France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Mémorial de Caen Museum, France
Opened in 1988, the Mémorial de Caen Museum tells the history of war in the 20th century, but it is dedicated to peace.

 

 

   

 

The Mémorial de Caen Museum, also known as the Centre for History and Peace, on the northern outskirts of Caen, is one of the most comprehensive museums about World War II in a region that has an abundance of museums devoted to that topic.

But the museum's emphasis is on peace rather than war. While telling the story of the origins of World War II, the War itself, and its aftermath, the museum keeps its focus on the challenges of achieving peace.

A high tech infrastructure provides audio visuals and interactive displays. Distinct sections of the museum focus on the world before 1945 and the world after 1945.

The pre-1945 exhibits examine the aftermath of World War I and the growth of totalitarian powers that led to World War II.

The post-1945 exhibits begin with looking at the impact on children, families, towns, and lifestyles, with drawings by children and photos of devastated cities. It moves to the Cold War and the rise of nuclear power and examines the role of Berlin and events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Special exhibits address more current times and the ongoing challenges of peace, and the need to learn from history.

The building itself is striking. Made of the famous Caen stone used in many historic monuments, it is stark and strong. The words of Paul Dorey, a poet from Caen, are the only decoration on the front of the building:

La douleur m'a brisée, la fraternité m'a relevée,
de ma blessure a jailli un fleuve de liberté

Grief broke me, brotherhood raised me up,
from my wound has sprung a river of liberty

The Mémorial is set in a park with a series of gardens and sculptures. The museum is large and comprehensive, and you'll want to allow about three hours for a visit. It also has a large book store/gift shop, a cafeteria, and a restaurant.

The Mémorial opened in 1988, and on June 6, 2004, the Presidents of France and Germany presided at the first joint ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The Mémorial offers tours to the D-Day beaches, with a combined museum entrance ticket.

Caen Memorial Museum
Esplanade Général Eisenhower
14050 Caen, France
+33 (0)2 31 06 06 45


What to See & Do

Hotels in Caen

Caen Restaurants

Caen Transport

Tourist Information

About Caen

D-Day Beaches

About Normandy

 

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Caen Mémorial Museum, Normandy, France

Above, flags fly in front of the
Mémorial de Caen Museum.

Below, interior of the Mémorial.

Interior, Mémorial de Caen Museum, Normandy, France

Commemoration of D-Day, Caen Mémorial, France
Above, Plaque commemorating the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

 
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