The Musée du général Leclerc de Hauteclocque et de la Libération de Paris – Musée Jean Moulin is the museum of three Companions of the Liberation: Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, soldier, ‘Free French’, commander of the 2e Division Blindée (2nd armoured division) and politician; the second is Jean Moulin, artist, prefect, leader of the French Resistance and founder of the Clandestine State in 1943; and the third is the City of Paris, which was made a Companion for fighting against the occupying Nazis from the summer of 1940, and then rising against them in August 1944.
The Compagnons de la Libération (‘Companions of the Liberation’) are people, cities, or military units that were awarded the Ordre de la Libération (‘Order of Liberation’), a French Order created on 17 November 1940 by General De Gaulle. It is a high honour, second only to the French Légion d'Honneur (‘Legion of Honour’). This decoration was awarded to a small number of men, women, military units and towns, who distinguished themselves by their exceptional courage in the final liberation of France.
These two biographically focused museums feature two men and their time. They are presented against a background of the history of the French Resistance and of the Forces Françaises Libres (the ‘Free French forces’ – FFL), and in the wider context of the Second World War, which was the main period of their activities, although not exclusively. The Musée du général Leclerc traces the activities of Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and the men and women who followed him. The Musée Jean Moulin presents Moulin the public man, the high-ranking official and unifier of the French Resistance, but also Jean Moulin the private man, passionate about modernism – an artist and lover of art. In parallel, the Museum describes France during the Second World War, the Resistance from June 1942, the Liberation in 1944, Paris under the Germans, Paris resisting, the Vichy Government, and the occupiers.