Guide Tour of the Paris Liberation Museum – General Leclerc Museum – Jean-Moulin Museum, France

The Paris Liberation Museum – General Leclerc Museum – Jean-Moulin Museum, located at Place Denfert-Rochereau. inaugurated on August 25, 2019 for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris. Discover a fundamental page in the history of France through the journey of two very different men, Jean Moulin and Philippe de Hauteclocque.

The liberation of France, of which the Liberation of Paris is the strongest symbol. To dive underground in a high place of the Liberation of Paris, open for the first time to the visit: a passive defense shelter used as a command post by Colonel Rol (future Rol-Tanguy), head of the FFI in the Paris region. The last rooms of the museum house numerous archival documents devoted to the week of street fighting and the day of military operations which led to the Liberation of the capital.

The decision to move it and expand the museum was taken by Anne Hidalgo in 2015 to install it in the pavilions of architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, designed in 1787, south of Place Denfert-Rochereau. The new site has an exhibition area of 2,500 m2, including 660 m2 for permanent collections, 140 m2 for temporary exhibitions and 160 m2 for the documentation centre. The museum brings together nearly 300 objects. Original documents and photographs, uniforms, posters, newspapers as well as audiovisual testimonies.

Under the west pavilion is a passive defense shelter where Colonel Rol-Tanguy installs his PC on August 20, 1944, from the beginning of the popular insurrection against the occupier and which saw the first detachments of the 2nd DB emerge four days later.

The former FFI military headquarters, located in the basement, can be visited by limiting it to groups of a maximum of eighteen people, and upon prior registration. Visitors can also discover the remains of the telephone switchboard, Colonel Rol-Tanguy’s office, the secretariat where his wife Cécile worked, as well as a cyclo-pedal machine which allowed the passive defense shelter to be supplied with electricity in the event of a breakdown or cutoff.

The Liberation of Paris
The French internal resistance, encompasses all the clandestine movements and networks which during the Second World War continued the fight against the Axis and its collaborationist relays on French territory since the armistice ofJune 22, 1940until the Liberation in 1944. This struggle includes military actions: intelligence and sabotage against the occupying troops (mainly German) and the forces of the Vichy regime, as well as civil actions such as the underground press, the distribution of leaflets, the manufacture of false papers, the organization of strikes and demonstrations, the rescue of escaped prisoners of war, refractory to the STO and persecuted Jews.

The history of the interior Resistance is inseparable from that of Free France. General de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, who had taken refuge in London, directed his agents in occupied metropolis through the networks of the BCRA or envoys such as Jean Moulin, Pierre Brossolette and Jacques Bingen. The latter receive the task of unifying all the currents and movements of the internal Resistance, under the aegis of London then Algiers. The creation of the National Council of the Resistance by Jean Moulin, the27 May 1943, then that of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) by Jacques Bingen, the February 1, 1944, mark the essential milestones in this sometimes difficult process of unification.

Since the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the capital has been impatiently awaiting the hour of its deliverance. On all sides, resistance fighters mobilized and launched strikes at the initiative of the Parisian Liberation Committee. Incessant alerts and bombardments, supply difficulties and general paralysis of transport, make the daily life of the inhabitants even harder.

The breakthrough of Normandy and the advance of the 1st Army and the Anglo-Americans in the Rhone Valley forced the enemy to review its plans. Paris finds itself at the heart of strategy and politics. The call for mobilization launched by Colonel Rol, head of the French Interior Forces in the region with the approval of Georges Bidault,

From August 19, until General De Gaulle’s parade on the Champs-Élysées on August 26, 1944, Paris rose up against the enemy. Barricades are hastily erected. Men, women, children form a chain and pass cobblestones that are erected as barriers. On August 24, 1944, nearly 600 roadblocks popped up in Paris and the suburbs. In addition to the traditional mobilization of working-class neighborhoods in the East and North, the wealthier neighborhoods in the West also got involved. Thanks to these barricades, the Parisians become the actors of their own liberation. Thus, through the spontaneous commitment of its inhabitants, it is indeed Paris that is rising up.

On March 24, 1945, the city of Paris was named a companion of the liberation. On April 2, General de Gaulle presents the cross of the Order of the Liberation during a ceremony in front of the Hôtel de Ville. This major event in Parisian history has left numerous testimonies still visible today: many streets were renamed in the name of the defenders of the city; on the walls of this one nearly 500 plaques commemorate the victims of the liberation.

