I found the destination of our special train from La Bibliothèque Nationale de France's Gallica document retrieval system.
To extract anything from the major French newspapers of the WWI era has required a wrestling match with Gallica. I found this to be a slow business compared with, say, the New York Times's smoothly cross-referenced site, but I got a lot better at it as the weeks went on.
The Gallica beta test site Galicalabs gives much more flexible access to BNF's resources. The searches are easier to formulate, and it pays to know that separating words with full stops is the way to search for a particular phrase. Like "train.special".
There are four occurrences of this phrase linked with the name Bourgeois in Gallicalabs. You can find a sample query here
None of these pages is from the publication that supplied our scrap of newsprint, because the surrounding items are different. One (Le Journal of April 3) is identically worded. Le Gaulois of April 4 is the same except "toutes classes" is omitted.. The other two (Le Petit Parisien and La Croix, both of April 4) are clearly the same train, but Bourgeois' address is given as 1, Rue de Helder, 1. La Croix has an extra line "La Glorieuse Mutilée" - the Glorious Maimed.
The full text of the La Croix ad reads:
TRAIN SPÉCIAL POUR SENLIS
LA GLORIEUSE MUTILÉE
Départ Lundi 5 avril, midi 55 Retour 19. h 25
Toutes classes.– Billets et Programme.
Chez G. LE BOURGEOIS, 1, rue du Helder, 1.
|La Croix 4 avril 1915|
|Le Journal 3 avril 1915|
|Le Petit Parisien 4 avril 1915|
|Le Gaulois 4 Avril 1915|
The battlefields became a place to visit, the Michelin guide in its description of its itinerary explains why:
" This tour, of which a plan is given below, covers the ground on which the fate of Paris was decided in September 1914.
" In the course of the journey the traveller will live over again the anxious moment when the Germans, having arrived within gunshot of the capital, had to decide whether to continue their irresistible march on Paris or attempt just to put the allied army out of action: he will then reconstruct the tragic struggle which for five days confronted Gallieni, Maunoury and von Kluck.
" The country traversed has the varied scenery of the Ile-de-France ; from the vast forests of Valois, the tourist will come to the fertile up-lands of Brie, intersected by lovely valleys. He will become acquainted with Chantilly, the great Conde's town, afterwards Marshal Joflre's Headquarters; Senlis, a jewel of ancient France, which narrowly escaped the fate of Louvain; Meaux, with its cathedral, its old mills, and the ruins left by the war in the surrounding villages.
" This is the war pilgrimage which should be made by all Parisians and all tourists passing through Paris who have a day or two to spare."