Génelard, a centre of interpretation of the demarcation line

Presentation of the future centre of interpretation of the demarcation line, set up in Génelard, in the department of Saône-et-Loire.

Saône-et-Loire was one of the 13 French departments crossed by the demarcation line between June 1940 and February 1943. In this area, a few kilometres north of Charolles, the commune of Génelard hosted one of the many checkpoints dotted along this boundary line created by the armistice of 22 June 1940. Here, on 18th June 2006, in the 'Place du Bassin' next to the 'Canal du Centre', a Centre of Interpretation was inaugurated, to look at the history of the demarcation line.

  • Views of inside the centre. Photo: Patrick DELESVAUX, architect.

    Views of inside the centre. Photo: Patrick DELESVAUX, architect, 42190 CHARLIEU.

  • Façade of the Centre of Interpretation

    Façade of the Centre of Interpretation. Source : JP le Padellec

  • Centre of Interpretation

    Centre of Interpretation : JP le Padellec

  • Views of inside the building. Photo: Patrick DELESVAUX, architect.

    Views of inside the building. Photo: Patrick DELESVAUX, architect, 42190 CHARLIEU.

This project, which is the only one of its kind in France, is an initiative of an Association called 'Demarcation Line - Museum - Research Centre', created in November 2000 and backed by a scientific committee composed of several specialists in this field, including historian Eric ALARY, author of a recently-released book on the demarcation line published by Editions Perrin. The Centre of Interpretation is also unusual in the style of architecture chosen. The building, designed by architect Patrick DELESVAUX, will be made up of a simple rectagular base forming a single block. This rectangle will be crossed by a diagonal construction along the composition lines of the site, creating a visible fracture that symbolises the demarcation line itself.
This line thus splits the project into two parts. The first is the history section, which houses the museum, an associated multi-purpose room and an archive centre. The second contains the library. Between these two parts, the entry hall containing the reception desk and the giftshop is built using transparent materials to reinforce the notion of division between the other two solid parts of the building.
The permanent exhibition will be centred on the history of the demarcation line which tore France apart during World War II. It features many documents: texts, maps, photographs, objects, etc. while the dramatic display by specialists ARSCENE concentrates on showing the reality of this frontier, its effects on the daily life of the French citizens and the repercussions on the national economy. The surveillance and administration of the line and the clandestine attempts made to cross it are just some of the themes dealt with by this museum. The demarcation line is also studied in terms of its significance as a memorial object. The projection room provides the opportunity to show films such as 'Line of Demarcation' by Claude CHABROL and the recent documentary made during the journey by Paul Webster, the French correspondent of English daily newspaper The Guardian, who walked the entire 1200km of the line.
Finally, in the multi-purpose room, temporary exhibits will be organised to encourage the public to think about the more general notion of BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES. This is a natural and necessary extension of the subject, aiming to offer visitors to the centre a different perspective on world events. This project, which is managed by the commune of Genelard, will become part of the Remembrance, Heritage and Archives Department of the Defence Ministry's 'Memory Lane' operation devoted to World War II. To help meet the cost of this investment, estimated at €846,782 (exclusive of taxes), the commune received financial aid from the French government and the European Union to the value of €460,332 (exclusive of taxes), of which €254,034 came from the Ministry of Defence, DMPA, and €206,298 (exclusive of taxes) from FEDER Objectif 2.
Demarcation Line Centre of Interpretation Le Bassin 71420 Génelard Tel: +33 3 85 79 23 12 Fax: +33 3 85 79 27 23 E-mail: info@lignededemarcation.fr Opening times From March 2 to June 30 and September 1 to November 13, Wednesday to Saturday from 10h to 12h and 14h to 18h, Sundays and holidays from 14:30 to 18:30. From July 1 to August 31, Monday to Saturday from 10h to 19h, Sundays and public holidays from 14h to 19h. Open all year round by appointment for groups and school visits. Prices Full price: €4.00 Reductions: €3.00 (12 -18 years, students, unemployed, ex-services, disabled, with appropriate identification) Free (Children under 12) For group discounts, please ask.

MINDEF/SGA/DMPA Territoire Est