General Leclerc
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, better known as General Leclerc, was a French soldier, one of the main military leaders of Free France during the Second World War. A major figure in the Liberation, he is notably known for having commanded the 2nd Armored Division. An unconventional and brilliant officer, he proved to be an outstanding strategist and organizer.

Taken prisoner in 1940 during the Battle of France, he escaped and went to England. He met General de Gaulle in London, who entrusted him with the task of rallying French Equatorial Africa to Free France. After having succeeded there, it goes up towards Libya, where it takes the oasis of Koufra in spite of the numerical inferiority of its troops. After several battles in the Maghreb, the “Leclerc column” was stationed in Morocco in 1943, where it took the name of 2nd Armored Division (or 2nd Armored Division).

In August 1944, his unit took part in the Battle of Normandy, then was the first unit to enter Paris when the capital was liberated. On November 23, 1944, the 2nd DB liberated Strasbourg. Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque died in 1947 in a plane crash. He was elevated to the dignity of Marshal of France posthumously.

Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin, Prefect of Aveyron then of Eure-et-Loir, refusing the occupation of France by Germany during the Second World War, he joined inSeptember 1941Free France to London via Spain and Portugal. He was received by Charles de Gaulle, to whom he gave an account of the state of the resistance in France and of its needs, in particular financial and armament.

Sent to Lyon by Charles de Gaulle to unify the resistance movements, he created and led the National Council of the Resistance. He was arrested in Caluire-et-Cuire, in the suburbs of Lyon, onJune 21, 1943and taken to the Gestapo headquarters in Lyons, where he was tortured; he was then transferred to the Gestapo in Paris. He dies in the train which transports him to Germany shortly before crossing the border, theJuly 8, 1943. His death is recorded at Metz 2 station.

Considered one of the main heroes of the Resistance, he was made a companion of the Liberation in 1942, posthumously appointed brigadier general during the Liberation, then general of division in 1946. A cenotaph is dedicated to him in the Pantheon.

Museum history
The Paris Liberation Museum – General Leclerc Museum – Jean Moulin Museum carries the voices and stories of those who resisted, and raises the central question of commitment, at the heart of a world at war. Jean Moulin and General Leclerc guide you through a journey punctuated by meetings and face to face with more than 300 objects, original documents, photographs, archive videos or testimonies that evoke resistance, fighting, repression, clandestinity and regained freedom.

The museum was born from the donation of the Maréchal Leclerc de Hauteclocque Foundation and the bequest of Antoinette Sasse – painter, resistance fighter and friend of Jean Moulin – to the City of Paris. Inaugurated in the summer of 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, under the names of Memorial of General Leclerc de Hauteclocque and of the Liberation of Paris and Jean Moulin Museum, the museums are created above the Montparnasse station, opposite in the Atlantic Garden.

Designed under the direction of Christine Levisse-Touzé, historian, general curator, director of the museum between September 1991 and October 2017, the museum of General Leclerc de Hauteclocque and the Liberation of Paris – Jean Moulin museum has been part of the establishment since 2013. public Paris Museums. The visit then paralleled the action and journey of General Leclerc and Jean Moulin on the canvas of the History of France during the Second World War, the Resistance from June 1940 to the Liberation in 1944. The permanent journey, the 36 temporary exhibitions produced and the dense scientific program have covered the different facets of the Second World War over the years.

The City of Paris decided in 2015 to give new visibility to the museum. The choice is made to transfer the museum to a more accessible place, but also bears traces of the Liberation of Paris: the pavilions of the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux designed in 1787 place Denfert-Rochereau. A high place of command of the Liberation of Paris, unknown to the public, is hidden in the basement of the West pavilion: a passive defense shelter used as a command post by Colonel Rol, the head of the FFI in the region. Paris, from the beginning of the popular uprising against the occupier on August 19, 1944.

The move is an opportunity for the museum to get a makeover, with a new site, a new route and new programming: a project designed under the direction of Sylvie Zaidman, historian, chief heritage curator and director of the museum, with the assistance of the scientific council of the museum.

The architectural project is led by Christophe Batard (Artene agency), chief architect of Historic Monuments, and the scenography is by Marianne Klapisch (Klapisch-Claisse agency). After four years of construction, the Paris Liberation Museum – General Leclerc Museum – Jean Moulin Museum opened its doors to the public on the occasion of a symbolic date: August 25, 2019, for the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the capital.

