It seemed like it would never happen. The re-opening of the Museon Arlaten
(“Arlesian museum” in the Provençal tongue) had been postponed again and again, but at last it’s happening.
By Dominique Juan
L’élégante intervention de l’architecte Michel Bertreux sur ce musée symbole de la Provence.
In 1896, the Provençal-language author Frédéric Mistral started a «Pantheon of Provence», collecting objects from local people for a new history and ethnography museum. In 1904 he bought the site of today’s museum with the money from his Nobel literature prize. Over the centuries, the place has been a Roman forum and the 16th-century mansion of a noble family, at some point annexing the next door Jesuit chapel. It now belongs to the Bouches-du-Rhône department council, which commissioned architect Michel Bertreux to renovate the site. The work was launched in 2009 under museum director Dominique Serena, and the museum is now open again, offering visitors a wonderful journey through time and space.
Walk into the Arlaten and you’re inside the world of Provençal people, from the Camargue herdsmen to the gallant band who fervently campaigned to save the Provençal language and its literature. A stroll through the museum is like leafing through a historical novel. It took «gratitude and love» to revive this immaterial heritage, says Christian Lacroix, who has decorated the reception areas with huge, brightly-coloured panels composed of images of the museum’s most emblematic objects. «Gratitude and love» – that’s well said, because every local family has some connection with the museum through a photo, a ribbon, a wicker basket, a piece of jewellery or just a memory. No one has been forgotten in this history of everyday lives. New technologies enrich the displays with video and interactive games. All the poetry of our region is here.
Possibilité de visites commentées, individuelles ou
en groupe de 10 à 25 personnes
Ouvert du mardi au dimanche de 10h à 18h - Fermé le lundi
29 rue de la République, Arles - Tél. 04 13 31 51 99