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“Very interesting place. The main exhibition tells the story in an interesting way.”
Review of Memorial of Caen

Memorial of Caen
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Mémorial de Caen Museum Admission and Guided Tour of D-Day Sites from Caen
Ranked #1 of 50 things to do in Caen
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: From the origins of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Mémorial de Caen tells you the story of the XXth century.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed August 25, 2014

I was under time constraints so I visited mainly the main exhibition (WW2 and the period between the WW1 and WW2). I lent a audio guide with me so mainly I listened to some parts and read the text plaques.
The place tells the story in a very interesting way (it's definitly not the first time I hear about the history of WW2), putting emphasis on the atmosphere.
After few hours, I felt a bit overloaded so if I could I would either take a break, eat something and return and come for a second visit some other day.
My recommendation is to plan your visit to include such two parts since the subject is heavy and the amount is a bit overwhelming (but very well presented).

The other exhibitions, which I almost run through, seems less well-told. The cold-war exhibition seems mostly objects and less telling the story. The exhibition of the D-Day landings and the preparation to it from both sides also seemed to be very well built but I didn't have the time to really experince it.

It I'll return to Caen, I certainly hope to come back and complete my visit.

1  Thank Ilan_UniqueComb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 25, 2014

Our holiday of this year had as theme World War I and II. So, we started in Ypres. In Caen we visited the Memorial. Although the information is overwehelming (and sometimes too much) it was a very impressive visit. You have to choose what you will examine more closely and what supeficial. By doing that you avoid being "overloaded'. We also took a lunch break, before we started with the second half of our visit. All in all: we had a very interesting day.

Thank Jaapfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2014

I confess that prior to my visit I had a (not very detailed) anglicised view of WW2 so for me this was interesting to read and hear a fact based account from another angle (if you're very knowledgeable about WW2 then you'll probably already know most of what is here).
If you're not French, you really should hire an audio guide to maximise your visit otherwise your experience of the museum may be one of queues and crowding round to read information ( which it sounds like some of the reviewers here experienced!) Yes, it's comprehensive. Yes, there's lots of things to read but it's chronological and relevant.
Memorial de Caen is a great comprehensive starting point for anyone wishing to visit the Landing Beaches. The museum offers combination tickets for around 40€ allowing you to visit the museum and landing beaches in one day. Great option if you have limited time.

To do this museum justice allow 3 to 4 hours for the visit. There's a reasonably priced cafeteria so you can break up your visit quite easily by exiting at halfway point (you can see turnstiles) and then using you ticket to 'scan' back in again.

I saw a lot of bored and tired young children inside the exhibits, I felt sorry for them as there's not a lot they can connect with. It was busy when I went and I don't recall seeing any pushchairs/strollers being allowed in to the exhibits so be prepared to carry little ones round!! or put them in the museum crèche.

Thank Kungaloosh_boosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2014

It's OK, but if you are already well informed on WW2, there is not much to learn about the conflict here. I would recommend going straight to the beaches instead.

1  Thank Educating_Croydon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2014

I'm being a little harsh with my rating but I found the memorial lacked the ability to pull me into the action. The sheer quantity of information is absolutely overwhelming and quickly becomes overkill: Massive quantities of texts to read, and audio guide that was dry and fact-y to a fault, and a line-up of photos, relics, letters and videos that left me feeling like I could have cracked open a history book and had the same experience without the crowds.
Another reviewer said that the museum was reflective of the way the French teach history in school, and I think that's accurate: Facts, figures, dates, names, text, text, text. Of course, this is all part of history, but in my experience, a good museum pulls one into the heart of the experience, and gets visitors to identify with the subject matter, as opposed to passively witnessing it as a detached spectator.
If you have young children, I strongly, highly recommend avoiding this museum. They will be bored stiff and unable to enjoy it, and perhaps leave with a horrible case of museum-avoidance syndrome.
That leads me to another criticism I have of this museum. A great exhibit or museum has several levels of experience available for visitors: The quick but very interesting visit for those with little time (or little children!); the medium-lenth visit for a richer experience; and the in-depth and in-detail experience for the true enthusiasts. This isn't the case with this massive museum where everything runs together.
About half-way through, I couldn't see another picture of starving, dead children, it felt like voyeurism of the worst kind. To each his own, but this was not for me.

2  Thank Sara T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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