunnel dating back to the 13th century, and used as an air-raid shelter in 1938, the Albert museum with its many showcases displaying objects, period equipment and weapons is remarkable. These showcases also provide a better understanding of the evolution of weapons and the emergence of new war techniques such as gas and tanks. Fifteen trench scenes reconstructed with striking realism allow visitors to understand the life of French, British and German soldiers during the First World War.
The Albert Museum invites you to participate in an Escape Game on Friday 20th September from 5:00pm to 9:30pm, 15 € per person.
Conference on the Gardens of Peace, exhibition of trench art at the Historial in Péronne
Since 2018, the European Heritage Days are an opportunity for the Historial in Péronne to showcase its medieval and botanical features. This year, the focus is also on art and entertainment.
For one exceptional day, the Historial invites you to take part in various activities including meetings with plant enthusiasts, tasting of dishes made with local plants, a conference on the Gardens of Peace (in French), medieval games, crafts, and theatrical sketches and an exhibition on trench art.
Entry to The Historial, Museum of the Great War in Péronne will be free of charge on Sunday, 22nd September.