Musée de la Bataille de Tilly-sur-Seulles

Parking

There is no dedicated parknig for the museum, but there are public spaces nearby.

Toilets

There are no toilets inside the museum, which is inside a 13th Century chapel.

Gift Shop

There are some books and other items available for purchase before the exit.

It took us quite a few attempts to find this tiny museum in Tilly-sur-Seulles open, but when we finally managed to see inside we were actually very pleasantly surprised. It is only open between May and September and then only at weekends and public holidays, although arrangements can be made at other times of the year for group of ten or more people. A great deal of information is packed into the single room of this 13th Century building, the chapel Notre Dame du Val.

The small town of Tilly-sur-Seulles straddled an important crossroads south of Bayeux. During intense fighting between troops of the British XXX Corps and the German 1st SS Panzerkorps, control of Tilly changed hands some 23 times before it was finally liberated during the evening of 18th June 1944. Around 70% of the town was destroyed and nearly 10% of the population killed. In 1949 a project was established to rebuild the town - an effort that would take until 1956.

Inside the build is a treasure trove of original artefacts, information panels, photographs and a couple of TV screens with a videos and image slideshow. The upper walls are adorned with large photographic reprints, maps and flags. They even manage to squeeze in a mannequin in British uniform, equipped with a Bren gun. There is also a huge small-scale model of the devastated ruins of Tilly. From this diorama it is easier to appreciate the scale of devastation that occurred both here in Tilly and at other Norman towns and cities, like Saint-Lô and Caen.

The artefacts on display are inside well illuminated glass cabinets, and there are numerous larger pieces which not encased at all. There are some very interesting pieces including items more recently unearthed. Not all the items on display have caption labels, but those which do have English translations. It must be said that the information boards are wonderfully simple, almost like a school project, with French and English version printed on A4 paper, laminated and fixed to simple boards. It is refreshingly simple and effective - a truly analogue museum in a world of digital. On many of the information displays there are quotes from local inhabitants, recounting the situation as it was in 1944. Their own words make it a very personal and moving experience.

Although this is a small museum, often closed and dealing with a fairly specific topic, we would urge anyone to take an hour from their Normandy D-Day trip and spend a visit here. The passion and dedication of the 1944 Tilly Association who manage and maintain the Musée de la Bataille de Tilly-sur-Seulles is clearly evident.


Updated: July 2016



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