La Fondation Calvet is an art foundation in Avignon, named for Esprit Calvet, who left his collections and library to it in 1810. The foundation maintains several museums and a two libraries, with support from the town. The original legacies of paintings, archaeological items, coins and medals, and medieval sculpture have been added to by many other legacies, and a significant deposit of works of art from the Louvre. The archaeological collections and medieval sculpture are now housed separately in the 'Musée Lapidaire' - once the chapel of the Jesuit College. The main museum is in an 18th-century city mansion, to which modern buildings have been added; the Library bequeathed by Calvet, and the important collection of over 12,000 coins and medals, have moved to a different location in the city.

In Avignon there are six museums:

  • Bibliothèque Calvet, the main library, housed since 1986 in part of what was once a cardinal's palace, the Livrée Ceccano
  • Musée Calvet, the main art gallery, housed in an 18th-century city mansion (a hôtel particulier), the Hôtel de Villeneuve-Martignan
  • Médaillier Calvet, a collection of coins and medals
  • Musée Lapidaire, a collection of sculptures and archeological finds, housed in what was once the chapel of a Jesuit college
  • Museum et Bibliothèque Requien, a natural history museum
  • Musée du Petit Palais, a collection of medieval and renaissance paintings


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Category: Museums in France


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Willie Drouhet (9 months ago)
Varied and large collection, interesting explanations. Explanations could be generalized for all exhibited pieces.
James (10 months ago)
We came upon this museum in early March, 2020, just as COVID was making itself known. As a result, we virtually had the museum to ourselves. Plus it was raining. We thoroughly enjoyed this smallish museum, just casually strolling through on a rainy day in Avignon and getting a pastry afterwards. Does life get better than that? Also had a beautiful courtyard, good for a picture or two. Admission was free.
Yair Bar Zohar (2 years ago)
The Calva Museum is an impressive museum, located within an 18th-century mansion. The museum presents an impressive collection, which includes a wide range of items related to various subjects, including archeology, art and anthropology. In the museum's art display you will find works of various kinds - sculptures, illustrations, paintings, Islamic art, Egyptian art and even prehistoric art. Audio guides can be hired at the museum entrance. Admission is reasonable. Children 12 and under come in for free. Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 13:00, 14:00 to 18:00. How long should you visit? Between one and two hours.
Sam Allmark (2 years ago)
I was completely taken aback by the size of this collection considering that it is a free museum. From statuary, to a broad range of paintings and even a small Egyptian collection. Some of the setups are a little unfortunate (some of the lights reflect on the paintings making it difficult to see some of the finer detail). However the whole experience make this well worthwhile. And the building it is all housed in is exceptional.
G L Littleton (2 years ago)
Okay I was wandering and found it. The fact that it was FREE sealed the choice. I arrived after 14:00 when it reopened. There was an old man sleeping at the door. I was the only person here for about 15 minutes. It would get crowded only occasionally. They had over 700 works of art. Paintings, sculptures, 3D pieces. Also photographs are allowed. I did notice some of the paintings have holes in them. When I inquired about them they said insects. I wonder if they have stopped the infestation?
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Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.