When you’re in Normandy, don’t forget to visit the Caen Memorial. With its blend of history and vision for the future, this museum is not to be missed!
The Caen Memorial is a historical museum about the 20th century and its many conflicts. This emblematic monument in the city provides an opportunity to learn more about the region’s cultural heritage. Focusing mainly on the two world wars, it is a must-see for history buffs. However, visitors from all walks of life can also enjoy its extraordinary exhibitions. The museum is not just about learning, but also about philosophical reflection. Indeed, its main theme, in addition to history, is the fragility of peace. A visit to this monument will therefore be all the more rewarding.
Would you like to buy tickets for the Caen Memorial, but would like more information? Then let’s go and discover this exceptional place, which is one of the most visited in France.
History of the Caen Memorial
This unique museum was inaugurated in 1988, on the initiative of a former mayor of Caen. The first thirteen stones of the building were laid in 1986. It stands on the exact site of Wilhelm Richter’s command post. This German general was one of the best-known soldiers in the Wehrmacht. During the Second World War, he notably led the 716ᵉ infantry division during the American landings. Building a memorial of this kind on this site was therefore extremely symbolic. More than forty years after the Allied victory, it was obviously a call for peace.
The Memorial was therefore built with this very figurative objective in mind. By teaching its visitors the details of recent wars, it invites them to observe the uncertainty of peace. In fact, the heads of state of the eleven countries involved in the Battle of Normandy were present for its inauguration. Today, the museum welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Tourists from all over the world come to the Caen Memorial to admire its collections. Although it focuses on European conflicts, its themes can affect people from all over the world.
Our advice for a successful visit to the Caen Memorial
Buy your tickets in advance
For the most enjoyable visit to the Memorial, it’s best to plan ahead. The first thing to do, of course, is to buy your tickets for the Caen Memorial online beforehand. This way, you can choose the type of ticket you want.
Some tickets allow access to specific exhibitions. You can also set your arrival time. This will save you having to queue.
Download and use the mobile application
To make your visit even easier, we recommend that you download the mobile application. If you have a smartphone, it will be available from the App Store for your iPhone or the PlayStore for Android.
- The first advantage of this system is that you don’t have to carry your Caen Memorial tickets with you. Once you’ve bought your tickets, you can easily view them from the app.
- The app will also be your ideal guide as you explore the Memorial. It will give you a wealth of information about the various exhibitions. It will also tell you which collections are not to be missed, as well as their opening times.
What can you do when you visit the Caen Memorial?
This history museum has three floors and more than a dozen permanent exhibitions. From time to time, it also hosts a number of temporary collections. So, for the most interesting visit, here are the must-sees when you’re visiting the Caen Memorial.
The main collection and the Enigma M4 machine
In the museum’s main collection, one of the objects not to be missed is the Enigma M4 machine. It is a veritable symbol of twentieth-century espionage.
Created by the German Arthur Scherbius in 1918, it is one of the forerunners of today’s computers. This coding and encryption device was used to transmit many secret messages during the war. It was mainly used by Nazi cryptographers. Far from being invincible, it nevertheless enabled the Allies to discover a great deal of information about enemy plans.
General Richter’s bunker
One of the most intriguing features of the Memorial is General Richter’s bunker. A command post during the Battle of Normandy, this underground bunker played a decisive role for the 716th German Infantry. Its strategic position enabled Richter to direct operations during the Normandy landings.
Today, you can discover the impressive layout of this emblematic bunker.
The Battle of Normandy collection
The Battle of Normandy and the Allied landings collection is one of the museum’s most important. It includes objects belonging to members of the Resistance, as well as many details about these decisive events in the conflict.
The exhibition also includes a film on the Battle of Normandy. It was created from German, French, American and Canadian archives. It shows the violence of the conflict and the bombing of Le Havre.
How much does a ticket to the Caen Memorial cost?
The museum offers different prices for visitors, depending on the type of Caen Memorial ticket they are looking for.
- Admission for children, students and senior costs €17.50.
- Adults will be charged €19,80.
- However, there is a reduced price for families. For two adults and a child, the visit costs €51.
How do I book a ticket for the Caen Memorial online?
- To visit the Caen Memorial, it is advisable to book your tickets online. All you have to do is go to the museum’s official website and access the online ticket office. You can then choose the number of tickets you want, and plan the date and time of your visit. Once there, you can validate your tickets on paper or on your smartphone.
- Tour operators also offer excursion packages that include transport. Prices range from €15 to €150.
Are there guided tours of the Caen Memorial?
The Caen Memorial offers guided tours during the school holidays. They are available for families or individuals, at an additional cost. There is an additional charge of €4.50 for adults and €3 for children. These tours last an average of 2 hours. You’ll need to book online to take advantage of them.
Are there combined visits with other monuments in Caen?
The Peace Museum is closely linked to the Falaise Memorial and the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema. These two other monuments also focus on the history of the 20th century and its conflicts. If you buy tickets for the Caen Memorial, you can combine them with entry to these activities. Tickets for all three museums cost €30.
You can also choose a ticket that allows you to visit the Caen Memorial, the Cinema and the Cité de la mer in Cherbourg.
What are the opening times for the Caen Memorial?
- April to August: the Memorial is open every day from 9am to 7pm.
- September to December: it closes at 6.30pm each evening.
- In November and December, it is only possible to visit the Caen Memorial from Tuesday to Sunday.
- February to March: the museum is open from 9am to 6pm.
- It is, of course, closed on Christmas Day and for most of January.
How do I get to the Caen Memorial?
This peace museum is located on the Esplanade Eisenhower, to the north of Caen.
- From the city centre, it can be reached by bus, taking line 2 towards La Folie – Mémorial. From the station, take line 6a or 6b.
- By train, Take a train from the Gare Saint Lazarre in Paris to Caen. Then take one of the above buses to visit the Caen Memorial.
- Of course, you can also get to the museum by car, taking the A13 motorway from Paris. From Rennes, take the A84 and exit 7 on the northern ring road.
Where can I park near the Caen Memorial?
As it is situated in the middle of a hill, the Memorial does not have a dedicated car park for visitors.
- However, there is a car park on Amiral Mountbatten Avenue.
- If it is full, you can head for a second car park on Alfred Kastler street.
Both of these sites have the advantage of being free, and of being within easy reach of the Caen Memorial.
Where to stay near the Caen Memorial?
Do you want to stay in the area before visiting the Caen Memorial? Then you can opt for accommodation close to the Memorial. Many hotels are located just a stone’s throw from the monument, to the north of the Colline aux Oiseaux. The best way to select one at a low price is to use a hotel comparison service. However, you could also choose to stay in other areas of the Normandy capital. The site is easily accessible by public transport, so you won’t have any trouble getting there.
So what are you waiting for to visit the Caen Memorial?