Outdoor Dome 2018 Helfaut (5)Aerial view of the Cupola of Helfaut-Wizernes
©Aerial view of the Cupola of Helfaut-Wizernes|Ecodrone - Tourisme en Pays de Saint-Omer

Visit the Coupole

Under the dome
Ready for a big trip?

It’s the only site in France that takes you underground and into space. The only tour in France that tells you about history while projecting you into the future. La Coupole, in Helfaut-Wizernes, is at once a memorial site, a museum and a planetarium. I take you on a journey through space and time.

The Helfaut dome

Under the dome

The site is impressive. A dark, oppressive mass of concrete seems to have landed in the Helfaut-Wizernes chalk quarry. In front of the bunker, a reconstruction of the space module that landed on the Moon in 1969. I’m only 10 minutes from Saint-Omer, but I feel like I’ve arrived on another planet.

La Coupole

History Center and 3D Planetarium
La Coupole, Centre d'Histoire et Planétarium 3D
La Coupole, Centre d'Histoire et Planétarium 3D
La Coupole, Centre d'Histoire et Planétarium 3D
La Coupole and its

Bunker of death

What was the purpose of this dome? I’ll soon have the answer, as I enter, audioguide on my ears, the impressive, cold, damp and dark railway tunnel. From October 1943 to September 1944, 1,300 workers, under the orders of the German army, would build day and night this immense underground complex, destined to store 500 V2 rockets, a fearsome weapon fired from here to reduce London to ashes.

Some panels on the 14-18 war in the region, the Loos deportees, the construction of this site: in this impressive tunnel in 20 minutes, I plunge straight into history, 80 years in the past. Then an elevator lifts me into the great hall of the Coupole.

La Coupole and its

Flying bombs

I’ve got 55,000 tons of concrete over my head and a huge V2 rocket almost at my fingertips. This is the one Hitler saw as the weapon capable of winning him the war. Frightening. Loaded with a ton of explosives, it sped along at 5,500 km/h and covered 200 km in less than 5 minutes.

I watch the 20-minute film on secret weapons, which is fascinating, and then allows us to grasp the exceptional nature of all the relics on display below: the V1, V2 rockets and to understand their evolution up to the conquest of space. Their inventor, German engineer Wernher von Braun, was in fact recovered to serve NASA and the American conquest of space.

La Coupole

Concentration horror

Opened in 1987, between 2003 and 2006, the La Coupole site carried out a vast survey to determine the number and identity of men, women and children (in the case of Jews and Gypsies) who fell victim to the repression implemented by German occupation troops, their police forces and the Vichy regime’s forces of order between 1940 and 1945.

At the heart of the second tour, “Life under the Occupation”, the section on deportation and genocide makes a deep impression on me. I am moved and marked by the memorial wall composed of 8,000 names of the victims of the occupation. Glances and faces that seem to urge me never to forget them.

La Coupole and its


From war to space, there’s only one man: Wernher von Braun. The inventor of the V2 is placed at the heart of the “Apollo” space program that will take the first Man to the Moon aboard Saturn V.

A journey into the Universe is what the Planetarium de la Coupole offers me to end on. And I have to admit, getting back into the swing of things feels really good. to fly to the farthest reaches of the universe, take a lunar landing and wander through the heart of the solar system. It’s a beautiful odyssey that allows me to regain a little height and restores my faith in man.

Tour highlights

A program of events

A place full of history!

A hike in the area