Sometimes I love to get lost and see what comes on my way. This is how I discovered the remarkable Musée des Automates in Limoux. Strolling around in this lovely town in the Aude department, I stumbled across this laboratory of the imagination created by Judith and Rémi. These passionate artists devote their time to creating handmade mechanical characters in a fairytale setting.
Initially started in Les Landes in the 1970s by Judith’s parents, Martine Morand and Jacques Achache, the Musée des Automates moved to Limoux in 2003. It took three years of renovations before they could open their imaginary world in a former shoe factory. In 2011, after Jacques’ passing, Judith and her partner Rémi decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Ever since, they have passionately continued Martine and Jacques’ work of creating fairytale figures for the private museum. It is such a rare and unique place that should be cherished in this modern world.
When I entered the Musée des Automates, I was completely alone and didn’t know what to expect. Soon enough, Rémi welcomed me and explained what I was about to see. Little by little, the fairytale universe created by him and his wife revealed itself to me. Because they put so much effort into each detail to get the right colours and movements, it’s like stepping into a living painting. Rémi told me that each of the more than 100 characters had been made by hand. Not only the detailed appearances and costumes but also the genius clockwork-driven mechanics behind them. Judith and Rémi are inspired by baroque and renaissance art, as well as the art nouveau and art deco movements.
Amazing and bizarre
The Musée des Automates consists of three parts that you can freely discover for 6 euros per adult and 4 euros per child between 4 and 12 years old. First, the entrance hall shows several vivid and carnival-inspired characters. After all, we’re in Limoux, the town with the longest carnival in the world. To visit the second part, I went through some curtains to enter a completely different world. It was amazing and bizarre and sometimes a bit creepy to walk through the various scenes of moving and colourful figures by myself. The dramatic music added to the atmosphere. You won’t find information signs to explain what you see, it all depends on your own imagination. The last part of the museum is the actual workshop where Judith and Rémi create all of this magic. It was a great pleasure to step into the astonishing universe of these two artists!