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wwii victory day may 8 republican guard ceremony

WWII Victory Day Holiday

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Why you will love it?

WWII Victory Day is celebrated on May 8th in Paris. Does this mean everything will be closed? Some places might, but don’t worry, there are many things to see and do during Victory Day in Paris. Whether you are a museum lover, a history buff, a shopaholic or just love wandering in the streets of Paris, find out how you will be spending a great WWII Victory Day in Paris right now!

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Official Celebrations

Head out to the Arc de Triomphe and find a spot at the top of the Champs-Elysées. Every year on May 8th, the French President and military officials celebrate WWII Victory Day by laying flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe. After observing a minute of silence, the procession then lays flowers at the foot of French liberation leader Charles de Gaulle’s statue near the Grand Palais.

WW2 Timeline museums

If you are a real history buff and want to know more about World War 2 (the WW2 timeline, Victory Day or the French Resistance), here are some museums worth visiting:

Musée Jean Moulin: dedicated to one of the most famous French Resistance leaders

Musée de l’Armée: An entire section of the Army Museum is dedicated to World War 2

Charles de Gaulle Memorial: A close look at the man who led the French Resistance and later became President of France.

Find out where these 3 WW2 related museums are on our map

Shop or Walk

While some small shops will be closed during Victory Day, most of the big department stores, including the Printemps, the Galeries Lafayette, the BHV / Marais or the Bon Marché will be open. But if you are in no mood for shopping and prefer spending the day outside, our Parisianist walking tours are an excellent alternative. Some of them, like the Historical Axis tour, will take you through iconic WWII Victory Day spots.

Parisianist Info: The Champs Elysées being closed the whole morning on May 8th, take the Historical Axis tour in the afternoon.


In the WW2 timeline, the Germans surrendered to the Allies on May 7th 1945, but the last battle ended at 11pm on May 8th, therefore officially marking the end of the World War. This day was officially declared a holiday in 1953, but quickly cancelled in 1959 by Charles de Gaulle himself. It is only in 1981 that French President François Mitterrand re-declared Victory Day a national holiday.

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