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Normandy WWII Museum

Normandy WWII Museum

The Normandy WWII Museum located in Caen, France is great for people of all ages and different ranges of historical interest.  World War II was not like any other war but a historical event that created shockwaves throughout the world.  Its ramifications are still evident as it has shaped the world we know today.

Normandy WWII Museum

 

What will you see in this Normandy WWII museum?

Upon arrival to the Memorial de Caen, you instantly see massive flag poles consisting of every great nation involved in World War II.  This instantly sets the stage on how influential this war really was.  This Normandy WWII Museum is the biggest museum in all of Normandy for many reasons.  It doesn’t matter how much prior knowledge you have on this topic or whether you consider yourself a big history fanatic, the museum caters to everyone of all degrees and ages.

The museum is structured as one massive timeline, explaining the series of events of WWII. The storyline begins with background information between the foreign nations and the explanation in the rise of totalitarian leaders involved, such as Hitler and Mussolini.   This Normandy WWII Museum takes into consideration that many visitors might not know why WWII was started, so by adding this to the exhibit, it is greatly beneficial and informative.  The timeline then proceeds from these causes of WWII all the way through the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Normandy WWII museum

Many focal points of the war are displayed such as Hitler’s invasion in Europe, American involvement after the Pearl Harbor attack, and the strategies and war tactics of the Allies and Axis Powers.  The key focal point is on World War II and the actions in Normandy, but the museum touches nicely on all the things before and after that had a hand in shaping how Europe is today.

Why is this Normandy WWII museum so interesting?

The Memorial de Caen doesn’t fail to shed light on sensitive and often-ignored aspects such as both civilian and soldier casualties, Holocaust victims, and the mass destruction of civilizations.  Despite the content containing graphic material, the museum portrays the information in an organized, clear, and tasteful way.  Real artifacts like worn uniforms, newspaper clips, guns, and machinery are displayed throughout the entire exhibit, giving visitors an actual sense of what the war was like.  Because WWII applies to many nations, captions and explanations placed underneath these artifacts and graphics are written in French, English, and German.  Along with these explanations, audio and video clips are displayed across the entire exhibit to aid in a better understanding of the content.  Audio tours are also available in multiple languages if you don’t understand English and French well.

How to visit this museum

Normandy WWII museum Being the largest and most complete museum in Normandy, plan to take at least three hours to fully see the entire exhibit.  Many people have expressed that they wish they planned more time for the museum!  If you only have time on your Normandy trip to visit one museum, make sure it is this one. The information may seem overwhelming at first but arrows are placed frequently to direct and make sure visitors see the information in the correct chronological order. Visitors may also buy tickets to see a short film on the D-Day Invasion as well as follow a tour guide throughout the museum if they wish to have a more in-depth education on the war.  This is extremely helpful especially to those who might not know a lot about WWII!  The Memorial de Caen presents a sobering picture of World War II and all of its ramifications as it broadens awareness to such an influential event.

ParisByM highly recommends taking time to see the beautiful yet heart-breaking exhibit as it raises awareness and knowledge of one of the biggest events in history.

More information to prepare your visit is accessible on the Memorial website here. If you are interested in visiting it during an excursion in Normandy, you can contact us to organize the full visit for you.

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What To Visit For Your Normandy Battle Tours ?

D Day sites: The American Sector

Normandy Beaches Tour, An Other Side Of Normandy

chocolate, museum, sweets

The Chocolate Museum (Musée Gourmand du Chocolat)

It is one of the world’s most popular delicacies, but few people know a lot about it. In the chocolate museum for chocolate lovers (Musée Gourmand du Chocolat) in Paris, you can taste your way through the evolution of chocolate. During a visit to the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat you will learn how the Mayans and then the Aztec used to grow cocoa trees, how cocoa beans conquered Europe, but also how cocoa is converted into chocolate. A master chocolate maker will make chocolates for you with a tasting sessions that is of course included in the visit. Visit now and try different chocolate products while watching how they are made and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the end.

