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Paris Libere Carnavalet

Paris Libéré


Relive the liberation of paris in 1944

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Why you will love it?

The first time Paris Freed, Paris Photographed, Paris Exhibited opened, it was 1944, just two and a half months after the liberation of Paris. Now 70 years on, the exhibition has been expanded and enhanced. With several hundreds of photographs on display at Hôtel de Ville, it is sure to move both history enthusiasts and fans of photography. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

16, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
Line 1 - Saint Paul Line 8 - Chemin Vert

Sunday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm
more less
Monday : Closed Tuesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm
1 January 1 May 14 July 11 November 25 December

Our Insiders' Article


This exhibition showcases a collection of photographs taken by famous artists such as Robert Doisneau, René Zuber and Roger Schall as well as the images caught by ordinary Parisians that have immortalized history. The title, Paris Freed, Paris Photographed, Paris Exhibited, is homage to a famous speech by De Gaulle.  Look down and you will notice a red line running along the floor, which indicates the original 1944 exhibition. At that time, only two and a half months after the liberation of Paris, the Musée Carnavalet put together a photographic displaying of the recent events. Rather than seeking to provide an objective historical record, the goal then was to communicate the emotions felt by the people of Paris. Today, the exhibition has taken on a double meaning; not only these images that forever capture moments of exceptional bravery are still just as powerful as 70 years ago, but they also give an insight into how the events were viewed and recounted in the heat of the moment. 

Part 1

This first set of photos is taken mainly from Nazi propaganda archives and was not part of the original exhibition of 1944. According to these images, life in Paris carried on as normal despite the war. You will see pictures of, amongst others, German newspapers being sold in the streets of the French capital and cinemas and theatres reserved for German officers only. There are also some extraordinary photos of the uniformed German women from the auxiliary services doing their shopping in Paris’s famous Department Stores. These images portray an immortal Paris to which German tourists flock and champagne flows like water…for some. 

Part 2

Part two illustrates the Parisian insurgency, with photos of barricaded streets, concerned fighters and members of the Resistance who gave their lives for the cause. The exhibition takes you right to the heart of the revolt as lived by the members of the Resistance. You will notice a very famous image captured by Robert Doisneau of two men throwing Molotov cocktails from a building on the Ile de la Cité. There are also numerous photos of Parisians desperately constructing barricades in the street. Fully immersed in the action, you can almost hear the shots being fired by the French resistance fighters all around. 

Part 3

Numerous photographs captured the moment General Leclerc and the Second Armored Division arrived to liberate Paris. Along with them came not only unbridled feelings of jubilation and exhilaration, but also violent confrontations with the Nazi occupiers. At the Jardin des Tuileries, clashes were particularly brutal and photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson took uncalculated risks in order to immortalize the tank’s crossfire. Slowly but surely, as the Allies recaptured the capital, they discovered glimpses of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis, like torture rooms and executed hostages. The ensuing anger motivated bloody backlashes, as witnessed in the image of the young militia fighter assassinated at point blank range. 

Part 4

In this fourth part of the exhibition, the focus is on the emergency care workers, whether it be the Red Cross or the numerous volunteers. These fearless men and women didn’t think twice about confronting waves of bullets flying all around to provide assistance to the wounded. There are also photos of Parisians seeking to purge the memory of the occupation – many people perished in on the spot executions and women who were suspected of sleeping with Germans had their heads shaved in public. Adjoining rooms display images captured by unknown Parisians that illustrate the efforts of the French Resistance. 

Part 5

With Paris almost fully liberated, General De Gaulle marched from the Champs-Elysées to Notre Dame. Shots were fired along the way, setting the scene for some unbelievable photos. Though some Parisians continued to wave their flags, others threw themselves to the ground to take cover, but the General De Gaulle remained composed as he shook hands and made his way through the city that, at that very moment, he held in the palm of his hand. You can also watch a 30-minute long movie shot by the Resistance fighters that provides a unique angle on the Parisian insurgency. It shows the posters that adorn the walls calling the people of Paris to arms until the arrival of the Allies, the violent confrontations with the occupier, the terrified prisoners of war and the heroic aid workers. 

Part 6

The arrival of the American soldiers in Paris gave rise to a unique encounter between the people of the capital and those from the far-flung USA. Women bestowed kisses on the soldiers and men and children frantically waved flags. The Battle of Paris was finally over and the whole city went out to celebrate. One of the iconic photos from this time is that of the young Parisian boy savoring his first bite of a traditional French baguette at the end of years of rationing and terror. Other photos show soldiers in Paris in 1945 introducing Parisians to various elements of American culture. 

Part 7

Although some of the photos may upset younger visitors, this exhibition is perfect for a family day out. You can go round the exhibition in under an hour and the many videos and interactive maps will captivate the kids. Visitors of all ages will find the exhibition informative and entertaining. The striking photos on display mean that this exhibition is not just for those passionate about history. 

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