Because it matters that the youngest generations remember the First World War, the Musée de la Grande Guerre is a gem to visit in Île de France. Created by the city of Meaux to present to the public the collection gathering 55,000 pieces brought together by a history enthusiast, this museum keeps on evolving around temporary exhibitions and new purchases.
This history museum is open to all, whether you’re a history enthusiast or a parent looking for answers to give to your child thanks to a very bright and visual staging. It’s simple, the museum takes us to the heart of this dark time of our history and manages to answer 3 major questions: How did the water begin? Why is this a world war and how did it change the world?
A History museum open to all
Throughout the 3,000sqm of exhibitions, the museum only presents 3.500 items of the 55,000 objects from the permanent collections and each visit promises its share of discoveries. For instance, the tour of the museum begins with a chronological video clips that takes us back in time, from 20190 to 1871 when France loses the Franco-Prussian war… Then we are in 1871 and very well hidden, we find a piece of bread that dates all the way back from the Siege of Paris!
The first part unveils France is an allied to other nations and enters the war to support its allies. In a staging that takes us to the streets of the cities, we read boards explaining why France is at war, posters call for men, like the population a century before us.
We then end up in a large room, the front, where a sound installation is set up and allows us to picture the front. Looking up the ceiling, we see the first planes used for battles and pigeons who had the hard quest to deliver messages to the army. By foot, on horse or with the Taxis de la Marne and the first tanks, we see how soldiers went to the front and we follow them in their adventure.
The Musée de la Grande Guerre makes us live the soldiers’ daily lives: we find recreated trenches with barbwires and their rifles put up. We enter the soldier’s resting areas, filled with mud and lacking comfort. Here, you can even touch the beds and many items. All you need to get a real idea of what soldier endured.
On the other side, it’s the life behind the lines. Rooms offering a focus on weapons and games and letters written by soldiers, but it’s also the life in Paris from 1914 to 1918 with small shows and most of all, posters in metro stations that were used as shelters…
And we’re still using them, it feels odd…
A playful and living museum
The museum thought about every question, children might have with the “Espace Famille” [Family area] covering 45sqm: a “camp” with a relaxing vibe where workshops and stories are told to explain children from 6 to 10 years old the life during the war! In this area, children can rest thanks to small armchairs, they can write a letter or read and even try on French solider uniforms.
Every weekend, the museum provides adults with entertainments and some for children starting from 5 years old. And each season, events are held by the museum. On the menu, the comics fair in March, the Reenactment weekend in April and the aerial show in June!
Musée de la Grande Guerre
Rue Lazare Ponticelli
tarif réduit (-26 ans, chômeurs): 5 €
tarif plein: 10 €
Ouvert de 9h30 à 18h, sauf les mardis
Fermetures annuelles du 6 au 10 janvier 2020 et du 18 au 31 août 2020