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D-Day Collins Museum


Location and info

Chateau de Franquetot, 38 Rue d'Eturville, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église, France

Opened in April 2023, this new museum is based in the very building General Joseph Lawton Collins – often known as ‘Lightning Joe’ - used as his VII Corps headquarters in July 1944.
New Orleans-born Collins was one of the most respected Allied Generals of the war and his VII Corps played a major role in the D-Day landings, battle and breakout of Normandy, liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Bulge, and the invasion of Germany.
Known as the Chateau de Franquetot and located near to Sainte Mere Eglise and Saint Marie du Mont, it was here that Collins met with General Omar Bradley, General George S Patton, and Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D Eisenhower to fine tune the plans for Operation Cobra, the Allied breakout of Normandy.
This is one of the most authentic and educational museum experiences we’ve enjoyed in Normandy and refreshingly different to the other D-Day landing and Airborne-related museums in the area. It’s owned by the same family who own the famous Le Holdy militaria shop in Saint Marie du Mont and their years of knowledge and collecting of authentic items shines through.
The multi-room chateau features an incredible number of exhibits promoting an immersive experience and each room gives you a snapshot of life at the time with a mixture of period photographs and well laid out original objects. The rooms are well lit so you can see the exhibits, and there are plenty of information boards delivering knowledge.
You start your journey through the chateau in a reconstruction of Collins’ office. One of the stand out features in this room are the lifelike mannequins of Collins, Eisenhower, and Bradley, generated from 3D scanning of photographs of the trio. Her you can also see original wallpaper and furnishings and well preserved maps and period paperwork.
Along the corridor is a room dedicated to the treasures found in Normandy barns with hundreds of boxes, personal items, medical equipment, clothing, and one of the most impressive Allied helmet collections in the whole of Normandy.
The next rooms tell the story of the German occupation of the chateau, its capture, and defence by US soldiers with a strong attention to detail on uniforms, weapons, and personal kit.
Back along the corridor is the command and radio room, again packed with some fascinating exhibits, and then a reconstruction of a Red Cross station and kitchen where you can see an impressive collection of original food packages from many well-known brands and some which may surprise you.
The self-tour walk through then takes you through bedroom, nurses’ station and infirmary, and down the object-lined stairs back to the packed shop, front entrance, and superb tea room/bar.
This is a museum which can be visited on many occasions, and we’ll guarantee you’ll spot something new each time you visit. It’s a must-see on any trip to Normandy.


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