Musee d’Art et d´Histoire de Provence
This unique museum of art and history in Provence was inaugurated in 1921 by Francois Carnot, who had the idea of creating a regional museum for visitors to learn about the rich ethnographic, historical and artistic heritage of eastern Provence, from prehistoric times entirely up to the first half of the twentieth century.
Francois Carnot was the son of the President of the Republic and had a large personal fortune, which enabled him to carry out a restoration work of the many rooms of the building.
Inside you will find a collection of art, porcelain, textiles, furniture, jewelry, agricultural tools and weapons.
The building formerly belonged to one of the oldest noble families in Provence – the Marquis Jean-Paul de Clapiers-Cabris. It was built in 1771 by the Milanese architect Jean Orello and became the Hotel de Clapiers-Cabris.
It is still one of the most elegant houses in Provence and has been nicknamed “The Little Trianon de Grasse” due to its affiliation with neoclassical architecture. However, the lines are softened by pink ocher colors in Italian style.
Above the front door is a head sculpture – “Head of Gordon” – which spews vipers out of its mouth.
At the back of the building is a cozy garden (now a historical monument) of 1200 m2, which was most recently re-designed by landscape architect Jean Mus. A nice breathing space on the trip through this wonderful museum.
The beautiful garden is planted with a huge magnolia, Japanese persimmon (Diospyros khaki), laurel, medlar (Mespilus germanica), and the iconic palm trees – introduced to the Côte d’Azur in the 19th century.
By Tommy Sverre / 2021
Photo gallery from the museum: