The European capitals of WWII – Paris

The liberation of Paris was not a priority for the Allies, but an uprising of the population against the Germans on 19 August made it necessary. The German commander of Paris, Lieutenant-General Choltitz, was ordered to crush the insurrection and to destroy the city, as the Germans did in Warsaw. To prevent this disaster, Charles de Gaulle insisted on intervention. Allied Command sent in Major-General Leclerc’s 2nd French Armoured Division, supported by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division of Major-General Barton. A first group managed to infiltrate the heart of Paris on the evening of 24 August, and on 26 August a huge triumphal parade was held on the Champs-Élysées.

The European capitals of WWII – Paris
Day 1

Arrival to Paris.

Day 2

Start with a visit to the world famous Les Invalides and its buildings housing the Army Museum, the Military Museum of the Army of France, the Museum of Contemporary History, and the Charles de Gaulle Historial. In the afternoon, walk the length of the Boulevard du Palais between the Préfecture de Police and the Palais de Justice buildings. On either side of the boulevard, hundreds of bullet holes can be seen in the stone sides of the buildings. They are the lasting memory of the first shots fired by the French resistance in the battle that began the liberation of Paris.

Day 3

Visit the Museum of the Order of the Liberation to learn about the liberation of the city. In the afternoon, walk along the Champs Elysées, stop at the Charles de Gaulle Monument, and follow the steps of the Parade for the Liberation.

Day 4

Visit the Shoah Memorial in the district of Le Marais to hear about the history of French Jews during the Holocaust. Then head toward Île de la Cité to see the Deportation Memorial (Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation) which honours the 200,000 French who were deported to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. End of the tour.

Trip Details

Start Location: Paris
End Location: Paris
Number of days: 4
Number of nights: 3
Countries France
Type of tour: Suggested itinerary