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When we left our hotel just north of Paris to make our way to the ferry port at the end of our trans Europe road trip we didn’t know that our evening’s accommodation was in one of the most fascinating and historic parts of France. Not far from Amiens and our hotel, I spotted a sign for the Somme Valley. A little later a second sign for a memorial cemetery, 2 and 2 made a certainty, we were on the Somme Battlefields. Rolling fields newly harvested and quaint rural villages dotted the landscape as we took a diversion and followed the signs to the first cemetery of many in just one fascinating and memorable afternoon. The kids whined, they just wanted Wi-Fi and hotel comforts, but even they found some interest as we started touring the graves. Things got more and more interesting for them as we found craters, trenches, history, and tragedy exploring this small region of massacre.
This historical period first made its way into the kids’ joint consciousness back in 2014 when we were based in London for the 100-year anniversary of World War I‘s beginning.
Red ceramic flowers spilled from the Tower of London and towards the Thames, we read war poems online and watched dramatisations about tragic boy soldiers on the BBC. Our day on the Somme, shortly before the second round of centenary memorials added an extra layer of understanding and depth to their world schooling or homeschooling education.
There is no way anyone could learn as much from a book as by spending an afternoon on these battlefields.
This is a story of photos because that’s the best way to show you some of what’s here on the River Somme.
Photos from the Somme Battlefields, France,
The graves and memorials of soldiers of many nationalities are prolific around The Somme Valley.
Where to Visit on The Somme Battlefields
There are many sites of interest and cemeteries in the Somme Valley. Rather than listing every destination myself, I’ll send you to this site, it’s the one we used to figure out where to go.
We highly recommend taking a car. If you want to check out our road trip costs, click-through.
Where to Stay When Visiting The Somme Region
We stayed in Amiens at the Première Classe Amiens, an ideal low-cost road trip hotel with family rooms. This region is dotted with quaint villages and moderately sized towns and cities, there are hundreds of accommodation options.
Other towns in the region that would be good bases for visiting the Somme Battlefields are Albert and Aras. Albert can normally be reached by rail via the EuroStar from Lille.
For you, for Pinterest
Where Are The Somme Battlefields in France?
The Somme Battlefields are in the Picardie region of France. Since 1 January 2016, Picardie (Picardy in English) has been part of the new region of Hauts-de-France which also incorporates Nord-pas-de Calais (The north, except Calais). It is located in the northern part of France and parts of historical Picardie had borders with the British Channel to the west. (source)
Calais is the nearest major ferry port to the Picardie region and is to the north of the Somme Battlefields at a distance of about 75 miles, 120 km.
Somme Battlefields From Paris
Paris is south of the Somme Battlefields. The distance is roughly the same as from Calais, 120 Km or 75 miles. The drive time should be about 2 hours depending on traffic and exactly where you choose to go.
You can book a tour of the Somme Battlefields and region if you are staying in Paris. You can find out more and reserve your spot here.
If you’d prefer to self-drive and visit the region at your leisure, we suggest you look at Discover Cars to find the best deal. Driving in Paris is not for nervous drivers, and traffic can be terrible.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Paris for your visit to the Somme trenches, we have a guide to the best (expensive) hotels in Paris for families, alternatively, see Paris hotels here.
Paris has the nearest airports for visiting the Somme Battlefields. If you choose not to rent a car in Paris you can take a train to Albert. Check out the hotels in Albert France here.
Where Was The Battle Of The Somme
The Battle of the Somme, or the Somme Offensive, took place in 1916 along 40 miles of the Somme River in France. The battle lasted 5 months and the number of casualties was horrific. To read more about this horrific era of history, go here.
More World War Worldschooling Coming Soon
We’re on our way to Vietnam. Another country, another war. I’m writing this from London, curled up on the sofa with a child snuggled into me on either side.
We decided to start learning about Vietnam this morning and the movie Good Morning Vietnam is their first real glimpse of the horrors that conflict brought. It’s sad, so very sad. But they have to know and they have to remember.
So on we go, to learn more about the world, that it’s fabulous and it’s tragic. I hope their generation fully learns the lessons of history so clearly presented to anyone who pays attention.
If you’re interested in the concept of worldschooling, we are the experts, you can sign up for our worldschooling newsletter. My kids were certainly inspired by history and did extremely well in their future exams.
Visiting The Somme Trenches
It was very much worth visiting the Somme Trenches and we all learned a lot from this trip. This is also a very beautiful part of France, so yes, we recommend you visit the Somme area, battlefields, and trenches. Tell me in the comments if you plan to go, and of course, I’ll answer any questions.