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The Memorial de Caen

Close to the Hôtel des Quatrans

Since its inauguration in 1988 by President François Mitterrand, the Mémorial de Caen has become one of the most important places on contemporary history in Europe and has gained international recognition for its cultural, educational and scientific expertise and purpose. From the beginnings of the Second World War up until the divisions of the Cold War, the museum presents every stage of this immense shared history through expositions that are as accessible as they are astonishing. Photos, pieces of furniture and accessories follow one after the other, while costumes and reconstructions of period sets provide complete explanations in settings where some of these sombre events took place, contributing to a better understanding. Its creation was instigated by Jean-Marie Girault, a senator and mayor of Caen for 31 years, who volunteered as an aid worker for the Red Cross on 6th June 1944 as Caen was being bombarded.


Dive into the past across no less than 14 000 m² over 3 floors, 5 600 m² of which makes up permanent exhibition space, all nestled amongst the green settings of the Souvenir Garden (1988), the American Garden (1994), the Canadian Garden (1995) and the British Garden (2004).


Caen's rich military heritage makes it possible to present relevant insights on specific points where things happened, with the concrete bunker in which the German General Wilhelm Richter established his command post being in the museum grounds. Life under occupation is given as much coverage as combat conditions, the resistance, D-Day and the liberation. Also presented is the period between the circumstances that spiralled into the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Whether you choose to explore it freely as a family or with friends, or whether you decide to take a guided tour with memorial specialists, you are sure to have an experience both enlightening and unforgettable.