Bayeux town view in Normandy

Best Museums to Visit in Normandy

24 May 2023

As you probably know, Normandy is a region in northern France that was the site of some of the most important battles of World War II, including D-Day. As a result, there are many war museums in Normandy that tell the story of the war and its impact on the region and these museums are great for both families with children and couples to explore. 

 

Siblu's campsite in Normandy, Domaine de Litteau, is in the perfect base for visiting these fascinating museums, being close to all the major sights and the D-Day beaches. 

 

Here's our top recommended list of museums to visit: 


 

1. Caen Memorial Museum

Be prepared - this is a massive museum, but it is considered to be one of the best in the world for its comprehensive coverage of World War II. If you only have time to visit one museum in Normandy, then choose this one. It features exhibits on all aspects of the war, from the rise of Hitler to the Allied victory and is great for children studying history as well as adults with an interest in WW2.

The museum is divided into three main sections:

1) The Second World War: This section covers the events of World War II, from the rise of Hitler to the end of the war. It includes exhibits on the Battle of Normandy, the Holocaust, and the Cold War.


2) The D-DAY Landings and the Battle of Normandy: This section focuses on the events of D-Day and the subsequent Battle of Normandy. It includes exhibits on the planning of the landings, the fighting, and the aftermath.


3) The Cold War: This section covers the events of the Cold War, from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It includes exhibits on the arms race, the space race, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Caen Memorial Museum is a large museum with a lot to see. It is recommended to allow at least one day for your visit. The museum is open from 9:30am to 6:30pm, from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays and on public holidays.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Caen Memorial Museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions. There is also a cinema that shows films about World War II and the Cold War. The museum also has a library and a research center.

Find out more: normandy.memorial-caen.com

 

2. Airborne Museum, Normandy

The Airborne Museum Normandy is a museum dedicated to the memory of the paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of the United States Army who parachuted into Normandy on the night of June 5–6, 1944. The museum is located in Sainte-Mère-Église, a town in the Manche department of Normandy, France.

The museum was opened in 1962 and is the largest museum in Europe dedicated to the American paratroopers of the Normandy invasion. It houses a collection of over 10,000 objects, including uniforms, weapons, equipment, and photographs. The museum also has a number of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience what it was like to be a paratrooper on D-Day.

One of the most iconic exhibits at the Airborne Museum is the life-sized diorama depicting a stick of paratroopers from the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division enplaning at an English aerodrome in June 1944. The diorama is so realistic that it has been used in several films and television shows about D-Day.

Another popular exhibit at the Airborne Museum is the Bell Tower of Sainte-Mère-Église. On D-Day, a paratrooper named John Steele became entangled in the church's bell ropes and was left hanging there for hours. He was eventually rescued by French civilians, but his image became one of the most famous symbols of the Normandy invasion.

The Airborne Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of D-Day and the American paratroopers who fought in Normandy. It is a moving and educational experience that will help you understand the sacrifices that were made to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation.

Find out more: airborne-museum.org/en/homepage/

 

3. Utah Beach Landing Museum

This museum is located on Utah Beach, one of the five beaches where Allied forces landed on D-Day. It features exhibits on the battle for Utah Beach, as well as the personal stories of the soldiers who fought there.

The museum is housed in a former German bunker that was used as a command post during the invasion. The exhibits in the museum cover a wide range of topics, including the planning of the invasion, the German defenses on Utah Beach, the Allied forces that landed on the beach, and the battle that took place on D-Day. The museum also has a collection of artifacts, vehicles, and weapons from the war.

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is the B-26 Marauder bomber that is suspended from the ceiling. This aircraft was used by the U.S. Army Air Forces to bomb German defenses on Utah Beach on D-Day. The museum also has a number of other aircraft on display, including a C-47 Skytrain and a D-Day glider.

The Utah Beach Landing Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in World War II history. The museum is well-organized and informative, and the exhibits are both interesting and educational. The museum is also located in a beautiful setting, just a few kilometers from Utah Beach.
 

Find out more: utah-beach.com/en/

 

4. Overlord Museum

The Overlord Museum is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, just 500 meters from the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach. It houses a unique collection of over 10,000 artifacts that tell the story of the Battle of Normandy and the liberation of Paris. The museum uses life-size reconstructions, personal effects of soldiers, and over 40 vehicles, tanks, and guns to bring the history of this pivotal event to life.

Here are some of the highlights of the museum:

- A life-size recreation of the D-Day landings, complete with landing craft, tanks, and soldiers
- A collection of personal effects from soldiers who fought in the Battle of Normandy, including uniforms, weapons, and letters
- A display of over 40 vehicles, tanks, and guns that were used in the battle
- A film about the Battle of Normandy
- A children's area with interactive exhibits
 

Find out more: overlordmuseum.com/en/


5. D-Day Omaha Museum

The D-Day Omaha Museum is a museum in Vierville-sur-Mer, France, that is dedicated to the events of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II. The museum is located in an authentic American-era building just 200 meters from Omaha Beach, one of the five beaches where Allied forces landed on D-Day.

The museum houses a collection of thousands of original artifacts from the invasion, including weapons, vehicles, uniforms, and personal belongings of soldiers who fought on Omaha Beach. It's a good museum for bringing the events to life and has some nice interactive features and it's quite moving as well as featuring exhibits on the planning and execution of the invasion, it also highlights the experiences of the Allied soldiers who fought on D-Day.. 

Find out more: dday-omaha.fr/en/


6. Normandy Victory Museum

The Normandy Victory Museum is a museum in Carentan-les-Marais, France, that tells the story of the 100 days following the Normandy landings in World War II. The museum is home to a collection of over 15,000 authentic objects, including vehicles, weapons, uniforms, and everyday items. The objects are displayed in 27 hyper-realistic stagings that bring the history to life.

The museum is divided into four main sections:

1) The Landings: This section tells the story of the D-Day landings and the Allied invasion of Normandy.
2) The Battle of the Hedgerows: This section focuses on the fierce fighting that took place in the bocage country of Normandy in the weeks following the landings.
3) The Breakout: This section tells the story of the Allied breakout from Normandy and the advance to the German border.
4) The Liberation: This section celebrates the end of the war in Europe.

The kids will enjoy this museum as it also has a number of interactive exhibits, including a flight simulator, a tank simulator, and a trench experience. Plus there is a restaurant and a souvenir shop on the premises.

Find out more: normandy-victory-museum.fr/en/

 

7. D-Day Beaches

The five beaches where Allied forces landed on D-Day are now memorial sites that offer visitors a chance to learn about the battle and pay their respects to the fallen soldiers.

Find out more: en.normandie-tourisme.fr/discover/history/d-day-and-the-battle-of-normandy/d-day-landing-beaches/

 

8. The Cemeteries

The American Cemetery: This cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer is the final resting place for over 9,000 American soldiers who died in the Battle of Normandy.

The German Cemetery: This cemetery in La Cambe is the final resting place for over 21,000 German soldiers who died in the Battle of Normandy.

 

If you want further handy tips on free things to do on holiday and ways to holiday on a budget then check out our article on 10 tips on keeping down costs on a camping holiday to France. 
 

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