Discover in Carentan, the museum of the Battle of the hedges
In Carentan, the Battle of the Hedges Museum known as the NORMANDY VICTORY MUSEUM is one of the must-see museums in Normandy, on the theme of the Second World War and Memory. It highlights an event that is less well known than the D-Day landings, yet decisive in the road to victory: the Battle of the Hedges.
27 hyper-realistic scenes with sound, supervised by historians
Nearly 15,000 authentic collectibles
About twenty old military vehicles inside and outside
And throughout the year, events and temporary exhibitions
To discover what happened during the two very important months following D-Day!
Many museums in Carentan and in Normandy evoke the landing of June 44 but here since 2017, we highlight, a slightly less known event: the Battle of the hedges. It was however a major event which allowed the liberation of France but at the price of heavy sacrifices for the soldiers and the civilians.
The objective of the museum’s founders and team is to make people understand the historical importance of this battle but also to pay tribute to the civilian and military victims and to the allied combatants, many of whom were Americans. The importance of their commitment and their losses are at the origin of the choice of the name of our museum: NORMANDY VICTORY MUSEUM in American language with in subtitle: Museum of the battle of the hedges. Read the article on the Battle of the Hedges.
Your visit in details
27 sound scenes and historical sets
As soon as you enter the vestibule of the museum, you find yourself in the André Gidon street. A decor entirely reconstituted from historical elements by our decorator which evokes a street of Carentan in the 40s.
Then you are drawn into the hushed atmosphere of the museum. The first scenes are presented to you and it begins with a reconstruction of the occupation. The progression is then done in chronological order until the counter-attack of Mortain which marks the end of the Battle of the hedges. The scenes are full of details, reconstructed from period photos and created by our team under the direction of a history professor who teaches in Carentan. Some scenes in the museum are sounded to accentuate the immersive character and understand what the military and civilians felt in those difficult times.
15,000 authentic objects
Throughout your stroll through the scenes, you will discover more than 15,000 authentic objects, presented in showcases or directly in the sets. These objects and relics have been collected over time by the museum team in the Carentan region or elsewhere. Some were offered to us by the actors of the time or their descendants who wish to participate in the transmission of their family history and of History with a capital “H”.
Manipulations and photos allowed
In the museum you are allowed and even invited to touch certain objects to better understand and experience the sensations of the actors of the time: helmets, fake weapons and various equipment. It’s not a game, but again, it’s about understanding! A weapon, a helmet, an outfit, a gear, it’s heavy, very heavy…
The objects you can handle are clearly marked and everywhere in the museum you can take pictures (without flash).
Archive images and testimonials
Archival films are available at various locations in the museum. Some filmed by the Americans during the operations (with French subtitles).
“Cobra, the breakthrough”: the testimonial film: Your entrance ticket gives you access to a fifty-seat screening room where Bernard SIMON’s exceptional documentary Cobra, the breakthrough, is shown every 30 minutes. (see the trailer). This documentary, released in 2014 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, gives voice to a dozen witnesses, many of whom come out of silence for the first time. All from the Marigny sector, they tell the story of the years of occupation, the landing, but especially the famous Operation Cobra, which put an end to the Battle of the Hedges, at the cost of the largest carpet bombing of the Second World War. It is a poignant document, not to be missed during your visit and which can be shown to the youngest, who will hear the testimonies of those who could be their grandparents.
“Portraits of veterans” photo exhibition, audio and video documents by Florent Plana In collaboration with Florent Plana, a professional guide in Normandy, known for his countless interviews with veterans (more than 900 interviews to date), we offer you a superb exhibition integrated into the visit “Portraits of veterans”. An exhibition full of emotion in the form of photos, audio tapes and videos, which is particularly appreciated by our visitors.
About twenty vintage vehicles
Integrated into the scenes, indoors, the most passionate and knowledgeable among you will recognize various old military and civilian vehicles. From the Weasel to the troop carrier, to the Peugeot 202 or the Fiat 500 Topolino, passing by the Citroën 23L truck, the motorcycles, the bicycles, the horse-drawn carriages or the Jeep in which you are allowed to take place.
Outside (free access).
You can admire a Sherman M4 tank built in 1943, busy breaking through a hedge with its “Hedge-cutter” system invented by the Americans in Normandy, notably by Sergeant Curtiss Cullin. An original copy of this system is presented in the museum
Opposite the N13, at the end of what was the A10 runway in 1944, several American engineering machines, intended for the creation then the maintenance of the airfields are also visible.
