© Musée pyrénéen - Château fort de Lourdes | HerveLeclair@aspheries.com / algodia
Cultural heritage

The Pyrenean Museum

The Pyrenean Museum opened 100 years ago within the Château Fort de Lourdes. Created by lovers of the Pyrenees, this museum documents the history and cultures of those mountains. You’ll find a collection of all kinds of exhibits relating to the lives of residents in bygone days.

The founding couple

Louis and Margalide Le Bondidier, originally from Lorraine, fell in love with the mountains as soon as they arrived. From Mont-Perdu to Vignemale, they completed a series of ascents. Their curiosity about their adoptive region led them to invest in creating a museum within the castle. They devoted their lives to the local heritage.

In 1894, the town of Lourdes bought the castle, which no longer served a military function. In 1921, the Le Bondidiers and the Touring Club de France planned to start a museum. The couple were fascinated by the Pyrenees and put together collections about French and Spanish mountain history and cultures, from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Margalide Le Bondidier was in charge of organising the museum circuit and creating the settings.

Their motto: “Everything that is Pyrenean should be of interest to us”.

Traditions…

The museum earned “Musée de France” status in 2002. The rich heritage of domestic, rural and pastoral life throughout the Pyrenean area was thus acknowledged. Life in the Pyrenees unfolded daily in people’s homes; in their traditional activities; but also in their traditions and beliefs. So visitors are immersed in a reconstruction of people’s everyday environment bygone times (kitchen, bedroom). Discover objects relating to agropastoralism and the wool industry, as well as costumes, wedding presents and mourning candles… The visitor circuit includes a reconstruction of a Pyrenean cemetery, where the discoidal gravestones are sure to awaken your curiosity.

And treasures

As well as this folk heritage, the decorative arts are also represented by a beautiful collection of Samadet earthenware from the 18th century.

In the castle’s Chapel of Our Lady is some remarkable furniture from the old parish church of Lourdes, exemplifying the Baroque religious style.

Today we are still committed to conserving, preserving, documenting and displaying this rich and abundant collection at the museum, within the castle and outside its walls.

The garden

An outdoor circuit offers a relaxing way to explore the botanical garden, a rockery built on rocky ground. Scale models of traditional Pyrenean buildings created by Margalide Le Bondidier, along with sculptures, line your path as you explore the garden.