This is the fifth blog covering our exploration of Napoleonic battlefields. The earlier ones were:
Each dealt with walking the battlefields, and each had a separate entry for each battlefield.
This blog will be slightly different. It covers our extended 17 day visit to the
Our 1995 visit to Northern Spain and the Pyrenees gave us a taste of
Both of our previous visits to
We decided we would have a two week holiday based in Sare, a small village on the French side of the
I have always found
So our first step was research. Our flying visit to the area of the previous year had made us realise that exploring battlefields in the
We had found very little to indicate where even famous battles had taken place. For example we spent half a day driving around the Rhune trying to find the location of the light division attack from Vera during the battle of the Nive. We drove around for an hour or so and found nothing, eventually stopping at a large duty free shopping area. It was only when we returned to
So we, or rather I, would have to spend much more time in preparation than for our previous trips. This would be a labour of love, for the more you prepare the more you enjoy the holiday.
Once again our main source for a general overview would be Jac Weller’s “
For a really detailed description of the operations, and a very good guide to the area, we used two books by Major General F C Beatson. Both had been recently republished and were easily available.
I also photocopied all of the battle maps and diagrams I could find of the campaign.
Finally we researched accommodation in the area. We did not have access to a computer at this time, and the local travel agents were no help at all. We got a book on French Gites, and found this one situated on the outskirts of Sare.
We would need a car, and it was cheaper and more convenient to drive our own than fly and hire. It would be a long journey whether we sailed to Spain or France, but the latter was much cheaper. We booked a ferry from Portsmouth to Caen for 21 June 1996.