France Germany 1870-1871 War, commune, memories  Exhibition from 2017 April 13 until July 30
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Exhibition from 2017 April 13 until July 30 France Germany
War, commune, memories 
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 Hotel de Ville in 1871 May Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, département des Estampes et de la Photographie
© BnF



A key moment in Franco-German relations, the 1870–1871 war, while certainly fanning the flames of hatred, did not hinder composers, poets and writers on both sides of the Rhine from exchanging ideas and influencing each other, as illustrated by Baudelaire’s boundless admiration for Wagner and by this cycle of eleven concerts.

Although popular songs referred to the Commune, the focus was essentially on a policy designed to reaffirm the splendour of French music in response to the German tradition. The National Society of Music was founded in 1871 by Bussine and Saint-Saëns as a means of implementing this policy. The society’s founding members included Franck, Massenet, Fauré and Duparc. Its motto was Ars Gallica.

In the wake of the 1871 defeat at the hands of Prussia, France entrusted its composers with the task of arousing national pride and patriotism, since music played a central role in the ruling elite’s view of the nation and the construction of republican national identity. However, such attempts failed to take into account the influence of foreign music and, more importantly, the enduring mutual esteem and elective affinities that served to deepen ties between the artists.
Go to the concert programme


1870-1871: War, Arts, History

The Musée de l’Armée is holding a cycle of lectures in partnership with the Permanent University of the City of Paris. The cycle, successively tackling cultural, military and art history, features the following lectures
Go to the lecture programme

Entertaining guided tours

The museum also offers an entertaining guided tour of the exhibition to give young visitors a better understanding of the 1870–1871 Franco-German war and find out about the important changes that accompanied or followed on from the conflict on the military, artistic, heritage and commemorative levels. A series of fun challenges await the youngsters during the tour. The guided tour is suitable for families and school groups.
Go to the programme of entertaining guided tours

Guided Tours

Visits organized by Cultival.
Online booking


1870-1871: Quiet please... Filming in progress!

The exhibition also features a film cycle: five fiction films and fictionalised documentaries explore how the Franco-German war (1870–1871) and Paris Commune (1871) have been represented and transformed into a narrative, subjects that have inspired numerous directors both in France and elsewhere. Film historians and film studies specialists will place the films in context and analyse them before discussing them with the viewers after the screening. The sessions will be run by film historian Patrick Brion.
Go to the film screening programme
Édouard Detaille, Alphonse de Neuville and Paul Mathey at the Old Cross of Rezonville Making Studies for the Rezonville Panorama, August–September 1882
François Robichon Collection
© Paris, musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette


La clique des lunaisiens & Isabelle Druet

2017 April 21 at 8 pm.
Programme : Offenbach - Saint-Saëns...

Michel Dalberto

2017 April 25 at 8 pm.
Programme : Wagner - Brahms - Bizet

Cyrille Dubois- Tristant Raës

2017 April 28 at 8 pm.
Programme : Duparc - Fauré - Brahms

Emmanuelle Bertrand & Saint-Saëns

2017 May 11 at 8 pm.
Programme : Chostakovitch - Schumann

La classe d'Anne le Bozec

2017 May 19 at 8 pm.
Programme : Wagner - Rheinberger - Brahms - Bizet - D’Indy - Duparc - Fauré - Massenet - Messager

Jean-Marc Phillips & Raphaël Pidoux

2017 May 23 at 8 pm.
Programme : Brahms - Dvorák

Quatuor Parisii & Philippe Bianconi

2017 May 29 at 8 pm. Programme : Brahms - Schumann - Franck

Joseph Moog

2017 June 8 at 8 pm.
Programme : Wagner - Saint-Saëns - Franck

Karine Deshayes & Philippe Cassard

2017 June 9 at 8 pm.
Programme : Brahms - Wagner - Gounod - Chausson - Duparc

Wagner & Saint-Saëns

2017 June 13 at 8 pm.

Gerhard Oppitz

2017 June 16 at 8 pm.
Programme : Bizet - Saint-Saëns - Franck - Brahms


Napoleon III and the 1870 War

2017 April 20 at 1.45 pm.
Auditorium Austerlitz
by Éric Anceau, lecturer in contemporary history at Paris-Sorbonne University

Offenbach – Wagner: a franco-German Duel?

2017 April 24 at 1.45 pm.
Auditorium Austerlitz
by Jean-Claude Yon, professor of contemporary history at Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University and research director at EPHE

Citizens, Take up Your Inventions! Help the Government of National Defence (1870–1871)

2017 April 25 at 1.45 pm.
Auditorium Austerlitz
by Christophe Pommier, assistant curator at the Musée de l’Armée’s artillery department

Could France have won in 1870 ? An alternate view of history

2017 May 5 at 1.45 pm.
Auditorium Austerlitz
by Antoine Reverchon, journalist at Le Monde newspaper

Remembrance of 1870 in German painting

2017 May 9 at 1.45 pm.
Auditorium Austerlitz
by Anne Friederike Delouis, lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Orléans

Entertaining guided tours

Entertaining guided tour schedule:
2017 April 26 at 2 pm.
2017 May 10 at 2 pm.
2017 June 7 at 2 pm.
2017 June 28 at 2 pm.

Entertaining guided tours: children from 9 upwards and parents
Price: €7 per child and €12 per adult

For school groups:


Mademoiselle Fifi

2017 June 5 at 7.30 pm.
By Robert Wise (1944)
(original English version with French subtitles – black & white – 69 minutes)

A Day in the Luxembourg Garden

2017 June 7 at 5 pm.
By de Jean Baronnet (1993)
(French version – colour – 50 minutes)

The Besieged Fortress

2017 June 7 at 7.30 pm.
By Gérard Mordillat (2006)
(documentary – French version – colour – 136 minutes)

La Commune (Paris, 1871)

Part I - 2017 June 8 at 4.30 pm.
Part II - 2017 June 8 at 8.30 pm.
By Peter Watkins (2000)
(French version – black & white – 345 minutes)

The Goose of Sedan

2017 June 9 at 7.30 pm.
By Helmut Kautner (1959)
(French version – colour – 90 minutes)