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Things to Do in Nord-Pas de Calais - page 2

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Pozieres
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11 Tours and Activities

Pozieres is a small village in rural France that was the setting of a two-week confrontation during the Battles of Somme of World War I. It is where, between March and April 1918, the German Fifth Army was driven further out into the fields of Somme by overwhelmingly large numbers of British corps that were on a mission to compromise the nearby German bastion of Thiepval. Although it technically involved the British Empire, Pozières is really an Australian battle - seeing as it involved over 23,000 corps and that the Australian flag flies over several buildings in recognition of the sacrifice of the ANZACs – even though the cemetery does not bare any Australian names; instead, Australian soldiers who fell in France and whose graves are not known are commemorated at the National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

There are 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in the Pozières cemetery. As such, the memorial and cemetery comprise a stunning gateway building with open colonnade walkways, making way to the remains of a blockhouse named "Gibraltar" which was a three-meter-high blockhouse-observation point. It also contains the Tank Memorial, with four small-scale models of the tanks used by the British between 1916 and 1918 – the first army to use tanks.

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Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery
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Just outside the Belgian border with France stands a First World War cemetery built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission containing the graves of 250 British and Australian soldiers who died on July 19, 1916, in the Battle of Fromelles - a diversionary battle, which only occured in order to draw the attention of the Germans away from the larger attacks elsewhere in Somme. It involved units of the Australian 5th Division and the British 61st Division, but alas, the Germans were well-prepared and the British Empire troops suffered great losses.

Dating back from just 2009, Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery was the first new Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery to be built in commemoration of World War I in over 50 years; the last such cemeteries having mostly been in remembrance of the Second World War. The reason for this somewhat unusual delay is that analysis of historical aerial photographs showed the presence of mass graves on the edge of Pheasant Wood, which were confirmed after excavation works in 2008. Over 250 British and Australian bodies from five mass graves and some 6,200 individual artifacts have since been successfully identified using DNA analysis.

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Todt Battery (Batterie Todt)
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Located in the hamlet of Haringzelle, Audinghen, near Cape Gris Nez, in Pas de Calais, the Todt Battery (Batterie Todt) was once one of the most important coastal fortifications of the Atlantic Wall. It was built by the Germans during World War II and consisted of four Krupp guns capable of reaching the British coast, each with a range of up 55.7 kilometers and protected by a bunker. One of those now houses a museum called Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique that’s entirely dedicated to World War II, where visitors learn more about military history through displays of various hardware.

The Battery officially fired its first shell in February 1942 and, after an intense aerial bombardment, was taken in September 1944 by Anglo-Canadians troops as part of Operation Undergo. Todt Battery was originally supposed to be called Siegfried Battery; that changed when the engineering mastermind responsible for building the Atlantic Wall, Fritz Todt, died in a plane crash just a few days before the battery’s inauguration.

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Villa Cavrois

The modernist masterpiece of Parisian architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, Villa Cavrois is a National Historic Monument in the Lille suburb of Croix. Built in 1932 for its namesake, the industrialist Paul Cavrois, the architectural landmark has been painstakingly restored and stands as the foremost example of Mallet-Stevens’ work.

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Aqualud

Situated in the seaside resort town of Le Touquet, Aqualud is one of northern France’s largest water parks and a popular destination for families. Founded in 1985, and situated just steps from the beach, the park offers an array of water slides, pools, Jacuzzis, and other attractions in both indoor and outdoor areas.

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