Tours in old military vehicles to discover historical places around Carentan
A passionate and experienced guide will take you on a ride in a vintage military vehicle, the Dodge WC51, which was widely used during the Second World War. In small groups, you will walk along the paths of history around the museum. Two tours are proposed and can be booked on our website:
- “A10 Airfield, in the footsteps of the 9th Air Force” – 40 mn – 24€ Pers.
- “Carentan, in the track of the 101st Airborne” – 1h15 – 44€/Pers.
A permanent exhibition: “Women in war”.
At the end of the visit, you have access to a thematic exhibition on the important role of women during the war. In all the countries concerned, they had to show courage and ingenuity. Their role was long ignored or even despised. They were known to be at home and in the fields while “their men” were at the front, but they were also in the factories, on the battlefield, in the army, at the controls of planes, in hospitals, in the resistance… their role was much more important than we can imagine today and we invite you to discover it in this exhibition.
In addition to the impressive collections gathered in the permanent exhibitions of the NORMANDY VICTORY MUSEUM, temporary exhibitions are regularly organized.
In 2022: the Tripplewagen exhibition introduced the public to a mythical amphibious car.
In 2023: the exhibition “Jean Gabin, la guerre c’est pas du cinéma” highlights the actor’s military commitment during the Second World War. An exceptional exhibition that presents unique pieces and allows the general public to discover a period of the life of Jean Gabin that by discretion it has little evoked.
Historic stages and outdoor facilities (free access)
On the runways of the A10 Airfield
The NORMANDY VICTORY MUSEUM is installed directly on part of the runways of the mythical A10 Airfield. It was specially built by the Americans for air support during the battle of the hedges. Read the article on the A10 Airfield.
Outdoor historical re-enactments accessible to all
As soon as you enter the site, along the path that leads to the parking lot, you have access to a staging reproducing a piece of the landing beach and its German defenses. This route reproduces, according to the plans of the period, the organization of a sector of the front when the first LCVP (barges) of the 4th infantry division reached Utah Beach. On the beach, obstacles such as concrete tetrahedrons or metal hedgehogs were placed to hinder the progress of the troops and prevent a landing as close as possible to the dunes. In the background, you can see an American barge of type LCVP or Higgins boat.
In front of the museum’s entrance, there are several concrete guardhouses, which were often found on the railroad tracks and which allowed the sentries to take cover in case of machine-gunning of the stations or convoys.
Several important dates give rise, of course, to recurring events:
¤ Anniversary of D-Day around June 6th
Every year around June 6, the museum offers a varied program: exhibitions, conferences, dedications, re-enactments, festive events… See the program of the 79th D-DAY
¤ “Cobra 44 Commemorative Festival, end of July
In July, we commemorate the end of the Battle of the Hedges through the Cobra 44 Commemorative Festival, the first edition of which took place in 2021, with various activities. See the program of the 3rd edition of Cobra 44
¤ And all year long
We receive personalities for conferences, book signings and organize events according to the context: as for example the operation “The bells of Freedom” during the health crisis of 2020.
These different animations can also go beyond the historical framework that defines the museum. In the reception hall and on our large outdoor grounds, a rich and varied program is offered throughout the year. Projections, conferences, concerts or even plays follow one another to make the NORMANDY VICTORY MUSEUM a strong cultural place of the Normandy region, where everyone can find an interest: tourist as well as local.
Good to know, Practical information
- The museum has a large, free parking lot with 300 spaces that is also accessible to coaches and motor homes (no sanitary facilities).
- The A10 Canteen restaurant, with its vintage decor, welcomes you to the museum grounds
- Pets are allowed (subject to the behavior of the animal and its owners).
- It is possible to circulate easily in manual and electric wheelchairs (no steps).
- We accept vacation vouchers and Kadeos (French programs)
- Think of using the PASS Culture for your children! (French program)
Push the door of the Normandy Victory Museum
To discover these treasures of our heritage, the exceptional lives of these famous or unknown heroes and heroines. To pass on to your children… push the door of the Normandy Victory Museum. And so you don’t have to wait, reserve your skip-the-line tickets now (undated tickets – cancellation possible at any time).