The museum was born from the donation of the Maréchal Leclerc de Hauteclocque Foundation and the bequest of Antoinette Sasse – painter, resistance fighter and friend of Jean Moulin – to the City of Paris. The collections concerning General Leclerc therefore come from the Fondation du Maréchal Leclerc de Hauteclocque – funds kept in the Gramont district of Saint-Germain-en-Laye until 1994 – and on the other hand from donations made by the Former French Free and of the 2nd DB. They consist mainly of personal objects and daily life belonging to the General and his soldiers, covering the periods of the Second World War, Indochina and North Africa, until the accidental death of Leclerc in 1947.

The collections relating to Jean Moulin were largely constituted by the contribution of two important legacies. The legacy of Antoinette Sasse, and the legacy of Andrée Dubois and Suzanne Escoffier, her cousins. The Antoinette Sasse collection includes all the archives kept by Antoinette Sasse, friend of Jean Moulin, bequeathed to the City of Paris in 1987 with all of her belongings. It consists of photographs, letters and drawings by Jean Moulin as well as newspapers, press clippings and memorabilia paying homage to him. Antoinette Sasse’s photographs, drawings and personal correspondence with various contemporary artists and politicians are also part of this collection.

The Andrée Dubois and Suzanne Escoffier collections bring together all the family archives kept by Laure Moulin, Jean Moulin’s sister. This collection includes the private correspondence of the various members of the family (including the letters written by Jean Moulin to his parents and his sister between 1918 and 1943), Jean Moulin’s compositions and class reports, the newspapers where his caricatures are published / relating to his life as a senior civil servant in the prefectural administration, the archives of Antonin Moulin (including his manuscripts), the philatelic collection of Laure Moulin, the documentary files compiled during the creation of places of memory dedicated to Jean Moulin. His family has also entrusted the museum with furniture and objects that belonged to Jean Moulin.

The museum has photographic and archival collections on the Liberation of Paris. FFI weapons, school copies of the children of the Liberation, through photographs, posters, drawings and testimonies of the flags of Parisians (scores of popular songs, postcards, FFI armbands, patriotic bouquets and flags): these collections come from in particular many donations from individuals and families (Franco Rogelio, Delacroix, Bourget, Pierre Alcan, Kergall and many others) who wished to help publicize this high point in history. They include a large number of photographs, snapshots taken by direct witnesses and actors.

Thus the Gandner Fund, which joined the museum’s collections in 2004, represents more than 500 archive photos. Andre Gandner, young professional photographer, covered the Liberation of Paris from the construction of the barricades to the parade of August 26, before joining the 2nd Armored Division as a war reporter and immortalizing the capture of Strasbourg as well as the advance of the allied troops. The announcement of the opening of the new museum aroused the interest of actors of the period or their descendants.

The new exceptional pieces have been acquired and are presented to the public. Jean Moulin’s family allowed the acquisition of works by Chabaud and Utrillo from the resistance fighter’s private collection exhibited in his Romanin art gallery, inaugurated on February 9, 1943, in Nice, and which served him for a time., cover. Original letters from resistance fighter Charlotte Jackson, a dress made especially for the Liberation of Paris or the weapons of soldiers of the 2nd DB have completed the collections.

The paintings in the Jean Moulin collection have been restored thanks to the support of the ASER – Rotary Paris Académies Endowment Fund. photographed, cleaned, restored when necessary, then packaged in appropriate packaging that allowed them to be transported safely to the new museum site. The paintings in the Jean Moulin collection have been restored thanks to the support of the ASER – Rotary Paris Académies Endowment Fund.

Throughout the rooms, you are immersed in the heart of the situations in which Jean Moulin and Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque found themselves confronted and the choices they had to make during the Second World War.

The visit route, chronological, corresponds to the action of Jean Moulin and Philippe de Hauteclocque in France between the wars, the debacle of June 1940 during the Occupation, in the internal Resistance and during the fighting until the liberation of the territory, of which Paris remained the strongest symbol.

The command post of Colonel Rol-Tanguy during the Liberation of Paris
Located twenty meters below the museum, the command post used during the Liberation by Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, head of the FFI of Ile- de-France, is open to the public for the first time. Free visit or innovative visit in mixed reality are offered to you for a unique visit experience, at the heart of the events of August 1944.