History

The building has 3 floors. You start on the ground floor where you go into the history of cocoa and the use of cocoa. Starting with the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs, you will learn more about the important role cocoa played in ancient cultures. Jump to the year 1502, when Christopher Columbus and his crew robbed a Maya merchant and confiscated some cocoa beans in the process. He was not impressed by the goods but nevertheless brought the cocoa beans back to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella as a curiosity. By the end of the 16th century, cocoa use was widespread across Europe.

chocolate museum, chocolate, sweets, museum, paris

The Tour

The basement is one of the most fun parts of the museum. Here you will find very special chocolate creations like a very large Eiffel Tower of chocolate and a very large Arc de Triomphe made of chocolate. Extremely beautifully crafted, and incredibly detailed there are also fashion designs of chocolate such as dresses and heels.  The dresses have actually been worn by real models.

You can also see how the process of making chocolate has become increasingly streamlined over the centuries. Look at demonstrations that take place in the basement every 25 minutes to discover the secret behind the glossy outer layer that makes chocolate cakes so attractive, and sample a few chocolate products made on the spot.

The chocolate maker will show you how pralinés with hazelnut in it are made. Before each session, you will watch a short film explaining how chocolate is produced nowadays, from harvesting cocoa until the final transformation to chocolate.

4 Chocolate Museum, museum, chocolate, sweets, paris

Tasting

The best part of this demonstration: you can taste chocolate from different countries. Enjoy the creamy smoothness of Costa Rican chocolate, the delicious “melt-in-the-mouth” fruitiness of Peruvian chocolate, the sweet aromas of cocoa beans from Vanuatu and much more. You will also learn that chocolate has many benefits for your health.

Chocolate Museum, chocolate, museum, sweets, paris

Various objects and beans are exhibited in which information is always given in 3 languages: English, French and Spanish.

At the end of your visit, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate milk and take a look around in the museum shop to buy a book, souvenir or some chocolates.

Museums You've Never Heard Of, Invalides, army museum

The army museum : a History gem in the Invalides

Presentation of the Museum

Louis XIV decided to build The Hôtel des Invalides, in order to host and take care of the injured soldiers. The aim was quite philanthropist : enabling them to enjoy the rest of their life the best possible in a place they would be taken care of. Then, two museums were created in the Hotel : the Artillery Museum (1796), exposing royal collections and other gifts, and the Historical Army Museum (1896). Only in 1905 did these two museums merge to become the army museum. Today, this almost 10 000m² museum holds about 500 000 pieces so that it is the 3rd global collection, which makes it very impressive and undoubtedly worthseeing !

What you can’t miss

Invalides, army museum

Since the army museum is divided into about 10 sections, we’ve decided to present you those you cannot miss. Let’s start with the most famous one : The Rounded Roof Church.

The Rounded Roof Church

This dome is the symbol of the Hotel, because of its architectural magnificence. Built in the end of the 17th century, this royal chapel pays tribute to its creator, Louis XIV through its decoration, but it also quickly became a sanctuary. In the 1800s, it began to house the tombstone of two renown Marshalls, Turenne, and Vauban (his heart at least). Recognizable from very far, it is mostly famous because it contains Napoléon 1er’s tombstone. The decoration style is quite stunning, with very few but fancy colours in noble stones (quartzite, granit and marble)… Thus, it has all the elements to amaze you !

The District of old armors and weapons (from the Middle Age to 1643)

There, you will discover the evolution of the weapons used in Europe in this period, in a chronological order. From medieval swords to more modern arms such as guns, you will be invited to approach the unfolding of many European wars, and even to learn about the Asian inheritage of the weapons.

army museum

The Modern District, from Louis XIV (1643) to Napoleon III (1870).

More focused on the French History, you will be revealed the evolution of technologies and war strategies, but also the different political regimes France knew all over this period. You will be able to approach the soldiers’ daily life through their costumes, weapons, and you will also access Napoleon’s personal goods. Besides, the section is renown for the diversity of its collection, so that you will also find more unusual items such as musical instruments or decorations.

The Contemporary District and the Two World Wars

Turning points in the French, but also the World’s History, this district presents a very diversified collection of items showing what these wars were made of in terms of arms, and how they unfolded. You will note the contrast with the first District through the improvement of the weapons, and all the different rooms will make you feel like one of these soldiers. Moreover, there are personal documents such as letters or pictures which undoubtedly won’t leave you unmoved.

army museum

The Charles de Gaulle Historial

Paying tribute to the 18th June Man, the one who liberated France from the Occupation, this district is quite different in shape and content from the others, because it is above all filled with multimedia archives. There are no items but many screens and an infra-red audioguide to dive you into the path and the achievements of Charles de Gaulle, a President of paramount importance in the French History, and who is still deeply rooted in its memory.

