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Le Musée de Beaux-Arts in Roanne

Purefrancenow visits this exceptional museum in the heart of Roanne in the Roannais, Rhône-Alpes.This remarkable place on the site of a chateau is dedicated to Art and Archaeology.

Built at the end of the 18th century, and nestling in the centre of the bustling township of Roanne, the museum is named after Joseph Déchelette, a locally renowned man from a large, successful, local family, and now an internationally famous figure of archaeology.

The building, itself, was given to Roanne in 1892, and the museum was installed in 1923.

It remains unique in its field, and houses both a large deposit of archaeological finds, and a research library specialising in archaeology and art history.

We had been prompted to visit by our ever inquisitive son, Ellis, who recently, having had a school outing to view an art exhibition, held in a couple of the main galleries at the museum, wanted to investigate further.

Thanks to the amazing endeavours and dedication of Joseph Déchelette, the museum’s collection illustrates Gallo-Roman life in Roanne with artefacts displayed alongside details of exactly from which street or village in the Roannais they were excavated – amazing!

There is also an important collection of Egyptian relics, including the beautifully decorated sarcophagus of Tjesisetperet. Dating from 820 BC, alongside lies the ‘mummy’, x-rayed to reveal her to be a young girl of about 14 years.

All absolutely fascinating.

The photographs documenting the expedition to Egypt displayed on nearby walls, bring to life the reality of the great turn-of-century journeys of discovery and gathering of these priceless archeological finds.

There is much more to see if you have the time. An extensive collection of ceramics, dating from the 15th century to modern period. Then there is a weird and wonderful display of African masks nd tribal artefacts gathered during the 1930’s with pictures documenting the voyages and African village life at the time.

The important research library at the museum houses more than 15,000 books.

Joseph Déchelettewas born in Roanne in 1862, and, after a prolific, extremely successful young career in archaeology, was only 52 when he was killed during the first world war whilst leading his company in an attack on 4th October, 1914 at Vingré.

The importance of his work and his contribution to archaeology cannot be overstated, and he is widely recognised throughout the world, and this fascinating, and well-presented museum is a fitting tribute to his memory.

Don’t hesitate, just go and visit. It is a pleasure.

Le Musée de Beaux-Arts et D’Archéologie Joseph Déchelette   –  Roanne

Opening Hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: – 12 noon,   2.00pm – 6.00pm

Saturday : 10.00am – 6.00pm

Sunday :2.00pm – 6.00pm

Entrance 4€,  Free on Wednesday afternoon.