An imaginative museum erected in 1988 on the north side of the city, the Mémorial is a must-see if you're interested in World War II history. The stark, flat facade, with a narrow doorway symbolizing the Allies' breach in the Nazi's supposedly impregnable Atlantic Wall, opens onto an immense foyer with British Typhoon aircraft suspended overhead. The museum itself is down a spiral ramp, lined with photos and documents charting the Nazi's rise to power in the 1930s. The
idea—hardly subtle but visually effective—is to suggest a descent into the hell of war. The extensive displays range from wartime plastic jewelry to scale models of battleships, with scholarly sections on how the Nazis tracked down radios used by the French Resistance and on the development of the atomic bomb. A room commemorating the Holocaust, with flickering candles and twinkling overhead lights, sounds a jarring note. The D-Day landings are evoked by a tabletop Allies map of the theater of war and by a spectacular split-screen presentation of the D-Day invasion from both the Allied and Nazi standpoints. Softening the effect of the modern structure are tranquil gardens, including a British one inaugurated by Prince Charles. Fittingly, the museum is located 10 minutes away from the Pegasus Bridge and 15 minutes from the D-Day beaches.
Sep 17, 2004
This is more that a WWII museum. It is also a commentary on the Cold War and a tribute to Peace. It is THE starting place for any wanderings into the D-day landscape. Caen is the first stop in Normandie from Paris it is perfect to get your bearings on the region and make detailed plans of stops along the Liberty Trail (a guide to the important places in Normandie marked by libery bells on mile markers). While it make sence to most in Europe to correlate
a WWII museum with a Cold War museum for most Americans it may seem a bit over-dramatic. We followed a tour that may or may not have been typical. Yet, it was brought out on more than one occasion the United States fault in causing WWII. It was due to the unfare terms placed on Germany by England & France. It was because the USA was unable to give Germany the needed funds to make the reparations. In spite of this tour, this is a wonderful place to begin any exploration of the D-day experience. The gift shop is loaded with trinkets, books and maps also with some very nice collectables. Having been to other WWII museums including the D-Day Museum in New Orleans this is a fine museum.I highly reccomend a visit as a starting point for the D-day Normandie tour, it is worth the price of admission.