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Caen-Normandy Centre for History and Peace

A new exhibition space at this museum deal exclusively with the Invasion of Normandy, a key episode in the liberation of Europe.

TravelCurious Tip

If the sun’s out, have a wander around the three memorial gardens - green spaces dedicated to the British, American and Canadian soldiers who liberated France.

Located in the northern suburbs of Caen, this touchingly curated museum details some of the bloodiest and most unpleasant episodes of the 20th century. While it can make for difficult viewing at times, the focus is very much on promoting peace by fully exposing the horrors of war, and the resulting experience is both informative and challenging.

Telling It How It Was

A large portion of the Mémorial de Caen, as the museum is also known, is dedicated to the Second World War. The first room details its causes, from the fallout of WWI to the inexorable, tragic disintegration of the manufactured “peace” in the 20s and 30s. This is followed by an eye-opening exploration of life in France after its invasion by Germany, covering everything from resistance members to collaborators. You will then be shown the rapid expansion of continental war into world war, and the unimaginable violence and depravation of the Nazi regime. The museum gradually draws you in with its increasingly in-depth accounts of the interactions of the different regimes and their figureheads, before transitioning to detail the final phase of the war. This section includes the highlight of the centre, an immensely detailed and engaging account of the Normandy Invasion of 1944.

Going Nuclear

Further on, there is a well put-together section on the Cold War. Here you will find a deceptively simple collection of artefacts - a Communist Party card, an American neon advertising board - which successfully build a picture of just how vast the divide was between East and West. You are then shown the way in which the “Balance of Terror” mounted, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and very nearly in the total annihilation of humanity. For those interested in 20th Century history, this is not to be missed.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
German Cemetery
This cemetary contains over 20,000 soldiers from the German armed forces, and is located in the near the village of Cambe.
Omaha Beach
The other American landing site, there were heavy casualties with 2500 killed in action in the first wave.
Pointe du Hoc
The heavily fortified high point between Omaha and Utah beaches, which was stormed by a Ranger assault team.
American Cemetery
The resting place for thousands of American soldiers that died during the Normandy landings.
Home to the famous Bayeux Tapestry that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings.
Arromanches 360 Cinema
Shows archive footage gathered from around the world of the Battle of Normandy. Film in High Definition on 9 screens helps you relive the events.

Related Tours

Private Excursion to Historic Normandy
This day-long tour provides you with an all-encompassing experience of D-Day, the defining moment of WWII, with visits to key landing points, churches, museums and cemeteries. With over 12 nations involved in what was the largest-scale air and land mission in history, for the sake of depth, this tour explores the Americans’ role in D-Day. As there is so much to see, however, your tour guide will be happy to adapt your itinerary according to your interests. You will be transported from Paris to Caen to all of your destinations by luxury car, so the nature of your experience will not be weather-dependent and you will have the opportunity to frequently relax over the course of a long day. There will also be opportunities to stop off across Normandy’s wonderful countryside along the way.

  • Relive the key moments of D-Day with visits to Omaha and Utah Beach.
  • Visit the American cemetery, where all the American troops who lost their lives are remembered.
  • Explore the Caen-Normandy Centre for History and Peace and see a panoramic film of the landings at the Arromanches 360 Cinema.
  • Stop off for lunch in the beautiful city of Bayeux (not included).
  • Comfortable car-travel provided for the whole day. Your experience of Normandy will not be affected by rain or bad weather!
  • Adaptable, tailored tour experience: Work with your guide to get the most out of your time. Do what interests you - you are welcome to change your itinerary on the day.                                                                                                                                   
You will begin at the Caen-Normandy Centre for History and Peace, which will provide you with a good background to the events of ’44 for when you go on-site later in the day. Stop off for lunch at a quality restaurant of your choice, recommended by your expert guide, in the charming city of Bayeux before visiting the places that became legendary subjects of history and film. 

Go beyond mythology to learn about and relive the trials and tribulations the Allies faced in overcoming the Nazi forces. You will visit the church, Sainte Mère-Église, where paratrooper John Steele was caught on the spire and feigned death, hung from his parachute, defying all the odds to eventually escape capture. You will also see Pointe du Hoc, where 225 rangers climbed cliffs over 100 feet high to capture and wipe out a German artillery battery; the tour also includes a visit to Utah and Omaha Beach, the latter being where the Americans constructed an artificial harbour to supply its troops with equipment. There will also be an opportunity to pay your respects to the brave 9,387 American soldiers who were laid to rest in the American cemetery which overlooks Omaha Beach.

You will learn about the ins and outs of the war and D-Day from your expert guide who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. At the end of your tour you will be able to put yourself in the shoes of the brave soldiers who took part D-Day at the Arromanches 360 Cinema, where you can experience a panoramic view of the landings, complete with sound and archival footage.

Estimated return time to Paris is 9pm - 10pm 


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