The Collector of Avignon: the Calvet Museum

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Calvet Museum, Musée Calvet, Avignon, France

Like other museums in Avignon in 2018, the Calvet had their collection raided for an exhibition at the Pope’s Palace by Christian Lacroix.  I had thought that this sounded like the most interesting museum in the city, but I think maybe Mr Lacroix’s excellent selection of goodies somewhat depleted the Calvet…

The building itself is very attractive – the hotel Villeneuve-Martignan, built in 1749 for Jacques-Ignace de Villeneuve, bought by the city in 1833 to house the collection of Esprit Calvet.  Calvet was a great collector, but a doctor by training.  He bequeathed his library, collection of natural history and a cabinet of antiquities to his home town of Avignon in 1810 – and, with amazing foresight and good sense, he also left properties which would provide an income that could be used to maintain and increase the collection.  The Calvet Foundation was founded by imperial decree by Napoleon in 1811.   It now runs this museum, as well as six others in Avignon and Cavaillon, including the Petit Palais, the Lepidary (which annoyingly we didn’t get to, because that concentrates on ancient objects) and the Requien (natural history) along with a few others.

So In Summary

I don’t know why, but I didn’t really feel this museum.  Some of the objects were lovely, as was the building.  I guess it would have a different vibe when it gets that big chunk of its collection back from Lacroix’s exhibition, but as it was I couldn’t help but feel very disengaged from it.

Further Information

It is free to enter the museum.

The website is naturally only in French:

How To Get There

The museum is a an easy and a fairly straightforward walk from the train station.  There is a website for the bus service which has information in English:

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