If you want more

We advise you to pass by the Cour d’Honneur, in which you will find other pieces of the French Artillery through 70 bronze cannons. You can also visit the Museum of Bas-Reliefs to discover plenty of cities and countrysides models. Finally, if you were pleased by the Charles de Gaulle Historial, you should visit the Museum of Order and Liberation, paying tribute to those who fought through the Resistance for the Liberation of France.

Practical Information

Click in the following link to learn about the cost of the tickets and the opening hours. Note that the audioguides are available in 8 languages. Moreover, if you want to eat, there is a restaurant called “le Carré des Invalides”. Enjoy your visit in the great army museum !

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Marais, the centre pompidou, Paris museum list

The Centre Pompidou

Tired of ordinary museums and traditional works by the same old painters? The Centre Pompidou will offer you the largest variety of contemporary and modern pieces of art, right in the heart of Paris!

 

Best area to stay in Paris, the cente pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is a complex building situated in the Beaubourg area (4th arrondissement) which houses the National Museum of Modern Art, the Public Information Library and the IRCAM, a centre for music research.  It contains Europe’s leading collection of modern and contemporary art, with over 100.000 works of 20th and 21st centuries.  It opened in 1977 in a revolutionary six-floor building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and, at the core of its mission, it has always tried to include contemporary artists and to open to any kind of art from all over the world.

You will find temporary exhibitions, which focus on new technologies, installations and contemporary art, along with permanent exhibitions. Around the building, you can also enjoy the atmosphere of the area called Beaubourg, within the Marais, full of cafés, small shops and people from all over the world.

There are several collections within the museum:

The Modern Collection (1905 – 1960’s)

the centre pompidou

It contains major works by leading figures such as Matisse, Picasso and Braque, starting with the Fauve Revolution and joining the Surrealism, with the reconstruction of André Breton’s studio and some works by Duchamp. Here you can also find some pieces of Informal Art by Dubuffet and some major works by Kandinsky.

The Contemporary Collection (1960’s – 1990’s)

It contains paintings, photographs and sculptures by artists such as Bacon, Rothko, Klein, Johns and Beuys. You can also find some works of the most representative Pop Artist Andy Warhol.

The Contemporary and Progressive Creation (1990’s – Onwards)

centre pompidou

It consists of paintings, sculptures and installations by artists born after 1960. Most of the works are multidisciplinary and you can enjoy masterpieces by Orozco, Bartana, Koo Jeong A and Parreno.

The museum also houses Europe’s largest Collection of Photographs, with works by Man Ray, Brancusi and Surrealist artists, and the Design Collection, with a great variety of prototypes and unique pieces. You can also visit the Cinema and New Media Collection, with experimental movies and creations from Méliès to Donnelly, as well as several installations by iconic artists such as Dan Graham.

Finally, you can also enjoy the Graphic Art Collection, where the major collections of works on paper by Artaud, Chagall, Delaunay, Matisse or Kandinsky are exposed.

centre pompidou

Within the Centre Pompidou, you may take a look at the Kandinsky Library, specialised in the arts, where books, reviews, archives and audiovisual documents are presented. Later, you can visit the Atelier Brancusi, where the artist used to create his sculptures: you will have the opportunity to see how sculptures were created and disposed by Brancusi in order to establish a close relationship with space.

 

Family

Let your kids enjoy the museum thanks to special activities in the “Kids Gallery” and in the “Kids Studio”: an interactive and funny way to explore the world of the artists through observation and experimentation. There is also a space for teenagers called Studio 13/16, where they can enjoy free programmes, as well as interact with the creators.

How to get to the Centre:

Transportation in Paris, centre pompidou

Credit: Gonzalo Photography

You can easily get to the Centre by Metro (Rambuteau, line 11; Hôtel de Ville, lines 1 and 11; Châtelet, lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14). Otherwise, you can take the RER (Châtelet-les Halles, lines A, B and D), or the Bus (29, 38, 47, 75). There are also several Velib stations (no. 4020, 3014 and 3010).

 

Opening times:

Centre Pompidou:  11:00 – 22:00 (exhibition areas close at 21:00) / Thursdays until 23:00 (exhibitions on level 6)

Atelier Brancusi: 14:00 – 18:00

Public Library:  Monday-Friday  12:00 – 22:00 / Saturday, Sunday and Holidays  11:00 – 22:00

Closed on Tuesdays and  1st of May

On the first Sunday of every month, the access to the museum is free for everyone!

