climb down the past (literally) – The Museum of the Liberation of Paris
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The Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin. The museum with the oddly long name got inaugurated only in August 2019 and is one of the newest museums in Paris.
Good to know: the admission is free! (check out our “Paris for free” section!)
Well, it’s not completely new. The Liberation Museum was previously located above the train station Montparnasse, but pretty much under the radar of every visitor and even unknown to most Parisians. And very far from honoring its importance!
In August 2019, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of liberating France from the Nazis during World War II, the new Museum of Liberation got inaugurated – new location, new building, and built on a history loaded site!
What can you expect from visiting the Liberation Museum of Paris?
You noticed probably that the museum has a weirdly long name Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin
But you’ll see, it makes sense. The museum tells not only the story of Paris during WWII, but also honors two of the key figures of the French resistance, Général Leclerc and Jean Moulin.
The exhibition of the museum progressively unfolds WWII and the French resistance along the common thread of the biography of Général Lecrelc and Jean Moulin. When visiting the Museum, you are following the biographies of those two key figures and their impact leading up to the liberation of Paris.
The exhibition consists of photos, projections, original documents, and items, and gives a voice to contemporary witnesses.
While attending the different sections of the exhibition, historical connections are intuitively unfolding. The chronologically vivid procession is quite capturing and impressive!
But… that’s not all!
The bunker of the Liberation museum
As mentioned, the museum is built on a historical site.
The last weeks before the liberation of Paris from the Nazis, the French Resistance orchestrated their actions from the underground – literally. They used an old bunker as a shelter, completely equipped with phone lines and emergency electricity generators.
This hideout lays around 100 steps under Place Denfert-Rochereau, and also 100 steps under the Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin.
The bunker was closed for the public since the time being but got restored and renovated and can be visited since the inauguration of the liberation museum.
Visiting the Musée de Liberation
The museum is located just across the street of the catacombs of Paris, in the 14th arrondissement. But contrary to one of the most famous sights of Paris, you can expect very little waiting time, if at all!
Tip: even if the Liberation Museum is not high on your Paris bucket list, is the waiting time at the catacombs too long, or you can’t enter, think about this historical relevant museum!
The museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 to 18h. The last entrance is at 17:30 and the rooms are closing at 17:35.
4, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy
The closest Metro and train station is Place Denfert-Rochereau, serviced by Metro Line 4 and 6, and RER B
The admission of the museum and the bunker are free and do not require a reservation ahead of time.
However, the bunker is not freely accessible. If you want to head down to visit the resistance shelter, you can simply sign up at reception. They have several slots a day – when I visited they had a tour every 30 minutes.
If you visit the bunker and walk slowly through the exhibition, you can expect to spend 1.5 – 2h in the Liberation Museum.
The museum is barrier-free. However, the bunker isn’t. There is no elevator. But if you can’t visit the bunker, you can request a virtual 360° tour on a tablet.
What else to do around the Liberation Museum of Paris?
The Catacombs of Paris are one of the most visited sights in Paris and just across the street from the Liberation Museum. The underground ossuary belongs to an extensive tunnel system, the Catacombs, which are holdings the remains of more than six million people.
Parts of it are open to the public and can be visited daily, except Mondays.
As they are very popular, it’s absolutely necessary to purchase tickets in advance. Even though it’s possible that slots are open on a given day, it’s more likely that they won’t let you enter if you don’t obtain already a ticket.
It’s one of those Parisian pedestrian streets – cobblestoned, plenty of cafés and restaurants, and many épiceries fines – stores to buy cold cuts, cheese, wine, fruits, veggies, chocolates.. and all other kinds of yummy treats.
A perfect place for enjoying Lunch or Dinner.
If you are already in Paris’ south, it’s the perfect occasion to explore the local neighborhoods with some of the most amazing hidden gems:
Le Petite Ceinture (click here to know more)
Rue des Thermopyles
The parc Georges Brassens with the antique book market (know more here)
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