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Waterloo and arras


My son and I have booked a week in Belgium and France in August. Flying into Brussels driving down to Waterloo for a day then spending four days based in Arras. Getting lots of good advice from the Western Front Association web site (am a member) but would welcome any guidance any Arssers can offer particularly around visiting Waterloo.


I can't offer much in the way of advice for visiting Waterloo, as everything is located at the battle site. It's quite a climb up the Lions Mount but well worth it for the view. Don't forget to walk across the field on your right and follow the road down to Hougomont. Well worth the walk and is one place the other tourists tend to miss.


Book Reviewer
When I was in Mons we used to visit Waterloo fairly regularly. The diorama is worth a look and make sure that you climb the lion monument. There’s a handy guide board at the top which shows the army deployments from where you are and you’ll get to see Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte in the middle distance.


Book Reviewer
Take a good guide to the battle and some decent maps. The area between Hougoumont and the sand pit is the most touristy but its not all the battle.

Visit the battle from the French and Prussian point of view. Placenoit has a nice restaurant LE GROS VELO - a bit pricy but good.

Waterloo has a musuem. The Church is full of memorials.

If you are visiting Brussels you ought to visit the British memorial and tombs. These are the only British graves from Waterloo that have survived.
Jac Weller's book is great. His tour tips are long out of date in certain respects (his quest for American plumbing is quaint), but the ground hasn't changed so much that the fundamentals are wrong. It's interesting to follow some of the original roads to the field. I used to eat at a restaurant in Waver next to a bridge, and thought nothing of it. Only later did I realise that it was the bridge that the whole French army passed over, twice.

Watch the road near La Haye Sainte, it's very busy.

While you tour the museums on the site, keep repeating to yourself, "Napoleon lost, Napoleon lost..". The locals seem to have forgotten that.


Book Reviewer
Jac Weller is a dirty word to many British military historianss!

If you are interested in Waterloo, don't forget to support Project Hougoumont. This is the Anglo Belgioan project to raise the money to restore Hougoumpont, which is falling apaert. (It has also recenlty been the target of thioerves who stole the crucifix from the chapel and a plaque.

Project Hougoumont — A heritage project to save the Hougoumont Farm on the site of the 1815 Battlefield of Waterloo

Bcome a chosen man. If you agree to raise £100 per year for the next five years you will have a half page in the commemorative book.


We did a battlefield tour a few years ago, with Julian Humphrys, then working for the National Army Museum, the tour was excellent, the museum was ok, but you'll be hard pushed to find out why Boney lost, there were some Brits and Prussians involved, but basically the frog rolled up to fight, then changed his mind. Lots of Napoleonic busts and such like, but little mention of the fact, HE LOST! AGAIN!

If you can manage it visit the Sibourne Model at the N.A.M in Chelsea, it gives a bird's eye view of the battle and helps relate the battle to the ground when you get there. The museum as a whole is worth the time, and it's free.

Trivia, the Lion's Mount was built by taking much of the earth from the battle field to build it; Wellington said something along the lines of, 'They have destroyed my battle field!'

Trivia, the teeth of the dead were harvested to make false teeth, and for years afterwards false teeth were known as 'Waterloo teeth'


While you tour the museums on the site, keep repeating to yourself, "Napoleon lost, Napoleon lost..". The locals seem to have forgotten that.

Could not agree more, very confusing and downright annoying, especially as my first visit was hosting a group of US army officers (3/11 ACR) on tour. Words to the effect of "who did win" were heard way to often.

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