After the moving Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate and a great sleep at the B&B De Potyze we were up bright and early for our day in the Ypres area. We had lots on the agenda and a reservation for the 7:20 pm Eurotunnel train back to England.

St. George’s Church

 

St. George's Memorial Church

Our first stop of the day was to visit the very simple, and charming, St. George’s Church. This little church is one of two memorials in Ypres to the fallen soldiers of WWI {the other memorial is the Menin Gate that we visited in the last post}. Almost every item in this church- windows, banners, plaques, chairs, etc. – are a permanent memorial to soldier who gave his life in France or Flanders. This is one of the churches I put on my list of ‘Three Churches You Shouldn’t Miss’. It was so different from many of the other churches, especially the grand cathedrals that are all around Europe, and well worth a visit.

St George's Church

Menin Gate

After visiting the church we took a stroll through the town and it was such a beautiful morning. The streets were fairly quiet as we made our way back to visit the Menin Gate and take in some more of the details that we didn’t see at night.

MeninGateCollage

In Flanders Field Museum

Our next stop was the In Flanders Field Museum, named after the poem by the same name by Canadian soldier John McCrae. This museum is in the beautiful Cloth Hall and is devoted to the study of World War I. It is brilliantly done.

Flanders Museum

The museum is laid out in chronological order and features lots of artifacts, videos, photos, interactive displays, and audio exhibits of everything from examples of uniforms to life in the trenches. It was so informative and I suggest giving yourself lots of time to visit so you can take it all in. One of my favorite exhibits were photos of various buildings around Ypres, like the Cloth Hall, before and after the war. They really show the destruction and now when we visit those buildings we can see the effort the people of Ypres went through to rebuild their city.

Flanders Museum Collage

For a little bit extra you can also climb the bell tower for a 360° view of the city of Ypres. Do this! As busy as the museum was the day we visited when we headed up to the roof we had the whole place to ourselves. About half-way up the winding narrow staircase you can stop and view the bells and if you’re lucky they’ll ring while you’re in there. They are loud! After that stop you can continue on up to the roof and take in these views….

Ypres

Ypres 2

Ypres3

Although we probably could have stayed up there quite a bit longer it was getting on in the morning and we had lots more to see. The stairs up the bell tower are part way through the museum so once we descended we still had bits of the museum to explore. This belfry is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site’s “Belfries of Belgium and France” entry. Yay! I was able to visit another site on the list!

After we finished at the museum we knew we wanted to add an extra stop in with the cathedral that was next door which, although not originally on our list, looked too good to miss. And I’m so glad we didn’t because it was extraordinary. So many photos to show from there so I’ll save those for when I return again with the next post in this series.

To follow along on our adventures on our trip exploring WWI and WWII sites of Normandy and Belgium, please feel free to check out these posts:

The Battle Plan (Our Whole Itinerary)

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Further Resources to Plan Your Own Trip to Normandy and Belgium