Moon LandingMoon Landing
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History is written and lived here

It’s the night of July 20-21, 1969, a warm night following the gales that France has just experienced. Everyone should be sleeping peacefully, yet voices and lights come to disturb the Moon’s brilliance. At 3:56 am, Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on our natural satellite. Humanity has just realized its long-held fantasy: that of a voyage imagined by Jules Verne a century earlier.

Wernher von Braun

At the same time, in the United States, one man is perhaps gloating a little more than the rest. He is the designer of the launcher Saturn V, the giant 111-meter rocket that carries our three astronauts. Wernher von Braun finally fulfills his childhood dream… but at what price?

This is an unexpected rendezvous with him that La Coupole and the Blockhaus d’Éperlecques are offering you. He’s not waiting for you in 1969, or even in 1961 when Gagarin made his first trip into Space, or even in 1957 when Sputnik emitted its first beep, but in 1942… during the Second World War.

In one photo, he seems to greet you with a smile and a disconcerting charisma. He’s not yet American, he’s German, has joined the Nazi Party and on October 3 has just developed the V2 rocket, a secret weapon designed to destroy London and turn the tide of the war. In order to launch the rockets, manufactured by forced laborers in the terrible Dora camp in central Germany, secret bases were built: the Blockhaus d’Éperlecques and then La Coupole. Fortunately, they never functioned – although rockets did leave from mobile bases – but they remain symbols of man’s folly, beacons on the dark side of the conquest of space, hearts still beating when those of the last living witnesses disappear


Celebrating Armstrong's small step

The chapter of the Second World War will close with the discovery of Dora, of the victims of these missiles, of its tragic outcome, to open a new, more peaceful one, on the adventure of the Moon with paradoxically the same characters.

Von Braun will be one of them and, recovered by the United States, will climb the steps until that night in 1969.

This is the story you are about to live. It’s the story of our territory, the unwilling center of secret weapons launches, of a region that has suffered more than any other from the wars of the 20th century, and of the questions that each of us will ask ourselves one day: How far am I willing to go to fulfill a dream? What values will I throw away to see it through?

Perhaps the best way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Armstrong’s small step is to make your own by taking a family trip to these two world-famous underground cities.

The Blockhaus at Éperlecques offers a vision of excess, an open-air historical park on secret weapons, while La Coupole extends the experience with a discovery of its galleries and then an ultramodern scenography beneath its imposing concrete dome. In recent years, the latter has also been home to a resource center, where a dictionary of the biographies of Dora deportees who passed through France is being compiled, and an extraordinary 3D planetarium – one of the most modern in France – where you too will have the sensation of walking on the Moon.


The moon at your fingertips

Since July 6, 2019, La Coupole welcomes you with a major temporary exhibition on the 50th anniversary of Man’s first step on the Moon.

Live or relive one of mankind’s greatest adventures by understanding, with the help of animations, reproductions or models, the technical madness of this challenge pitting the USSR against the USA, and by taking your place in a reconstructed lounge where the news from July 1969 will be broadcast.