We woke up pretty early, got ready, packed up, and headed for breakfast. The breakfast was complimentary and buffet-styled so we were able to choose what we wanted. Compared to my Parisian breakfast back in Paris, the breakfast was almost the same except for the croissant and the cheese. The cheese was not fresh, as it was packaged, and the croissant just didn’t have that same Parisian taste. As we were eating, we were intrigued with stories from some people in our group about the hotel. Apparently, in some of the rooms, there were bedbugs and dead insects under the beds, so some girls had to sleep in the bathroom. I felt really bad but I was lucky that I didn’t have go through that. Once we all ate to our heart’s content, we checked out, loaded the bus with our luggage, and made our way to learn about the tragic Dieppe Raid in 1942.
As we moved back in time, the Dieppe Raid was a very unsuccessful and devastated event in Canadian history. Facing well-entrenched enemies on August 19, 1942, Canadians made up the majority of the Raid. Roughly 2500 casualties were sustained and returned home with many wounded. This Raid, however, did not stop the Allied Forces. Instead, it gave them an invaluable lesson that lead to the succession of D-Day in 1944.
Our first stop was the Canadian Cemetery built by the Germans. To be quite honest, I have little memory about the cemetery but after that, we proceeded down to Red Beach, where the Essex Scottish Regiment landed. The Essex Scottish Regiment is very important, especially to my group, because it was the division from my city. Speaking of my city, there is a park down by the river named after Dieppe with the exact same monument that is displayed on Red Beach. I found this very interesting because in grade nine, I blogged about the Dieppe Park and the Essex Scottish Regiment, with little knowledge about the monument.
Once we were done taking a group picture, we went out to find lunch. Once again, it was another beautiful day! Dieppe, France was absolutely gorgeous! And despite the devastation in 1942, the sail boats, the cliffs, and the pebble beach made you feel warm. No wonder people called this place home!
My friend and I came across a restaurant that overlooked the sailboats and the cliffs, so we decided to purchase lunch there. The owner was very nice and didn’t criticize us for speaking our high school French. We ordered a burger along with fries and mayonnaise, so we were happy all around. You may be wondering why I keep ordering a burger, well to tell you the honest truth, it is the easiest thing to order in French. I know it sounds silly, and I know I mentioned that I am open to trying new things, but having a time limit, a burger just satisfies your hunger. When we were finished, we strolled along the harbour and took pictures of the magnificent view.
After Dieppe, we made a special stop in Beauval; a Commonwealth Cemetery nestled in with a French village cemetery. It contained graves of WWI and WWII, so there was a mix of both in the Commonwealth area. After paying my respects, we walked along the village cemetery which had a very eerie feeling. As my friend and I were walking back, there was an opened grave which left us scared, so we quickly rushed back to the bus.
Our final stop was at Beaumont Hamel, the battlefield where over 700 Newfoundlanders were killed or wounded in less than an hour on the first of July, 1916. Beaumont Hamel is a commune in Northern France, located in the Somme Department of Picardy. Upon arriving, the area had a very strong country-side smell, so I had to get used to it as we were there for a while. We had a tour of the entire area, however, some parts were closed off due to a possibility of shells from the First World War. Nonetheless, the site was fascinating as we learned about the battle that took place in 1916. Again, it was a step into history as we walked the footsteps of those who were once there.
After the visit, we traveled to our next hotel located in Fouquieres-les-Bethune. This hotel, to be completely honest, looked like it came out of Pretty Little Liars. It had the eeriest feeling, especially at the back, where our rooms were located. The advertisement was pretty deceiving, as it looked nothing like the picture.
We ended up dining at the hotel restaurant for dinner and was served fried chicken with all-you-can fries. Literally, a bowl of fries would make its way around the room, and the group was able to take as much as they wanted to. Dinner ended off with a delicious pie, so the night wasn’t too bad.
We headed back to our rooms, caught up on social media (as per usual) and slept for our next trip to Vimy Ridge.
Learn about the Dieppe Raid CLICK HERE