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7 unusual museums in Provence

They’ll have you laughing, astonished and maybe even scared… Whatever the case, these unusual museums in Provence are a memorable experience! Let curiosity be your guide!

Musée Paul Ricard at the Domaine de Méjanes

In the middle of the Camargue, the first museum devoted to Paul Ricard – a Marseillais with an exceptional history – has opened its doors at the Domaine de Méjanes. A real paradise in Camargue, it has bull shows, a ride on a little train, horseback rides and a shop selling local products. Paul Ricard was the owner of the Domaine and, on the initiative of his daughter Michèle, Méjanes has decided to pay homage to him. The opening of the museum devoted to the destiny of Paul Ricard is an opportunity to discover the extraordinary career of this highly gifted man. From his childhood and his passion for art to the creation of his famous Pastis and his political commitments, you’ll learn all there is to know about Paul Ricard. Personal objects, family photos and unpublished documents all bear witness to the businessman’s myriad of lives. At the end of the visit, Ricard himself will talk to you and reveal the secret of his success…

Stand to attention in Saint-Tropez

Made famous by the movies with Louis de Funès, the former Saint-Tropez police station is still an icon. It is now the Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma, where two visitor experiences await you. The first will help you to find out more about the real story of the police station and discover some of its anecdotes. The other one covers the history of films in Saint-Tropez and the countless stars who have been welcomed to the peninsula. Visit Brigitte Bardot’s and Romy Schneider’s dressing rooms and a vintage film cinema devoted to the saga of Les Gendarmes and let the museum take you through the golden age of French movies with extracts from films and interviews with stars.

Experience the height of the Perrier saga

With its mythical retro ads, the Musée Perrier in Vergèze tells the 150-year saga of the star of table waters. A guided tour whisks you off into the brand’s advertising history, which stands out thanks to its exemplary style and memorable collaborations. Advertisements and collector items that have marked the eras since the brand was created in 1903 are exhibited.  On large screens, you can watch the process of making the famous glass bottle, the brand’s emblem, on large screens. And to end on a refreshing note, try the latest Perrier novelties while you make the most of the magnificent hundred-year-old grounds around the historic château.

Keep your hand in at the Musée du Tire-bouchon

In the heart of the Domaine de la Citadelle in Ménerbes, le Musée du Tire-bouchon (Corkscrew museum) is devoted to one of the most vital inventions for wine lovers. Take the guided tour and see the collection of 1,200 items from all over the world, from the 17th century to nowadays. Did you know that the invention of the corkscrew is credited to an Englishman? And what was the very first one like? From the cast-iron corkscrew to the art object in solid gold, ivory or silver, it’s a question of taste! The visit ends in the Domaine’s cellar with its award-winning wines and superb terraced botanical garden.

Enter into the private life of a collector

The Musée Vouland welcomes you to an 18th-century-style mansion in the heart of Avignon. The mansion is the former home of the art deco collector Louis Vouland and fascinates visitors with its furniture signed by Migeon, Ellaume or Tuart, unique faience and porcelain, tapestries, timepieces and even lighting and silverwork. You will be able to see modern and contemporary work in a collection devoted to the arts of Provence. The visit continues in a magnificent garden through which the Canal du Vaucluse flows – a sensory extension which gives you the opportunity to find out more about biodiversity. Throughout the year, nature, collections and exhibitions coexist harmoniously and concerts are regularly included in the programme.

Unlock the secrets of a mansion which is something of an enigma

According to Vanity Fair, this private mansion is “an extraordinary cabinet of curiosities in the full meaning of the 17th century“. The Hôtel d’Agar, a vast, exceptional house in the heart of the town centre of Cavaillon has hosted famous guests such as François I, the Marquis de Sade and René Char. The fifteenth-century Gothic tower and its gargoyles, the ceiling painted for François 1’s visit, the remarkable cycle of stucco Medici fireplaces, the remains of a temple and the Baths of Augustus, all make up a succession of invaluable treasures. And of course, paintings in the spirit of Caravaggio, contemporary Sèvres porcelain and even a very old medicine cabinet: each object tells part of the story.

Discover the art of fossils in the Paléogalerie

The village of Salignac is home to the most improbable creatures, but where are they? Right under your feet! Don’t worry! They’re just the fossils of the Paléogalerie which have become works of art. The visit reveals a rather avant-garde world as far as working with stone is concerned and you can understand the thousands of hours needed for each creation. The 200,000-year-old fossils are meticulously crafted by Luc Ebbo, a native to the region. He likes to tell you how he has roamed the hills since the age of 5 in search of precious fossils. Among them is a treasure you’re not likely to forget: the skull of an ichthyosaurus dating back 110 million years!

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