Musée de la Marine
by Jean-Paul Binot


The Musée de la Marine is located in Paris and is housed in the right wing of the Palais de Chaillot. The building is a very nice Art Déco crescent-shaped gallery overlooking the river Seine. Across the river is the Eiffel Tower. Within the Palais de Chaillot, other museums can be found, Musée de l'Homme, Musée du Cinéma, and the Théatre National de Chaillot. There is also a restaurant, the Totem, that offers one of the most striking panoramas in Paris. The Musée de la Marine has branches in Paris, Brest, Port-Louis, Rochefort, Toulon, Saint-Tropez and Nice.

In detail:  The address of the Musée de la Marine is Musée National de la Marine Palais de Chaillot, 17, Place du Trocadéro 75116 Paris. Telephone: +33 1 53 65 69 69, Fax: +33 1 53 65 69 65 

The best way to get to the museum is probably using the Métro (the underground/subway). The station Trocadero is just at the entrance to the museum.

The museum charges entrance fees as follows:
Full: 39 FRF
Reduced: 26 FRF (for a list of qualifying visitors)
6-18 years-old: 19 FRF
Under 6: Free
Group fares are available

The city of Paris proposes combined cards that provide entrance to 70 museums in and around Paris, including the Musée de la Marine. The members of the Association des Amis du Musée de la Marine (AAMM) get a free entrance and a 5% discount on the items sold in the museum shop.

Beyond the collections in permanent display, the Musée de la Marine proposes a series of temporary expositions during the year. There is also a service to support researchers in the field of maritime history, boasting a library of 20,000 books and a photo library of more than 180,000 photographs in B/W and 4,000 in color. Reproduction is available, if somewhat pricey.

Scale: 1/100

Dunkerque was a most graceful ship that was built largely to counter the German "pocket battleships" of the Deutschland class. She was fast and heavily armed with 8 330mm guns in two quadruple turrets, a quasi-unique arrangement. The secondary battery was innovative as well, although somewhat less successful.

The French Navy built a follow-on ship on an improved design, Strasbourg, with more protection and an additional bridge level to better accommodate an admiral.

Dunkerque was heavily damaged by the Royal Navy in Mers-el-Kebir in 1940, initially by gunfire and subsequently by air attacks. After sufficient temporary repairs could be done, she crossed the Mediterranean to join the main fleet in Toulon, where she went into drydock for permanent repairs. She was still in drydock when the Germans tried to seize the French fleet and was scuttled by her crew, a sad end to a splendid ship.

The model represents Dunkerque pre-war, but after a cap was fitted to the funnel. The seaplane on the catapult is a Loire 130, the French equivalent to the British Walrus.

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Scale: 1/100

The Béarn was the first French fleet aircraft carrier. She was converted from the hull of a Normandie class battleship left incomplete at the end of the First World War.

She was too old to be of much use in the Second World War that she spent mainly in the French West Indies. In 1943 she was modernized in the United States and served as convoy escort. The model depicts Béarn in her original configuration.

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Scale: 1/100

Arromanchse was the former HMS Colossus that was transferred to the French Navy in 1946.

The model portrays Arromanches as she was in 1954 during her deployment in Indochina. The Museum shop sells a set of plans for that model.

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Scale: 1/100

The Algérie was the last heavy cruiser built for the French Navy in the late '30s. She was a much improved design compared to earlier classes, featuring substantially increased protection and a much more powerful AA battery. The most striking feature of the ship was her "tower" superstructure.

Algérie entrered service in 1934 and was scuttled in Toulon in 1942. She was the last and best French "treaty" cruiser, possibly the most outstanding design in that category in any navy, and certainly a most graceful ship.

The model depicts Algérie in her last configuration, with nationality stripes painted on B and X turrets and the mainmast replaced by a light AA tower.

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Scale: 1/100

Duquesne and her sister-ship, Tourville were the first French "Treaty" cruisers, although they evolved from the previous Duguay-Trouin design. They were fast and reasonably well armed for the late 20s, but scantily protected, like their likely opponents in the Italian navy. Both were interned in Alexandria by the British in 1940. They survived the war and served the French navy into the 50s.

The model depicts Duquesne in the 1930s. The floatplanes are Gourdou-Leseurre 812 that were replaced by a Loire 130 in 1940. Note that there was only one catapult on the port side. The model on the left of the Duquesne is the cruiser Jeanne d'Arc.

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Georges Leygues
Scale: 1/100

The Georges Leygues was one of six light cruisers of the La Galissonnière class, built as a much improved Emile Bertin design. Three were scuttled in Toulon in 1942, but the other three went on to join the war effort on the side of the Allies and survived the war.

The model portrays the Georges Leygues after the end of the war. In 1943, she was modernised in the United States. The catapult on top of the aft turret was landed and the original AA armamaent replaced by US 40mm and 20mm guns.

The Musée de la Marine sells plans to build that model.

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Jeanne d'Arc

There are two models for the Jeanne d'Arc shown here. The first photograph shows the model of the training cruiser of 6,500 tons, laid down in 1928. The next two photographs show the modern helicopter carrier of 10,000 tons, laid down in 1960.

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Scale: 1/100

The Fougueux was a Torpilleur of the improved-1500 ton class usually referred to as being L'Adroit class. She entered service in 1928 and was sunk while opposing the "Torch" allied landing in North Africa off Casablanca in 1942.

The model on the left is the aviso colonial D'Entrecastaux. The Musée de la Marine sells plans to build that model.

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De Grasse
Scale: 1/75

The ASW frigate D612 De Grasse is the third and last ship of the Tourville Class. The ship was completed in 1977 and is currently in service with the French Navy.

The model is a magnificent rendition of the ship as she was in the early 1990's. Since then, additional armor was added and the Malafon ASW launcher was landed.

In some views, the other models in that section can be seen: * ASW frigate Duguay-Trouin, sister ship to the De Grasse * Fleet Replenishment Ship Durance * SSBN Le Redoutable

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ASW Frigates
Scale: 1/100

La Combattante
The former HMS Haldon, a Hunt class escort destroyer transferred to the Free French Naval forces in 1942. After a most distinguished war record, she was sunk by a German Seehund in February 1945. A River-class frigate (Croix-de-Lorraine?) and a Flower-class corvette (Aconit) can be seen in the background.

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A unique design in the French Navy, Aconit was the prototype to the larger and more capable Tourville class frigates. She was decommissioned in 1998.

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Surcouf T47
was the lead ship in a class of 12 destroyers completed in the mid-50s to provide escorts to the new French carriers. Four of the class were later rearmed with American Tartar missiles. Another five were converted into ASW destroyers. Surcouf was converted to a command ship, but was destroyed in an accidental collision with a Soviet oiler in 1971. 

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A 69 D'Estienne D'Orves 


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 Colonial aviso (sloop) D'Entrecastaux was one of nine vessels designed for foreign service, primarily the tropics. Emphasis was given to habitability and all were fitted as flagships. 1969 tons standard/2600 tons full load

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Flags from Pierre Gay's Web Site: