Gordon and I headed to Melun* one Wednesday afternoon to see a home of Louis XIV’s one-time finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, who built Vaux le Vicomté, threw a splendid party for the king, and was immediately thrown into prison for the rest of his life, Louis having decided that the money for such opulence could not have been honestly acquired. The museum may or may not be housed in some or part of another building where Fouquet may or may not have once lived; the information sign is somewhat ambiguous.
The museum’s primary function is educational. It is open to the public only Wednesday-Sunday 14h-18h. During the week school children are introduced to archaeology, history, and art by a combination of lectures among the holdings and hands-on projects in l’atelier. Some of their works were displayed.
>> Figures and a jazz collage by local school children.
The collection is not large** but it is well displayed, and we found several things of interest among the archaeological finds, paintings, and everyday objects.
>> Modern drawings, such as this one of a Roman woman applying makeup, illustrate aspects of early life in the region and form backdrops for everyday objects. This mosaic probably decorated the threshold of a fifth century building, perhaps a brothel.
>> Marsyas et Apollon by Bartolomeo Guidobono (1624-1709) . In Greek mythology the satyr either picked up and played a flute abandoned by Athena or he challenged Apollo to a contest of music, the winner of which could treat the loser as he pleased. The judges were the Muses, so Marsyas lost and came to a grisly end. Maybe Apollo really was the better musician, but he sure was a stinker (and he looks so sweet). Look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsyas if you really want to know what happened to the satyr.
>> La vieille pêcheuse (The old fisherwoman) by Ernest-Ange Duez (1843-1896).
* One can get to Melun on RER-D or by a regular train that leaves from Gare de Lyon about every half hour and reaches Melun in half an hour (compared to about 45 minutes beyond that gare on RER-D). Choice is a matter of starting point (access to l’RER-D or la gare) and departure times. It takes about 10 minutes by foot to le musée (walk as directly away from the station as the streets allow). Almost all the buses at the Melun station appear to stop near le musée, which is on the same island as la Paroisse Notre-Dame and l’Université. The entrance to the museum is in the street across from the stop at the church (not the street along the river).
** Nor is the entrance fee: 2€ (1€ for seniors and some others).