I am going to Paris for approximately 4 days at the end of June. I have been there before and have been to Versailles, Louvre, catacombs, Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triumph, etc. (and I hope to revisit some of these places again), but this time I would like to go off the beaten track for a bit.

As someone with a Jewish background with a deep interest in history, I would like to understand more about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup that occurred in July of 1942. I have researched the Vélodrome d'Hiver's ("Winter Velodrome") and the Drancy Concentration Camp's history quite a bit, and would like to visit these places to pay my respects to all those who experienced atrocities that occurred in these places during the Holocaust.

However, I do not know what the current status of the Vélodrome d'Hiver & Drancy Concentration Camp is. I know France (understandably, like any other nation), is not proud of this part of their history, so I'm not sure if the public are able to go to pay their respects? Are they transformed into quality museums worth going out of the way for? Or is there just a tiny plaque that mentions it off to the side and it's largely abandoned?

I've been to Auschwitz, Dachau, and others and they have been able to turn these places of horror and hell into a place to not only teach history (instead of ignoring it), but to commemorate and acknowledge the individual lives of the people that lost their lives there. Places like these are heavy on the heart to visit, but the museums and the degree to which they garner respect at these places is quite remarkable. I don't expect the Velodrome and the Drancy Concentration to be at that level -- but I just wanted to make sure that it's worthwhile to attend, and it's not just an abandoned piece of land with an old broken down plaque.

I just want more insight into what visiting these places would be like before I dedicate one of my 4 days in Paris to them (instead of going somewhere like the Beaches of Normandy, etc).

2 Answers 2


I don't think there's a museum at the Velodrome d'Hiver site (the building itself doesn't exist anymore). There's a monument there : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_des_Martyrs-Juifs-du-V%C3%A9lodrome-d%27Hiver

This is a public space where you can go as you wish. On certain occasion, there might be public ceremonies taking place here, notably around the end of july which is the date where the actual 'rafle' took place.

There's a memorial in Drancy : http://drancy.memorialdelashoah.org/en/the-drancy-memorial/presentation.html I think it is managed by the Memorial de la Shoah foundation. The website gives some details on how to plan your visit : http://drancy.memorialdelashoah.org/en/the-drancy-memorial/planning-your-visit.html The website might help you getting more information on what to expect in this memorial.

Notice that the Memorial de la Shoah foundation also have a museum space inside Paris : http://www.memorialdelashoah.org/en/the-memorial/planning-your-visit.html

In addition, you can also have a guided visit at the Bobigny train station from where several convoy left for death camps : https://exploreparis.com/en/111-bobigny-deportation-center-station.html

  • There are two points of interest near the Place des Martyrs-Juifs du Velodrome d'hiver: the square des Martyrs (wikiwand.com/fr/…) mentioned in the link in the answer, as well as the Jardin memorial des enfants du Vel'Hiv (Memorial park for the children of the Velodrome d'Hiver). See wikiwand.com/fr/…. The latter was inaugurated in July 2017, after audionuma's answer.
    – Taladris
    Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 4:51

At the eastern end of the Île de la Cité, behind Notre Dame, is the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (Deportation Martyrs Memorial). Opened in 1962, it memorializes all, Jews and non-Jews, who were deported from Vichy France during WWII.

While criticized for wrongly assimilating the deportation and murder of Jews into the greater polity of France, the crypt-like underground space, with spare exhibits, is a powerful experience for the viewer.

Source: I've been there.

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