Situated in Caen, in the heart of Normandy, the Mémorial de Caen is a war and history museum dedicated to World War II in France and Europe, as well as to the numerous conflicts that occurred during the 20th century. Inaugurated for the 44th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the ambition of this museum is also to promote the idea of peace. If you are a history lover or just passioned about military collections, you should definitely put this place on your "to-visit" list in Normandy.
The Mémorial de Caen was built between 1986 and 1988, on the site of an ancient blockhouse, where a German commanding post was located during the Normandy landings and the Battle of Normandy. Designed by the French architect Jacques Millet and the curator Yves Degraine, this memorial museum is mainly dedicated to World War II but also other conflicts in the 20th century in France and Europe. However, the idea of this memorial was also to explain the causes of recent conflicts and to show more closely the fragility of peace. For that reason, a gallery dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize was added in 1991. The museum was inaugurated in June 1988, on the 44th anniversary of D-Day by François Mitterrand, former president of the French Republic, and in the presence of leaders of eleven countries that took part in the Battle of Normandy. The museum has many interesting items such as a full-size model of a British single-seat fighter-bomber Hawker Typhoon from 1941, which is suspended in the main hall and the Cold War section that contains a collection of neutralized warheads. In front of this museum is situated the sculpture “Non-violence”, by a Swedish painter and sculptor Carl Frederik Reutersward.
"The pain broke me, the fraternity relieved me, of my wound sprang a river of freedom", by Paul Dorey, a local poet who speaks in the name of Normandy, written at the entrance of the building.
Created to commemorate and honor the soldiers that fell fighting for freedom, the souvenir gardens are the most interesting places in this Norman museum. The British garden has several sculptures evoking the participation of the Royal Air force, the Royal Navy and 15 British divisions. A fountain symbolizing life has a central place in the American garden opened in June 1994, fifty years after the liberation of Europe. Opened in 1995, the Canadian garden is designed by students of architecture from the universities of Montreal and Ottawa. This garden has the names of towns in Normandy liberated by Canadian soldiers.
The Mémorial de Caen, a war museum in Normandy, is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee for adults is 19,80 euros. The museum is free of charge for children under the age of 10 and war veterans.
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