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 (17 months ago)
Varied and large collection, interesting explanations. Explanations could be generalized for all exhibited pieces.
James (18 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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