Recently, I tested the newly refurbished “Musée de Lodève” for you. I was enticed to visit the museum by the eye-catching sight of a dinosaur. It also promised an exciting visit to discover 540 million years of history. In one place! Such a bold promise immediately hooked me.
So what is this place about? It is a Fine Art and Natural History Museum all in one, hosting a fascinating archaeological and paleontological collection. Since 1987 it has been ideally located in the centre of Lodève, in a beautiful Hôtel Particulier. Then it was refurbished recently and reopened in June 2018. As soon as you arrive, you are immediately welcomed by a gigantic sculpture of a great faun. The famous local artist Paul Dardé made this “Grand Faune”. Apparently, the 4 meters high, 14 tonnes piece was one hell of a challenge to get into the museum. Now it is there to stay. This welcoming, monumental sculpture alone is worth the trip.
The permanent exhibition on the ground floor is a gorgeous collection of Paul Dardé’s sculptures and sketches. I admit I discovered him fully that day. And what a discovery; it was love at first sight! He clearly was a very talented man. Dardé sculpted directly onto locally sourced stones, unlike the fashion of casting that prevailed in those years. I really encourage you to visit this inspiring, oniric and poetic collection. The Museum of Lodève is the institution of reference for his work. It’s easy to see why, as it houses over 600 sculptures and 3,000 sketches of Dardé.
Then, with my head still in the clouds after Dardé’s magnificent statues, I arrived in a completely different environment. Quickly transported to a very ancient time, I found myself all the way back to the end of the Prehistoric era and particularly the Neolithic period. I have to say it was all very well interpreted and explained, never too much and never a dull moment. You can meander through the Neolithic era and discover the tools, the animals that lived there, the activities men practised and various singular stories. Undeniably an enlightening exhibit! The museum is also very suitable for kids, with animated short films directed by the team at Kirikou.
Trace of life
After the Prehistoric era, I went back another 540 million years! Finally, I was where I wanted to be. Thanks to a high tech multi-media room, I immediately immersed in the science of the earth. A large screen showed a time-lapse video that depicted the various geological era, the movements of continents and the trail of life. For me, this part of the museum was absolutely mind-blowing.