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The recently opened Médard Museum in Lunel and the Maritime Museum in Sète are now part of a wide choice of cultural visits offered in Languedoc Roussillon. The region has supported the towns in the financing of these cultural amenities. Benefiting from new funds, the two museums stand out from the rest because of the way their architecture has been restored – they are both diametrically opposite in historical terms - and because of the content of their respective collections.
The first collection contains five thousand artworks created between the 17th and 19th centuries, a collection based on the exceptional library of the bibliophile Louis Médard (1768-1841) from Montpellier. This museum is, above all else, a place of book mediation, of the history of the collection and the arts and crafts of the written word.
The second one highlights the equally precious and rare legacy of the shipbuilder André Aversa and consists of extraordinary model ships complemented by jousting sets*, costumes, musical instruments, battle bulwarks and ornaments, spears and trophies. It’s a collection of articles tracing the social and economic history of the port of Sète from the 18th century to today.
In Lunel, the Médard museum is part of the redevelopment of an old building (18th century) in the town centre which has housed the Town Hall, the tourist office and a library. In Sète, the Maritime Museum is located on a listed site in the former premises of IFREMER, a 1970s, anonymous, low rise building abandoned for a decade (located between the marine cemetery and the Marine theatre).
The restoration of these two buildings was carried out by the agency C+D with Nicolas Crégut and Laurent Duport, both architects renowned for their contemporary achievements such as the Lycée Pierre-Mendès-France in Montpellier or the RBC Design Center in Montpellier in association with Jean Nouvel, and architects also known for the restoration (with extension) of several historic buildings, in particular the Hotel de Roubin and the Hotel de Sibour, for the religious museum at Pont-Saint-Esprit and the art gallery at the Chouleur Hotel in Nîmes.
* An ancestral combat sport played on boats in the Hérault.