The Caen Memorial

Jara Matan By Jara Matan, 3rd May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>France>Normandy

Visiting the memorial at Caen while on a D-day tour holiday. What the memorial offers visitors and reasons for visiting.

The Caen Memorial

As an original D-Day objective, and within such close proximity of the Normandy beach landing sites, Caen and it's surrounding area contains a wealth of historic stories and sites. The most notable and closest of these is the Caen Memorial which is easily accessible by car or bus.
Taking you on a journey from 1914 onwards, the memorial leads you from the hope of Europe after the end of the carnage of WWI through the tumultuous era of the 20's and 30's on into the darkness of WWII and beyond. Thoughtfully designed to draw the visitor into the atmosphere of the eras it represents, the memorial is more than just a display of the past, it is a journey through the history that has shaped our present and future. Beginning with the horrifying consequences of WWI which ended with a fragile peace instituted by the Treaty of Versaille, and the attempts to protect it by the formation of The League of Nations. The memorial then leads you through the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the next two decades which would inevitably lead to WWII. Following the passage of this politically and economically unstable era, the Memorial leads you symbollically in a downward spiral into the chaos and darkness of WWII. After the conclusion of the WWII section of the Memorial, the journey continues through the Cold War era with its political and social changes which occured during these times, and ends with the hopes of those responsible for the Memorial that mankind can learn from its past before it destroys itself. By use of films, slideshows, atmospheric sound and lighting, genuine display artifacts and evocative artisic creations, you will find yourself thoroughly absorbed in this experience and, most likely, wiser and more understanding of the folly of mankind and the need to educate current generations so we are never plunged into this dark abyss again.
The Memorial focuses on certain areas of the war such as, the holocaust and deportations, and the effect of occupation upon the country and it's people.
The Memorial offers a media library contaning photographic, audio-visual and printed archives, and museum collections. This section is normally by appointment only but it is worth making arrangements to browse through it without being rushed. A unique selection of videos, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs on 20th century history and Human Rights, including the whole catalogue of Memorial publications, are available within the video library. Within the gift shop there is a vast choice of posters, postcards, books, historical items and souvenirs. Some of the more tourist orientated museums and war collections have a plethora of mementos and souvenirs but the Caen memorial also sells a vast selection of reference and educational material in various formats.
Refreshments are provided from three different outlets within the Memorial. There is a restaurant with table service, a self-service restaurant and, for those wishing only a quick stop, a sandwich bar. The prices are fair for the quality of the food and drink, the service and the surroundings.
Should you need assistance of any kind there are plenty of trilingual hostesses ready to welcome you to the Memorial. They are always easy to find and will answer any of your queries or direct you through the various points of interest. Many of the interactive services are multi-lingual and the Memorial is dedicated to being accessible to a worldwide audience.
In addition to these, other services available are: a free children's playground (supervised by a qualified nursery nurse), a free car park, a covered picnic area, access for disabled people, a cloakroom and a foreign exchange desk. The surrounding grounds are well designed and maintained.
When you plan a visit to this fantastic and educational experience ensure that you plan to be there the whole day if not two. Rushing through the Memorial will mean you miss many important and significant details as well as failing to fully appreciate the purpose of it. There is a vast choice of accommodation in the area and prices are quite reasonable. With it's close proximity to the city centre and a frequent and reliable bus service, transport is not a major issue. There are many places in the surrounding area to visit if you have an interest in this particular period but the Caen Memorial is a must. Even if you only have a vague interest in the specifics of WWII, the Memorial covers so much more besides that will make it a valuable and memorable experience.

Tags

Caen, Historical Events, Memorials, Wwii

Meet the author

author avatar Jara Matan
37yr old single father. Over a decade experience in supporting Learning Difficulties and Supported Living. Extensive knowledge of modern history(1880-1965) in social, political and military aspects.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd May 2013 (#)

We need to study history and the mistakes made so as not to repeat them as they will prove costlier. Well covered, thanks Jara Matan - siva

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author avatar Jara Matan
3rd May 2013 (#)

Too true, Siva. Many people see this period as a distant event without realising it continues to shape and influence our world today. It is an indication of the destruction, oppression and inhumanity that mankind is capable of inflicting upon others. Modern ethnic cleansing, genocide, sectarianism and racism are proof that we still have a lot to learn.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd May 2013 (#)

I am sure the Caen Memorial would have been a fascinating place to visit, and it makes us think about terrible things we have done.

Do you have a photo you can add?

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author avatar Jara Matan
3rd May 2013 (#)

They try to prevent people taking photos inside(not sure why) but I have a few I will attach. Had problems with uploader when posting this article.

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