Mémorial de Caen Museum, Caen, Normandy

The Caen-Normandy Memorial Centre for History and Peace is better known as Mémorial de Caen. I visited as a child and was keen to return on my D-Day70 trip.

Memorial de Caen Museum

Esplanade Général Eisenhower





The Caen-Normandy Memorial Centre for History and Peace is better known as Mémorial de Caen.  That’s just what it is; a museum, an educational resource, a look at the past and a warning for the future.

Mémorial de Caen

Flags of the victorious Allied nations fly along the route towards the Mémorial de Caen during the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemorations. Photo taken on 7th June 2014.

The Mémorial de Caen features a museum, war memorial, underground Nazi bunker and sprawling memorial gardens. It’s situated to the north of the city centre of Caen in Normandy, occupying the site of a former blockhouse. The building architect was Jacques Millet and the museum’s original curator was Yves Degraine.

Dedicated to conflict and its resolution, the museum guides visitors throughout the 20th century. Your visit begins with the ‘Failure of Peace’ in the interwar period from 1918 to 1939.

The Caen Spitfire

A replica Spitfire hangs over the entrance hallway to the Mémorial de Caen in Normandy. Photo taken on 7th June 2014.

A brief history of Mémorial de Caen

The museum first opened on 6th June 1988 – the 44th anniversary of D-Day). French President François Mitterrand conducted the ceremony. The original building dealt the causes and effects of World War II.

The curators have laid out the total history of the Second World War in great detail. Conflict in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific features alongside the story of the Normandy invasion.

In 1991, the museum unveiled a gallery dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize. Three memorial gardens, American, British, and Canadian were dedicated the victorious Allies. In 2002, the museum was further extended. French President Jacques Chirac opened the Cold War sector.

Canada remembers at Mémorial de Caen

Currently serving Canadian soldiers quietly remember their fallen comrades from 70 years before during the D-Day week commemorations on 7th June 2014.

Beyond that, the Mémorial de Caen displays focus on the Cold War and nuclear hostilities between USA and USSR. Some of the highlights include neutralised warheads and a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Peace Sculpture in Caen

A sculpture in the grounds of the Mémorial de Caen reminds visitors of the importance of peace as they study the history of war. Photo taken on 7th June 2014.

The Mémorial de Caen museum caters to all ages and everyone from curious tourist to the avid history buff. Thousands of items including photo and video archives make it a memorable and interactive experience.

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