Well structured, researched and delivered tour. This week we did a one day tour with Olivier. He picked us up from St Quentin at 8:40am after a 75 minute train trip from Paris. He explained so well the course of war and the movement back and forth of the front lines. The landscape really came alive and it was possible to understand the significance of strategic positions that were so heavily fought over. Olivier is not only highly knowledgeable but communicates so well. For example he used an ipad to show our our position on WW1 trench maps using GPS. I had provided Olivier with details of my grandfather’s service and he was able to take us to actual locations where grandfather was in action. Olivier provides a real quality service and sorry we didn’t book a second day
Mari, Australia, August 2018
Wow, amazing knowledge. Olivier was a great guide. Passionate about his craft and with incredible knowledge that he shares willingly. We were a group of 4, including a 14 and 13 year old and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Olivier was flexible in his pick up location and even dropped us back at the cathedral (also a must see) so we could enter before closing time. We would totally recommend Olivier to any Australian group. Lovely to have someone local & authentic, with a real family connection to the area & history.
Rosanna, Australia, December 2018
TRIBUTE TO MY GRANDFATHER. As the centenary of the end of the First World War approaches, I wanted to visit the battlefields in France where my grandfather fought exactly 100 years ago. It was a great decision, and exceeded our expectations. Our arrival in St. Quentin was disrupted by a rail strike but Olivier adapted and worked to meet us despite a later arrival. His knowledge of the area is encyclopedic; had we tried to do this on our own, we would have been there for a month. He had the trench maps, and knew the entire history of my grandfather’s unit during the war, and as a fellow veteran, it really helped me connect with his experience. Olivier is knowledgeable about all aspects of this tragic history and is the ideal guide for a battlefield tour. We highly recommend him.
Alb, Hong Kong, June 2018
Informative day with Olivier who was a fantastic guide. Loved the interactive GPS maps that showed the trenches from WWI and also the photos dating back to that time. Quaint little cafe for lunch. Would recommend to anyone as Olivier was very adaptable for his audience.
Nath, Great-Britain, October 2016
Having started the tour with little knowledge of the Great War, it’s progression and the involvement of all the different countries, I ended the tour with a more comprehensive understanding.
We booked the tour after deciding on a last minute holiday in which to incorporate something my husband had always wanted to do. Visit and understand more about the Great War. We found Oliver and his company using trip-advisor and the other reviews are not wrong, he is very knowledgable. It was just the two of us on the tour, before hand communication was good with Oliver with him even giving us suggestions of things to see the day before which he would not cover on the tour. It started with him picking us up promptly at 9.30 in his lovely, comfortable new mini van. We first visited the museum in Albert and then he guided us around the battlefields working in chronological order explained everything as we drove along and showing us thing on maps and photographs. Unfortunately it was very foggy the day we went making it harder for Oliver to point different things out as we drove along, but he did his best to explain where things were and what we would normally be looking at on a clear day. His English is really good and his passion and enthusiasm for what he does shines through. Would definitely recommend and say it was worth the money especially for anyone new to the Somme area and with limited knowledge about the Great War that is looking to expand it. Both me and my husband both said we were so glad we took the tour rather than trying to follow a map ourselves.
Jess, Australia, August 2016
My wife’s great uncle had not returned from WW1′ and much of the history surrounding him was scant. After some research we arranged a battlefields tour with Olivier of Chemins d,Histoire Battlefields Tours. We completed this two day tour today, and cannot recommend this company highly enough.
Olivier our guide had not only tracked down the site our great uncle was remembered on, but located when and where he had been killed and took us to the exact battlefield.
We enjoyed two days of his amazing knowledge of the Australian involvement in WW1, and traced the History of the Australian troops in Particular through Flanders and the Somme. Oliviers intimate knowledge, aided buy his trench maps and GPS tracking made the whole experience both intimate and informative, not to mention emotional.
Monica, Calgary, August 2016
Our family (me, husband, and two boys 13 & 10) took a day tour with Olivier of the Canadian WWI sites at Vimy Ridge and the Somme. Olivier is a very personable guide with a great deal of knowledge about WWI. We learned a lot and the tablet that he used to show us the maps of the trenches was a super tool to help us visualize what he was explaining. Even though this was an all-day tour the boys were engaged the whole time (but tired at the end of the day)!
The morning was spent at Vimy Ridge – we toured a preserved tunnel with a Canadian guide, then saw the trenches (Allied and German) of the front line and marvelled at how small no-man’s land was at this point. Also saw the Vimy monument and briefly stopped at the tourist centre. We stopped in Arras for lunch at a nice little restaurant that Olivier suggested, then the afternoon was spent driving through the countryside south of Arras touring various sites connected to the Battle of the Somme. A fascinating tour. Would recommend highly!
Fiona, Great-Britain, June 2014
We arranged a day’s tour with Olivier Dirson. We stayed at Hotel Picardie where Olivier picked us up, in previous emails we had communicated about my Grandfather’s diary, and the fact that he had been taken prisoner on March 21st 1918. The diary had been unclear about the location, but Olivier had done so much research, he explained where he thought he had been and why. He then helped us to retrace his steps as to where he had been marched as a prisoner, 15km away. This was all off the beaten track, but fantastically explained and very personal. He also took us to a number of other locations. All in all a very special day. Thank you Olivier.
Peter & Christine, Australia, May 2014
We were based at St Quentin for our 3 day tour of the WW1 Battlefields. Olivier, whose family has lived in the area for generations, is a very knowledgeable historian and he made this comprehensive and quite emotional pilgrimage both very enjoyable and educational for us, and as I’d had an Uncle who fought there he took the time to visit the relevant sites. We have no hesitation in highly recommending Chemins d’Histoire Battlefields Tours.
A family from Newfoundland, May 2014
Our family (2 adults and 2 teenage children) were on a two week tour of Europe. The battlefields tour was one of the highlights of our trip. We travelled from Paris to St. Quentin that morning and were met at the train station by Olivier, our guide for the day. Olivier provided all the necessary details (train schedule) to ensure we arrived on time for his tour.
He was a very knowledgeable person who made the tour come alive with his vivid descriptions, World War 1 photos and trench maps. The maps were digitized into a tablet and overlaid on a GPS program which allowed him to show both the German and British battle lines as we drove through the battlefields. The photos, also on tablet, brought out the devastation caused by the war. It is truly amazing that this is the same area. The technology combined with visits to memorial sites, museums, and Lochnagar crater was excellent.
The personalized tour in a comfortable minibus for 7 was more cost effective than a bus tour from Paris and was a highlight of our trip because of Olivier’s attention to detail.
Zappulla family, Australia, Somme tour, June 2013