Special Forces

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Special Operations Command (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales, also known as COS) on 24 June 1992, the Musée de l’Armée will be presenting an exhibition dedicated to the French special forces and to the commitment of these men and women, from the Second World War to the present day.

Horaires :

Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (until 9 pm on Tuesdays)
From Wednesday 12 October 2022
to Sunday 29 January 2023

Lieu de l'évenement :

Temporary Exhibition Rooms East Wing 3rd Floor

The exhibition highlights the history and evolution of these units from their first interventions during the Second World War to the most recent ones, including the Cold War and the creation of the COS after the first Gulf War.

The selection, education, specialisation and training of these men and women are brought to light in an unprecedented way. The major feats of arms of these elite units, who fall under the French Ground Army, Navy, Air and Space Force, as well as the Defence Central Health Service (Service de Santé des Armées), are portrayed in order to raise visitors’ awareness with regard to the importance of their role in today’s military interventions, in times of peace and war.

For the very first time, the exhibition will also feature their modus operandi, specific techniques, equipment, and weaponry. The event, which sheds light on one of the most discreet entities of the French Armed Forces, provides us with an opportunity to address the way in which special forces are portrayed in cinema. The Musée de l’Armée aims to make this scarcely exhibited subject accessible to all visitors – including the youngest audience – in the interest of transmission. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to question the relationship between our societies and war nowadays and the increasing use of special forces.

The collections of the Musée de l’Armée, displayed in an immersive and spectacular scenography, in which still and moving images as well as multimedia devices play a significant role, interact with other objects and documents originating from government services, French and foreign national heritage institutions, halls of honour of special forces units, private collections or even industrialists. Some of the equipment will be exhibited to the general public for the very first time.



  • Lieutenant-Colonel Christophe Bertrand, Chief Heritage Curator, Head of Contemporary Department, Musée de l’Armée
  • Jordan Gaspin, Collections Manager, Contemporary Department, Musée de l’Armée
  • Carine Lachèvre, Deputy Head of the Historial Charles de Gaulle Department, Musée de l’Armée
  • Emmanuel Ranvoisy, Deputy Head of the Contemporary Department, Musée de l’Armée
  • Col (R) Alain, Reserve Officer to the SOC Staff

Assisted by :
Laurent Charbonneau, Anne-Sixtine Clévenot, Camille Cros, Clélia Jouvet, Adjudant-chef Olivier Laurent, Adjudant Rémi Lixandru, Antoine Tromski


This exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the Special Operations Command (COS).


  • This exhibition has been organised with generous support from the CIC, the Union des Blessés de la Face et de la Tête (Union of Individuals with Face and Head Injuries), Arquus, the Special Forces’ major patrons.
  • With generous support from the cultural programming patrons MP-Sec, Unéo, LoisirAlp, Meindl and Preligens
  • In partnership with the Cercle de l’Arbalète (the Federation of Special Forces and Special Units Equipment Manufacturers) and the Technical Section of the Army.

And with support from :


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[Modified access] The access to the Museum will only be on Place Vauban, on Thursday, October 6th all day long, and on Tuesday, October 11th until 11.30 am. We apologize for the inconvenience caused.