The Grand Bunker

Jara Matan By Jara Matan, 10th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>France>Normandy

A summary of the Grand Bunker museum in Ouistreham which played a part in the Atlantic Wall defences and D-Day.

The Grand Bunker

The Atlantic Wall museum in the Grand Bunker is a unique gem regarding the D-day landings. An imposing structure, it is striking in its contrast to the residential area in which it now sits. The story of it's survival and capture are detailed within, as well as its function for the Germans. The journey within its walls are an amazing insight into the conditions and day-to-day routine of those within.
Situated in Ouistreham it is easily accessible from the ferry port or Caen. Once more public transport is more than sufficient to allow you to visit this site on your own timetable but private transport is more flexible. The only disadvantage to private transport is the lack of adequate parking facilities, especially during the busier times of year. A valuable experience, the bunker contains a wealth of information regarding the construction and design of the Atlantic Wall defenses as well as explaining its role as the German headquarters controlling the guns covering the river Orne and the canal.
Incorporating six floors it has been faithfully restored in great detail and allows visitors to journey through the complex with ease. Outside are some of the examples of the equipment used by both sides at the time including a German 88mm, an M3 Stuart light tank and a model of a V1 doodlebug. Continuing inside, the bunker contains many picture and information points as well as displaying the individual rooms as they would have been including sick bay, radio transmission room, generator room, armoury, and observation post. The observation post is a particularly interesting point with a fully functioning stereoscopic sight used for aiming the nearby defensive guns. It is even possible to visit the roof of the bunker for a spectacular view over Sword beach. One piece of advice is not to try this on a windy day, the sudden gusts can be quite powerful and it is not as enjoyable when clinging to the guardrail.
The bunker includes a gift shop but is lacking in other facilities, although its location means there are sufficient facilities nearby. It is open all week for most of the year, closed only for the month of January. From the 1st of February it's open from 10am to 6pm and then 9am to 7pm from the 1st of April to the 30th of September, returning to its 10am to 6pm times until December 31st.
Although the Museum is not as large as others it is rich in information and exhibits which can take a significant time to peruse and absorb. It is not spacious so on particularly busy days it can get quite congested inside. It's structure means that during the hotter summer period it can sometimes become quite uncomfortable and I would suggest spring or early autumn as the best times to visit. Ensuring a clear day is also important as the 360° views from various points within, and on top of, the bunker are fantastic and unobscured. .


D-Day, Grand Bunker, Ouistreham, Sword Beach, 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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