Musee Airborne | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Musee Airborne

Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Normandy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Musee Airborne

Musee Airborne in St-Mère-Eglise in Northern France is dedicated to the role played by the American 82nd and 101st airborne divisions during the Normandy Landings of World War Two or “D-Day“.

Musee Airborne history

Taking place in June 1944, the Normandy Landings were a collaborative effort between British, American and Canadian troops, who launched a massive attack by air, land and sea to capture German occupied Europe in an operation known as Overlord.

St-Mère-Eglise was the site where American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions landed between 5 and 6 June 1944 and is today the home of Musee Airborne.

In an odd quirk of fate, the town of St-Mère-Eglise has been made more famous by John Steele. On D-Day, Steele’s parachute got caught on the church tower and he was stuck helplessly throughout the intense ground battle, witnessing the fighting below for two hours.

After repelling this first stage of the attack, members of the German Garrison took Steele prisoner but were later forced to release him to the Americans. An effigy of John Steele is maintained to this day, hanging on the church tower.

Musee Airborne today

Comprised of three main buildings, one of which is shaped like a parachute, Musee Airborne, also known as St-Mère-Eglise Airborne Museum, houses original aircraft from the Normandy landings, including a Waco Glider and the Douglas C-47 plane Argonia together with weaponry, photographs, documentation and a film about the landings.

Musee Airborne also explores the personal stories of the soldiers, including John Steele, who took part in these operations.

Getting to Musee Airborne

The Airborne Museum is located right in the heart of Normandy within the department of Manche in the city of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, which is not far from the Utah Beach landing site. Thanks to its large road network which is the 20th greatest of France, the Manche is a department easily accessible no matter where you come from.

The Airborne Museum is reachable via the Nationale 13 from Cherbourg to Caen, if you come from one of those 2 cities, you will join Sainte-Mère-Eglise without any problem.

Moreover, there are many rest areas on the road to fill your car with gas or to have a little break with a snack. When you come from Deauville, you just have to join Caen to access the museum via the N13. For those who live around Saint-Lô, the N174 permit you to reach the N13 which have an exit at 1km to Sainte-Mère-Eglise.

Near the museum, you will easly find the Normandy landing beaches including Utah Beach (few minutes from Sainte-Mère-Eglise), Omaha beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Sword Beach but also famous areas like La Pointe du Hoc, the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.

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