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Paris & WWII

My husband & I are headed to Paris & Strasbourg in 24 days! I am quite excited that he is making my dream come true :) I'd like to return the favor. He would really like to see WWII related sites. While googling places, I came across a very old post from 09 about various places to go...
Les Invalides
The Deportation Monument
and an off the beaten path Musee about the liberation of Paris in the Montparnasse train station

Rick always tells us to be sure our information is accurate & current as things can change :)
So I am writing to ask 2 questions:
1) Are all of these places mentioned still open?
2) Any other WWII locales that we may want to check out-we like back door/hidden gem kinds of places :)

And lastly, we will be travelling by train to Strasbourg....anything in Strasbourg that specifically relates to WWII that would make this trip extra memorable for my honey too?

Thanks everyone :)
Happy travels!

Posted by
7061 posts

Yes, all three of those museums are still open. I can't help with any other WWII sites but I'm sure others here will chime in.

Posted by
552 posts

Not sure how much time you have but a great day trip might be to the WW2 museum in Caen. Of course, the D-Day sights in Normandy would be great too. Enjoy!!

Posted by
6622 posts

Those three sites are still open. The third one, I think, is the General Leclerc Museum above Gare Montparnasse. Best to access it by elevator on Rue du Commandant Rene Mouchette, which is the street along the left side of the station as you face the front of the station. A companion museum up there is the Jean Moulin, about the Resistance.

Other WWII-related sights would include the Memorial de Shoah in the Marais just north of the river, the many plaques in the Marais and elsewhere commemorating deaths and deportations (like Jewish schoolchildren and resistance fighters), and a memorial to students who resisted the Nazis in the Luxembourg Gardens (between the palace and Blvd St-Michel). Paris Walks offers at least two walks related to the occupation, resistance, and liberation, plus many others that may interest you. There are buildings, like the police headquarters on Ile de la Cite, with bullet marks from the liberation, and walls where resisters were lined up and shot. Fragments of France's darkest years are everywhere.

A fine account of the liberation is Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominque LaPierre. And all, or nearly all, of Alan Furst's incomparable spy novels include Paris.

Maybe TMI re Paris, can't help you with Strasbourg.

Posted by
11507 posts

The Shoah Memorial ( is a museum) is very very interesting.. and as Dick mentioned.. just walking around in the Marais and seeing memorial plaques is very moving..

The Invalids Army Museum is huge.. and NEVER CROWDED.. its a pleasure to visit.. my whole family considers it a favorite.. its suitable for all ages( well my 11 yr old daughter and 13 and 14 yr old sons loved it) and I even found much to interest me! Allow at least 2 hours..

Posted by
11613 posts

If you haven't read it already, The Monuments Men gives an excellent account of what happened to the art of France (and othe countries) during the Second World War.

Posted by
9110 posts

Hitler made a brief, few hour, visit to Paris in June of 1940.

The iconic picture of him sitting on a wall with the ET in the background was made from the Trocadero Esplanade sort of out what would be the back door of the National Maritime Museum / Museum of Mankind in the open space between the two wings of the Chailot Palace.

Posted by
103 posts

In addition to Paris I highly recommend you make time for at least 1-2 overnight stay in Normandy.
Either book a couple of tours or DIY, or a combo of both.

Also, the large museum in Caen merits several hours visiting without rushing through it.


Posted by
287 posts

The Paris Walks tours are great. Our WWII walk was so informative and we really enjoyed it.

Posted by
9429 posts

Most Paris Walks Tours are good. We did the WWII one with an American woman guide and she was so bad we left half-way through. We met up with another couple a few days later on the street who had also been on the tour and they agreed the guide we had was awful. They had taken several other walking tours with this co. and the other guides were great.

Posted by
9769 posts

You could hardly get more appropriate than visiting the site in Reims --France's Champagne capital, Between (sort of) Paris and Strasbourg -- where the Germans signed their surrender, ending the war in Europe. This space was at the time Eisenhower's European HQ, and it's been preserved in that state since: maps on the walls, furniture, etc.

For information on the museum, follow this link:

Entry is 4€, with reduced fares for seniors, students, etc. they are open on May 8.

Posted by
16 posts

Oh my goodness! Thank you all so much :)
Sadly because of our time table (only 7 days total...travelling to & from Europe on Monday) we won't be able to add any additional places to our stops. Our son will be in Strasbourg & getting there is top priority after seeing the sights in Paris. It does sound like another trip may NEED to be planned for the 2 of us which will include Normandy, Reims & some other areas as well...perhaps we could return for several weeks :) And by all means please keep the suggestions coming! Anyone able to weigh in on Strasbourg?

Posted by
2391 posts

My sister and I loved Strasbourg. My son was there on Honeymoon and felt the same, the cathedral, canal, all wonderful. If at all possible, can you rent a car and drive from there to St. avold? It has the largest number of our troops buried in Europe. When you look at the graves, they are lined up like jewels in a crown. Simply wonderful and sobering.

Posted by
16 posts

I wish we could rent a car & travel by train while in France for this trip, but alas....we cannot. So that will be something that will wait for the next trip :)

Posted by
10296 posts

Go into any cemetery, particularly into the Jewish sections, and you'll see gravemarkers with photos that say "lost in the deportation". These are not government memorials but markers placed by surviving family members. Very moving.

Posted by
16894 posts

Looks like you've had some good advice. We have nothing to add about Strasbourg. Bon voyage!

Posted by
9 posts

Behind Notre Dame in Paris is a memorial to the Jews who were deported from Paris to the Nazi death camps. It's in a small park, with a stairway (over toward the river) going down into it. This is an immersive experience, and very moving.

Posted by
7395 posts


Last year after reading "Sarah's Key" I wanted to see this monument: Monument to the Victims of the Deportation to the Velodrome d'Hiver - monument w/ expressive facial & body features.

It's located on the quay just past the Eiffel Tower. If you google map "Rue Nocard, Paris, France", it's at the end of the cement/grass area near the intersection of Rue Nocard & Quai de Grenelle.

If you're able to return to France, I also highly recommend the WWII Museum & Normandy Beach tour! In the meantime, you might want to check out their website & I see they have an on-line bookstore:

Posted by
4148 posts

Adding on to Bets' post , If you can ,visit Cimitiere Pere Lachaise . Exit the Metro at the Gambetta stop and walk directly into the cemetery through the Porte Gambetta . Turn right and head to section 97 where the memorials to the victims of the camps are arranged . One of the most heart rending is that of Mauthausen . Learn about this camp before you go , you will understand the meaning of this memorial .