Paris celebrates the 75th anniversary of its liberation

Paris is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its liberation this year with a rich and varied programme of events.

Twenty-odd events are taking place in various parts of the capital from June to September to mark the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris. This unique commemoration will appeal to people of all ages.

75th anniversary of the Liberation: programme of events

Affiche 75 ans de la Libération de Paris

Opening of the new Musée de la Libération

The new Musée de la Libération-Musée du Général Leclerc-Musée Jean Moulin on Place Denfert-Rochereau will be inaugurated on 25 August 2019. Visitors will be able to browse more than 300 objects, original documents, photographs and archived videos (including first-person accounts) that tell the engrossing story of the French Resistance, which played such a vital role in the liberation of Paris.

The Musée de la Libération also houses a legendary site which is being opened to the general public for the first time: the underground shelter that Colonel Rol-Tanguy used as his command post. It was from this bunker 26 metres below ground that the colonel ran the Resistance fighters’ insurrection from 20 to 26 August 1944, until the arrival of the 2nd Armoured Division.

Together with the Archives de Paris, the Musée de la Libération launched a campaign on 15 June inviting all Parisians to contribute any objects in their possession relating to the Liberation of Paris – a one-of-a-kind participatory initiative aimed at enriching collective memory.

The 25 August 2019 celebrations

Numerous commemorative events will be held on 25 August. All are welcome to gather at the foot of the Eiffel Tower at noon to watch the Paris Fire Brigade re-enact the raising of the French tricolour flag by a fire captain on the day of the liberation. Later on, people can join in the big Défilé de la Liberté (liberty parade), featuring participants in period clothing and wartime vehicles. The parade will set off from Porte d’Orléans at 3.30pm.

Two official tributes are also planned to mark the anniversary: a military ceremony to pay homage to the 2nd Armoured Division (on Place du 25 Août 1944 in the 14th arrondissement at 3pm) and a ceremony to commemorate the surrender of German troops (on Place du 18 Juin 1940 in the 15th arrondissement at 5.30pm).

As in previous years, a spoken-word performance will be held on the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville (at 6.30pm), with the actor François Vincentelli reading the Robert Desnos poem Le veilleur du Pont-au-Change accompanied by music. And, as the day draws to a close, the French film classic La traversée de Paris (Four Bags Full) will be screened in the reception room of the Hôtel de Ville (9.30pm; advance booking required).

Stamp collectors take note: A special 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris stamp is expected to be available for pre-sale in the Hôtel de Ville’s ‘Paris Rendez-Vous’ space on Rue de Rivoli from 2pm to 6.30pm on the day.

Celebrations until the end of September 2019

On Saturday 24 August and Saturday 21 September 2019, a special show titled La Salle de Billard will enable the general public to relive the signature of the formal act of surrender by the Germans in the billiard room of the Paris Police Prefecture. Additionally, two musical celebrations will take place on Place Louis Lépine in the 4th arrondissement, with the Paris Prefecture of Police’s concert band putting on their ‘Concerts Populaires’ on 23 August and 21 September. 

Alongside the 24 August 2019 celebrations (‘Homage to the Spanish republicans and the 9th company’ and ‘Homage to the Spanish fighters [1941-1944]’), a street art fresco titled La nueve de la 2e DB (The 9th company of the 2nd Armoured Division), an artistic tribute to the Liberation of Paris, can be admired until 29 September 2019 at 20 Rue Esquirol in the 13th arrondissement.

Lastly, exhibitions and film screenings in various venues in the capital will offer an opportunity to continue delving into the story of the Liberation of Paris. These include the stamp exhibition Les encres de la Libération (24 to 30 August 2019) and two photography exhibitions: Les Pompiers de Paris et la Libération (on until 22 September 2019) and Août 44: La libération de Paris en photographies (on until 29 September 2019). On 31 August 2019, the Mémorial du Mont-Valérien will host an outdoor screening of the well-known René Clément film Paris brûle t-il ? (Is Paris Burning?) in the presence of Jacques Godfrain, the honorary president of the Fondation Charles de Gaulle.