WW1 Photos Centenary Website: 2014-2018 By Paul Reed

New WW1 Museum, Meaux

The Musée de la Grande Guerre opened in the French town of Meaux – in the heart of the 1914 Marne battlefields – in late 2011. While this is its second year and has had good visitor numbers, I do not think it has quite reached the radar of English speaking visitors as yet and I myself have only just had a chance to pay the museum a visit.

Main WW1 Gallery

I must confess that I did approach the visit with some trepidation; modern museums can often have themes which at times seem remote from the core subjects of the Great War and occasionally go for audio-visual over objects. In the case of this superb museum my fears were unfounded as it proved to be one of the best museums I have visited in a long time and now is in my top five WW1 museums in the world!

Marching to War: 1914

The visit at the Musée de la Grande Guerre starts with a short film taking you back to the origins of the Great War and the Franco-Prussian War. You then proceed into the pre-war galleries which emerge into a display of soldiers marching to war in 1914 and the main hall. This hall is packed with a Marne Taxi, pigeon loft, WW1 aircraft a FT17 tank, artillery and two large trench displays. Off of it are other rooms which follows themes or the timeframe of the war, equally packed with fascinating objects, imagery and artwork. Two and a half hours here just flew by and it is one of those great museum where I know I shall return each time and see something I missed previously.

The trench displays were particularly effective; a trench ends on a wall where the movement and activity in the trench is cleverly blended with archive film from WW1 – see below.

 

The museum has a well stocked bookshop at the end, good, clean toilets, safe and plentiful parking, and a nice little cafe which does drinks and light snacks. You cannot take bags inside but there are lockers to leave them in. It has good disabled access for a French museum and the staff are all very friendly.

I cannot recommend the Musée de la Grande Guerre enough and combined with a visit to some Marne battlefield sites close by, this makes the Marne an exciting battlefield to visit.

 

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3 responses

  1. Will be interesting to see what the average figure is from the replies you get Michael.

    13/02/2013 at 23:03

  2. I’ve been to this museum at Meaux twice and it is indeed excellent. I belong to the Basildon Borough Twinning Association and Meaux is our twin town, so we have close links with the museum. I also belong to a WWI centenary commemoration group called Forget Never – the Somme and some of our members along with local school children will be visiting the Somme and the museum at Meaux. Basildon Borough and Meaux are both also twinned with Heiligenhaus in Germany and school children from that town will be joining ours.

    28/08/2016 at 20:58

  3. Liz McKernan

    Hello Paul – just been revisiting your site and see that I must have overlooked this particular post. This Museum has been on my ‘To Do’ list when visiting Paris ever since I first read about it but I have not yet had the opportunity to visit although I have bought their impressive (and heavy!) book which I found in the bookshop FNAC in Paris.

    I will indeed make a special effort to visit following your praise.

    Best wishes from Brighton!

    03/11/2016 at 15:58

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