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“Very intersesting, very local personal touch”

Second World War Museum (Musee de la Guerre)
Ranked #8 of 35 things to do in Calais
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Owner description: Housed in a former German bunker, this museum holds a collection of items from all nationalities involved in the war.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

We visited the museum today and were surprised by the centrality of the location. It was very interesting, albeit a bit eerie in the bunker. Was made especially poignant with the amount of local artifacts, references and pictures. It put a very personal picture to the whole thing and gave us a better understanding of the part Calais played in the war. The one down side was that we were not offered the audio guide (as there were too many british speakers there) and so had to rely on me translating all the material. This would have been a real disadvantage if neither of us spoke French!

2  Thank 13eandr13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 - 55 of 112 reviews

Reviewed May 24, 2013

Well worth a visit - though younger children will be bored rigid. what makes it special is that Calais has a well recorded anti- Nazi history and many local citizens lost their lives as a result - old, young, men and women. That real sense of local history gives the exhibits an immediacy which is both touching and chilling.

1  Thank Sandra P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

It appears that most of the museum was left as it was once the Nazis left (except for the glass over the exhibits). There are items that the occupants used (including plates which have the swastika on the underside). Well told story but very eerie being here.

2  Thank BZM_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

The museum is an actual German bunker that was built during WWII to withstand the Allied invasion that never came. The Germans were convinced that the final offensive landing would be fought in Calais as this is the closest port to England. When the landing took place down the coast in Normandy it caught the Germans by surprise. This is not to say that Calais was unscathed by the war, on the contrary, the city suffered extensive damage during the Siege of Calais in 1940. As German troops were occupied at Calais it allowed the Evacuation at Dunkirk to succeed. Calais was left again in ruins as it bombed in preparation for D-Day in 1944 partly to deceive the Germans into thinking that the landing would take place here. Many brave citizens of Calais took part in the French resistance disrupting German communications and supply lines, wiring intelligence back to England and helping Allied soldiers out of occupied territory. Many of them were tortured and executed for these deeds.

As you walked into the museum you immediately became aware of the dampness, the darkness and the smell which gave you a good idea of the conditions that the inhabitants lived with. Each of the rooms of the bunker had different exhibits depicting various aspects of the war and liberation. The museum contained many actual artifacts and newspaper articles from this era. A good variety of the different unforms of the troops both allied and axis were displayed. The room that was most moving was the one dedicated to the French underground with stories of their activities and fate.

My only criticism was the lack of English translation in the museum. Partway through the exhibit I paused by audio translator in the wrong spot and had to depend on my high school French to get me through the rest of the museum. Considering the Canadians liberated the town in 1944(although apparently it wasn't much of a fight, as the Germans were poorly trained and demoralized by this time) it would have been nice to have even just the main captions in both our official languages. In Belgium, at the war museums everything was in Flemish, French, German and English. Just saying.

All in all, if you are into World War history I would recommend this intriguing war museum in Calais.

2  Thank LeeAnneCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

We were a party of 4 adults and 6 children - the youngest being 5 and the eldest 12, so we hesitated about going in at first and then decided to 'give it a go'. We paid 14 euros for a family of 2 adults and 3 children, which included the use of earphone guide equipment. We were all pleasantly surprised with the content and information provided. The kids loved it, entering each 'themed' room along two sides of a long corridor. The best room for the kids was the one showing videos of the German occupation of each European Country. They were mesmorised by it and watched the whole films. There are no toilets, the nearest being in the Town Hall about 100 metres away. Certainly a great experience for all ages.....and the bunker in which the Museum is housed gives it an eerie yet realistic and historic quality !

3  Thank PandDBlackburn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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