About the museum

In 1986, Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister, laid the first stone of the Caen Memorial Museum in the company of Jean-Marie Girault. The Museum was inaugurated in 1988 by the French President, François Mitterrand. Today, the Museum is one of the most important memorials in Europe. Its expertise, as well as its cultural, educational and scientific standards, are now internationally recognized.

The origins of the Memorial Museum

Jean-Marie Girault

Jean-Marie Girault (1926-2016) was the Museum’s founder.

The extraordinary success of the Memorial Museum lies in the determination of its originator, Jean-Marie Girault, senator and mayor of Caen for 31 years. On June 6, 1944, Jean-Marie Girault was 18 years old and a volunteer in the emergency teams of the French Red Cross, set up to rescue the local Caen population subject to bombardments. He came face to face with the horrors of war and with human nature, whether heroic, ordinary, or cowardly.

Caen, a liberated yet martyred city, deserved a tribute worthy of the suffering it had endured. This was achieved, but in the spirit of reconciliation that characterizes the Memorial Museum’s approach. This spirit, specific to the Caen Memorial Museum, will guide you through the various sections of the museum and plunge you into the very heart of 20th century history.

The Caen Memorial museum

The Memorial Museum in brief

Status: SAEML (local public-private company)
Majority shareholder: City of Caen (51.6%)
Capital: €1,233,027
Chairman: Joël Bruneau, mayor of Caen
Chief Executive Officer: Kléber Arhoul
Number of employees (all sites): between 90 and 100 in a normal year
Museum surface area: 14,000 m² on 3 levels, including 5,600 m² of permanent exhibitions

SIREN 348 713 694 | VAT FR 71348713694 | APE 9102Z


Mémorial de Caen