Then, what are you waiting for? Discover contemporary and modern art at the Centre Pompidou and enjoy all the amazing collections!

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Paris in the Rain, Orsay museum, top 10 masterpieces orsay museum

Orsay Museum

It was a train station before becoming  known worldwide for impressionist art. The Orsay museum was firstly inaugurated by François Mitterand in 1986. From this year forward, the museum has been housing one of the most important impressionist collections in the world.

Paris, Vacation Packages, Holidays, All-Inclusive, Orsay Museum

Musée d’Orsay

WHAT TO SEE?

Interiorly designed by the Italian architect and industrial designer, Gaetana Aulenti, the Orsay museum provides you with some exquisite collections of art.

Once in the museum, you will have the chance to contemplate the most important impressionist artists and their masterpieces: Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh are just some of them.

You can also appreciate the architecture of the building. As it was a train station in the 1900’s, the Orsay museum allows you to see this previous station, since almost nothing was changed after its closing in 1939.

The Top-10 masterpieces in the museum are:

1.  Degas, The Ballet Class (La Classe de danse, 1874)

2.  Manet,  Luncheon on the Grass (Déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863)

3.  Manet, Olympia (1863)

4.  Renoir, Dance at le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876)

5.  Courbet,  The Origin of the World (L’origine du monde, 1866)

6.  Rodin, Fugit Amor (1886)

7.  Van Gogh, Starry Night Over the Rhône ( Nuit étoilée sur le Rhône, 1888)

8.  Cézanne, The Card Players (Les joueurs de cartes, 1892-1895)

9.  Monet, London, Houses of Parliament (Londres, le Parlement, 1904)

10. Monet, Blue Water Lilies (Nymphéas bleus, 1916-1919)

HOW TO EXPERIENCE IT?

Located by  the Seine River, the Orsay Museum is waiting for you to offer the best impressionism experience you will ever have. You can prepare your visit to this historic building beforehand by purchasing your tickets in advance. You should visit the museum early in the morning or enter the museum around 2 hours before the closing. A perfect end to the day!Orsay Museum

Floor vision map available here

If you are an art lover, you might be interested in taking an audio tour within the museum. The audio tours have an addition cost, but provide you with a lot of information about specific works of art.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Hours:  9:30am to 6pm. Mondays closed. Open late on Thursday.
  • Prices: 12€, free for EU residents under 26. Free under 18.

 

Additional sightseeings in Paris

Versailles Castle

Notre Dame Cathedral

Arc de Triomphe

 

Louvre museum

Louvre Museum

While in Paris you shouldn’t miss the Louvre museum! It’s the largest museum in the world, hosting more than 35,000 masterpieces and welcoming more than 9 million visitors per year.

 

What will you see ?

Louvre museumIn the Louvre, you can see art from prehistory until the beginning of the XIX century.

You will discover paintings, sculptures, furniture and much more! There is something for everyone.

Main masterpieces include : Mona Lisa, Venus of Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Wedding Feast of Cana, Liberty Leading the People.

How to experience it ?

louvre museumYou should prepare beforehand and definitely book your ticket in advance if you want to skip the up to 2 hours long line. If it’s your first visit, we suggest you to focus on the main masterpieces tour, which allows you to see around 10 of the most famous masterpieces of the world in approximately 2 hours.

If it’s not your first visit or you want to take more time in the museum, we recommend that you prepare your visit in advance by checking out a map of the museum and planning what type of art you want to see (View museum map here). You can also arrange an official guided tour with the museum directly at the welcome desk, located by the ticket booths (price in addition to your entry ticket).

We recommend that you arrive in the morning to have plenty of time to enjoy the museum. There are places to get a snack just outside the entrance gate if you wish to spend the full day, like Starbucks. Keep in mind that the museum closes at 6pm and that the guards begin to empty the place approximately 30 minutes earlier.

Practical information

  • Hours: Everyday from 9am to 6pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Late opening until 10pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Prices: 15€. Free under 18 year old and for European resident under 26 with valid proof of residence. Tickets are available in ParisByM’s packages.

 

Additional sightseeings in Paris

Seine River Cruise

City Bus Tour

Versailles Castle