Most of the museums I visited in France are in Normandy and at the Pas-de-Calais. Some of them I visited only recently, others years ago, and I know that some of those museums have been refurbished since I last visited them. When I visit them again, I will update my reviews.
|Août 1944 Museum
Falaise – I remember us making a considerable detour to visit this museum and that it wasn’t particularly worth it. But we did because I was interested in what happened at the ‘Falaise gap’ in late June 1944. It mainly has interesting vehicles on display, but very little in the way of interesting American uniforms and equipment, let alone paratroopers. The upside, though, is that there’s a beautiful castle nearby which is fun to visit with kids.
See photos of my visit here
|Dead Man’s Corner Museum
Saint-Côme-du-Mont – Along with the Airborne Museum at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the Dead Man’s Corner is a required stop on your tour of Normandy. It has the greatest collection of unique paratrooper uniforms, helmets and equipment, all tastefully displayed. And they have a great shop too. Visit paratrooper.fr web shop.
|Mimoyecques Base V3
Landrethun-le-Nord – This is the museum I tried to visit last year, but contrary to the advertised opening dates, there was nobody home. Maybe I’ll try again next time round, as it’s the only V3 base (which was only almost completed when the war ended), next to several V2 installations in the Pas-de-Calais area.
Sainte-Mere-Eglise – As I said, this is the required stop. It has many uniforms and some unique pieces, such as a complete Waco-glider, which I found very interesting. A visit to Sainte-Mere-Eglise is worthwhile anyway, plus there are some militaria shops in the town.
|Musée D-Day Omaha
Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer – This museum is nice and has a few items I haven’t seen anywhere else (such as a cardboard box full of luminous disks) but the layout isn’t really up to today’s standards. Good if you are making a big tour of Normandy, but you can skip it if you’re on a tight schedule.
|Musée des Blindés
Saumur – This is the only one in my list that has nothing to do with paratroopers, but I thought I’d mention it in case you’re on holidays in the Loire Valley. It’s a tank museum, and the largest in the world at that. I haven’t seen WW2 German tanks of any in better condition than there. Absolutely fantastic pieces. Also great for visiting with kids.
|Musée des Rangers
Grandcamp-Maisy – This is a nice little museum, but maybe a bit too small.
Also to be skipped on your small tour of Normandy, unless you are a Ranger collector or SPR fan.
|Musée du Débarquement
Arromanches – This is the museum in Normandy to visit with kids. Focuses on the overall invasion plans, the Mulberry harbor and has some good paratrooper stuff. It was already great the two times I visited it, but a few years ago they renewed the show cases and made some other refinements.
|Musée du Débarquement (Utah beach)
Sainte-Marie-Dumont – A nice and fairly new museum. It has a great view on the landing beach. I would recommend it only for an extended tour of Normandy, because there isn’t much here for you if you are primarily interested in paratroopers.
|Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique
Audinghen – Cap Gris Nez – Housed in a blockhouse that is one of the largest structures in the atlantic wall, this museum holds many weapons and uniforms and really worth a visit. The German railroad gun outside is really impressive!
|Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie
Bayeux – This is a very large museum in the city that was fiercely fought over right after clearing the beachheads. It has many mannequins and good invasion force uniforms, weapons and equipment. Besides, Bayeux itself is worth a visit.