Lest we for­get

France has many sites giv­ing an in­sight into the two world wars. Here is our se­lec­tion of places to go for quiet re­flec­tion

France - - Les Nouvelles -


Built on the beach where the first Amer­i­can troops landed on 6 June 1944, this spa­cious mu­seum ex­plores every stage of the D-day op­er­a­tion. The story is told chrono­log­i­cally through a vast col­lec­tion of arte­facts as well as oral ac­counts from civil­ians and sol­diers. Dis­plays in­clude an orig­i­nal B-26 Ma­rauder bomber and a ‘Hig­gins’ land­ing craft. Tel: (Fr) 2 33 71 53 35 utah-beach.com

MUSÉE MÉMORIAL D’OMAHA BEACH Saint-lau­rent-sur-mer, Cal­va­dos

Some of the fiercest fight­ing on D-day took place on Omaha Beach. The mu­seum, built on the beach, fea­tures a Sher­man tank, ar­tillery and mem­o­ra­bilia in­clud­ing pho­to­graphs and fragments of uni­forms. Dis­play pan­els ex­plain the events and are complemented by short films fea­tur­ing first-per­son ac­counts from veter­ans. Tel: (Fr) 2 31 21 97 44 musee-me­mo­rial-omaha.com


This re­cently re­fur­bished mu­seum re­traces the mil­i­tary his­tory of Cambrai from 1871 to the present, tak­ing in both world wars. Dis­plays fea­ture pe­riod pho­to­graphs, hel­mets, bay­o­nets and even musical in­stru­ments. The fi­nal room fo­cuses on World War II, with ac­counts of the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion, the French Re­sis­tance, the bomb­ing of Cambrai and the ar­rival of Al­lied forces. A mu­seum fo­cus­ing on World War I opens in Cambrai at the end of Novem­ber and will fea­ture the Bri­tish Deb­o­rah tank that was dis­cov­ered in 1998 un­der two me­tres of soil in the nearby vil­lage of Flesquières. Tel: (Fr) 3 27 73 21 78 tourisme-cam­bre­sis.fr

LA COUPOLE Wiz­ernes, Pas-de-calais

This huge bunker was the Nazis’ base for launch­ing V2 rock­ets against Lon­don. In 1997, it was turned into a mu­seum ex­am­in­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween sci­ence and war. Vis­i­tors can learn about Wern­her von Braun, the Ger­man en­gi­neer who helped to de­velop the rocket, view dis­plays on the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion, and pause at a me­mo­rial to the de­ported. Tel: (Fr) 3 21 12 27 27 la­coupole-france.co.uk

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