Our 2-Day and 3-Day Harlem Hellfighters vacation package is part of our overall Paris & Beyond vacation packages variety.
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Champagne Region – Harlem Hellfighters 2-Day and 3-Day Vacation Package WWI Excursion
JAZZ LANDS IN FRANCE
This exciting and emotional excursion takes you back into the fighting fields, let’s you celebrate their bravery and pride.
Blending with the nearby French cultural icons, you spend a day learning about and sampling Champagne.
In 1918 the “Doughboys” of the USA joined the European fray of the WWI. Although the American Forces saw only about 150 days of combat, they did make a resounding contribution to the Allied victory.
In particular the all-Black 369th Infantry Regiment, better known by their nickname “Harlem Hellfighters,” served in the trenches alongside French troops, pushed their way through to the banks of the Rhine, earning themselves many distinguished medals of honor including the Croix de Guerre for their astounding bravery.
Those Hellfighters left a permanent mark on French culture and Black Paris, too. The troops were up made of skilled musicians and when they marched their jazz through towns in France beyond, they ignited a passion for this never-heard-of music that lives on to this day.
Champagne Region Excursion
Day 1 – The Harlem Hellfighters
Morning: Leaving your Paris hotel at approximately 9am, head for the Marne (about 2 hours) where you will cover the important Battles of Belleau Wood and 2nd Marne, where the 369th Harlem Infantry made important contributions as part of the French 4th Army.
You’ll explore the remnants of shell holes and trenches in Belleau Wood, see the captured town of Vaux which was targeted by a massive German gas attack causing over 400 casualties to suffer from the effects like Lt. James R Europe and visit the Hill 204 US Monument overlooking Chateau Thierry (photo below).
1 min video: Paying respects to a Private in the Aisne-Oise American Cemetery.
Champagne Region Excursion
Day 2 – Champagne & the Gods
With your specialist guide, this morning offers time to explore the city of Reims independently, a city brimming with history and royal tradition. The magnificent Reims Cathedral, where most of France’s kings have been crowned, is the focal point of course, but its museums, architecture and the spirit of Joan of Arc have something to offer for everyone. Entrance to the famed cathedral is included.
In the afternoon, you will explore one of the famed Champagne cellars. Large Classical and Renaissance-style private mansions house the prestigious Champagne Houses with over 100km of underground passages, reserved solely for storing Champagne!
You will have a guided tour and tasting at either Moët & Chandon, Mercier or Mumm.
Harlem Hellfighter Extended Excursion + Champagne Region
Day 1 Hellfighters on the Battlefields
Leaving our Paris hotel at approximately 9am, head for the Marne where we will cover the important Battles of Belleau Wood and 2nd Marne, where the 369th made important contributions as part of the French 4th Army.
We’ll see the captured town of Vaux which was targeted by a massive German gas attack causing over 400 casualties to suffer from the effects like Lt. James R Europe and visit the Hill 204 US Monument overlooking Chateau Thierry.
This afternoon, we pay our respects at Les Fantomes, the memorial to the 2nd Battle of the Marne and the US Oise-Aisne Cemetery before making our way to our overnight stop, the beautiful city of Reims, capital of the Champagne region.
Day 2 Hellfighters on the Battlefields
Today, we venture further east into the Meuse-Argonne to explore the battlefields where the 369th again rose to the challenge in September 1918.
We’ll hear about the heroic actions of Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts, both awarded the Croix de Guerre. Learn how the former porter for the NY subway virtually single-handedly defeated a 24 man German patrol, at one point only armed with a bollo knife.
From the top of the Montfaucon US Memorial, we’ll have an excellent view of the ridges that needed to be taken in order to push the German armies back east.
Sites around the Argonne Forest will tell us the stories of the Rainbow Division from which the Hellfighters were so harshly excluded, villages lost to mining and the “Lost Batallion”.
Day 3 Reims and a Taste of Champagne
This morning offers time to explore Reims independently, a city brimming with history and royal tradition. Those who wish to further investigate the battlefield theme have the Museum of Armistice, as it was here that WWII was ended. The cathedral is the focal point of course, but its museums, architecture and the spirit of Joan of Arc have something to offer for everyone. Entrance to the famed cathedral is included.
This afternoon, following a ‘French picnic lunch’ together, explore one of the famed Champagne cellars with over 100km of underground passages, reserved solely for storing Champagne! We will have a guided tour and tasting at either Moët & Chandon, Mercier or Mumm.
We will arrive back into Paris early evening.
May 28 – June 1 and July 9 – July 13, 2018 (3-5-day package).
June 28 – June 29 (2-day package).
If these dates don’t match your travel dates, these excursions are available for private tours, dates of your choice between April 15 and October 30, for any party size from 2 up.
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Other vacation packages and tours we offer:
- Josephine Baker in Paris and Chateau Vacation Package
- Paris Jazz Vacation Package
- Paris Tours – Overview
- Black Paris Tours – Walking And Bus Tours
P.S. Don’t forget to listen to the challenges faced by African-American intellectuals,
artists, military and musicians in early 20th century Paris and the stunning outcomes.