Description

The Musée des Troupes de Marine (naval museum) in Fréjus invites you to discover the history of France overseas and the navy. The arms, which gave France its colonial empire, reveal their history in the display cases. It is also the arms that are the theme running through the museum, where the numerous collections provide a superb testimony to armed forces engineering over the centuries.

Contact details

Musée des Troupes de Marine

167 Avenue Troupes de Marine, 83600 Fréjus

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  • The only museum in France dedicated to the naval troops
  • An immense collection presented in over 120 display cabinets

Practical info

Opening

1 October to 31 May from 2 pm to 6 pm
Closed on Mondays

1 June  to 30 September  from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm
Closed on Saturdays.

Un restricted access.
Air conditioned.
Guided tours by appointment.

 

Prices

Admission only: €3 (individual ticket, valid for one day)

Fréjus Pass: €6 (Fréjus Individual Pass 4 sites, valid for 7 days). From 18 years old.

Frejus Reduced Pass: €4 (Fréjus Pass Individual 4 sites, valid 7 days). Children from 12 to 17 years old, students under 25 years old (on presentation of the card), group of more than 10 people, jobseekers (on presentation of proof), school classes and schools outside Fréjus / Saint-Raphaël.

Fréjus Integral Pass: Individual Pass 4 sites* and cloister of the cathedral, valid for 7 days. The Integral Pass does not exist with a reduced rate.

Free: Children under 12, people with disabilities (on presentation of proof), guides approved by the Ministry of Culture and Communication (with a professional card), curators of the territorial heritage or the State, journalists (with a professional card), school groups within the framework of the Artistic and Cultural Education Convention and their accompaniers and teachers in Fréjus within the framework of preparing visits with the prior approval of the Head of Architecture and Heritage.

Museum video

Musée des Troupes de Marine: history

Opened in October 1981, the Musée des Troupes de Marine is one of fifteen armed forces museums. Its collections reveal the history of the naval troops and of France overseas. It also holds educational workshops, conferences, temporary exhibitions and painting exhibitions.

A museum looking at the history, science and techniques of art and military traditions, along with human adventures, the Musée des Troupes de Marine evokes and illustrates the story through its museum pieces, archives and iconographic documents.

The history of arms that gave France its colonial empire acts as a guide to the history of France overseas. 120 display cases, 55 uniforms, 100 firearms and knives, from the 1769 Navy sword to the Lefaucheux revolver from 1858, and 250 decorations.

Paintings make it possible to present all the uniforms worn by the ‘Marsouins’, ‘Bigors’ and sharpshooters of the 17th century to the 1930s.

The history presented in the museum spans nearly four centuries.

In 1622, Richelieu created the “one hundred companies of the sea”, the first naval infantry troop.

From the 18th century indigenous troops were recruited, first the Sepoys in India (1750) and then the ‘Laptots’ from Gorée in Senegal (1765).

The royal corps of infantry was created in 1769 and replaced in 1772 by the royal naval corps. For the first time, the Order Flag bore the navy anchor, a symbol that the naval troops still keep today.

Memories of the old regime are rare in the museum, but include among others the first regulation-issue gun in the navy (1779).

Navy artillery participated in the campaigns over the Empire, in particular Lützen (1813), the oldest battle inscribed on naval emblems.

In the 20th century, only being transported aboard vessels, the naval foot soldiers were nicknamed ‘Marsouins’, or porpoises, by the sailors referring to the sea mammals that often accompany ships.

Some display cases present the battles of the “Division Bleu” which fought until “the last bullet” in the Ardennes in 1870, in Bazeilles. Every year since 1986, Fréjus has hosted the major weapons gathering on 31 August – the day of the “Festival of Bazeilles”.

The colonial history of the Third Republic is represented with souvenirs of Africa, the Pacific, and Indochina.

In 1900, the naval troops left the navy and were attached to the Ministry of War (Army), under the name of “Colonial Troops”

Among the famous colonial officers, is Marshal Gallieni, omnipresent in the museum, who adopted Fréjus as his home town. The museum has the Koch car he used in Madagascar from 1900 to 1905.

Six display cabinets cover the Great War from 1914 – 1918. The colonial exhibition and the 14 July parade in 1931 are remembered through posters and a miniature parade re-enactment.

The Second World War is also represented, as are the wars fought in Indochina and Algeria.

The colonial troops became overseas troops in 1958, then once again naval troops in 1961.

The museum has not forgotten weapon subdivisions or the now lost specialities: colonial stewardship, the equipment and buildings service, colonial telegraph operators, the ‘méharist’ camel cavalry, airmen and the medical service which also has an important place.

A brief summary of recent operations is also represented.

Conservatoire du Patrimoine des Troupes de Marine, the museum is also a venue for various other activities. Conferences, (hall with 200 seats), temporary exhibitions.

Created in 1996, its overseas troops history and study centre (CHETOM) is an official Ministry of Defence archive. 12,000 books, 800 boxes of archives, are open to researchers and historians for consultation.