Mémorial de Montormel

Parking

There is a large free car park onsite shared by the museum and the publicly accessible memorial.

Toilets

There are well-maintained toilets within the museum.

Gift Shop

There is a small gift shop. Browsing here can be a good way to kill time whilst waiting for the next talk.

Overlooking the Dives Valley, the memorial on the summit of Hill 262 was inaugurated in 1965, whilst the museum itself was opened on the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy campaign in 1994. The valley upon which they look out played host to the final phase of the battle which cost the German army so dearly.

There is a large car park, and the memorial can be visited without paying to enter the museum. An M8 Greyhound and a Sherman tank are on display, but the view into the valley on a bright, clear day is what really steals the show.

The museum starts with visitors gathering round an illuminated map, upon which the development of the Battle of the Falaise Pocket is outlined. Headsets are provided and visitors can select the desired language and volume. We had a few issues getting ours to work properly, and found they also suffered from a bit of interference.

After the map display finishes, the doors on the opposing side of the room open automatically and visitors are presented with a fantastic panoramic view of the Dives Valley. At this point the guide from the museum gave an illustrative talk on the former battlefield in front of us, and went into eye-opening detail over the carnage of the battle, providing many anecdotal stories and grim facts.

Following this, we were able to continue on to view the various artefacts on display. Some of these were really quite incredible, such as German Enigma code machine which was found in the ashes of a burnt tree in the 1980's. There is also a painted red cross on white cloth, discovered in 2009. It is thought the red of the cross was painted in human blood and the item used to mark a German aid station during the battle. There is an interesting short film with archive footage available in a number of languages.

The museum is a little dark inside and the cabinets of artefacts are also not all that well lit. We would have liked to have seen a few more exhibits on display from such a large scale battle. Overall we enjoyed our visit, and although we have visited better museums we definitely came away having learnt a lot more about the Falaise Pocket and the fighting in this latter stage of the Battle of Normandy - and that is surely the basic aim of any museum.


Updated: June 2015



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