Let yourself be surprised by the Sainte-Croix Museum in Poitiers

Living History

Paying activities
All year round
Sainte-Croix Museum in Poitiers ©Agence Zebrelle - Thomas JELINEK

When your outings in Poitiers, do not miss to dive into the collections of the most important museum of the city, located a few steps from the hypercentre. THE permanent and temporary exhibitions of the Sainte-Croix Museum and the various activities organized will never cease to amaze you, at all ages!

Become knowledgeable about the history of the Sainte-Croix Museum

Le Sainte-Croix Museum welcomes young and old art and history lovers all year round, with permanent and temporary exhibitions. It is located close to the pedestrian streets, at the level of the Saint-Jean Baptistery, theone of the oldest Christian monuments in Europe retained to this day. The building with modern lines stands in place of the old abbey of Sainte-Croix, which is now at St. Benedict.

This new place of interest officially opened its doors for the first time on December 21, 1974, under the name " Holy Cross Cultural Center ". After being exhibited for many years at the town hall, the marvels of Poitiers will find, behind these walls, a vast setting to shine.

In order to carry out this ambitious project, the design of this building is entrusted to aan important figure in architecture, John Monge. The architect is known for his achievements as well as his distinction as a winner of the Équerre d'Argent.
The result offers a bold work, mixing raw concrete and tinted glass, all designed in the vein of the achievements of Le Corbusier.

Did you know ?

Did you know that there is an underground passage between this building and Espace Mendès France  ? This curiosity is usually not open to the public.
But during one of the editions of the great urban trail organized each year in the city of Poitiers, the participants were surprised to discover this passage at the bend of an exceptional route!

I discover Espace Mendès France
poitiers space mendes france1 - Tourism Vienne

Discover the rich permanent collections

From prehistory to modern art via the Middle Ages, the Sainte-Croix Museum invites you to dive into the eras that have marked the region.

Embark on a journey through time 

Limpressive collection of more than one million pieces testifies to 400 years of local history. The museum presents rich archaeological collections all year round, ranging from prehistory to the early Middle Ages. It has a Fine Arts department with works from the XNUMXthrd and beginning of the XXrd century.

Sainte-Croix Museum in Poitiers©Thomas JELINEK – Agence Zebrelle

Among the precious relics revealed, get to know these key works from the past of Poitiers :
   • Head of an apostle shaped with lime at the end of the IVrd century
   • Early Christian sarcophagus in sculpted marble from the Vrd century
   • Reliquary vase in blown blue glass with opaque white decoration from the XIrd century
   • Sculpture of the Hypogeum of the Dunes dated between the VIrd and VIIIrd century
   • Dispute capital, major creation of Roman art

Tremble before the mythical creature of the Great Ghoul

Don't be afraid to come across the legendary monster of La Great Ghoul ! Represented in sculpted wood by the artist Jean Gargot, this frightening dragon recalls the "golden legend" of Sainte Radegonde, founder of the Abbey of Sainte-Croix. Its wide mouth with sharp teeth will make you shiver.

I am interested in the legends of Poitiers
The Grand Goule©Tom LAMBERT – Agence Zébrelle

Explore art in all its forms

The great artistic currents of the XNUMXth centuryrd century are worthily represented by a variety of paintings, marbles and bronze sculptures.

The permanent exhibition honors illustrious creators such as Gustave Moreau, Pierre-Henri of Valencienne, James Pradier or even Auguste Rodin. Among the most renowned acquisitions are several busts signed Camille Claudel, including La Vieille Hélène and La valse.

Find the galleries differently

Ce high place of culture reinvents itself several times a year with temporary exhibitions.
Did you know? Every month, the curators invite you to marvel at a new museum reserve exit. Let yourself be surprised from the entrance hall with a new piece, from private collections, offered as a bequest by generous owners.

Have fun visiting the largest museum in Poitiers

Throughout the year, the building opens its doors on its permanent exhibitions, while offering surprising activities.

Fill up on culture according to your desires

This conservatory invites you to discover its masterpieces during commented tours, but also on the occasion of international conferences or of documentary screening sessions.
Depending on the program, your exploration will be done in an original way to the rhythm of musical encounters, theatrical and even danced !

A place that children will love

To mix learning and fun, the museum reserves special screenings for young creators thanks to its Les p'tits ateliers program. During school holidays, activity leaders accompany children from 4 to 11 years old, divided into three age groups. Modeling, painting and various marvels viennent complete a cultural discovery session. With a large choice of activities, your budding artists will love coming to the museum!
Group visits can be organized for school outings, or combined with other explorations of the heritage of the historic heart of Poitiers.

Sainte-Croix Museum in Poitiers©Thomas JELINEK – Agence Zebrelle

Enjoy unusual encounters at the museum

   •   Lunch break at the museum : every Tuesday, get to know a new reserve outing over the duration of a lunch break. This weekly meeting, around an object or a painting, takes place on a suitable time slot between 30 to 45 minutes. And depending on the dates, no need to anticipate your meal, the sandwich is provided!

   •   Sundays at the museum : the program on Sundays at the museum invites you to discover or rediscover the gallery's permanent collections from a new perspective, as well as temporary exhibitions during a thematic visit. Come as a family with your children or your parents, the sessions are open to all.

Discover treasures of memory

This major place of Vienne preserves much more than sculptures or paintings. Behind its walls hides an important documentation resource, With a research and archive center dedicated to preserved works from the Sainte-Croix Museum. It thus brings together works of art history, archeology and the regional past.

Like other museums in France, this building also houses creations with eventful stories, belonging to the collection of the National Recovery Museums (MNR). At the end of the Second World War, many wonders looted by the German infantry are reported in the hope of finding their owners, thus constituting these MNR. 

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