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The Fannerie – the restoration of a historic building

The building called the Fannerie, at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, was chosen to house the future museum. Located in the main courtyard at the entrance to the site, it is one of the first buildings visitors see when they enter the abbey.

“Centred around the dialogue of forms, the future Museum will invite the visitor to discover the collectors’ museum of the imagination and to enjoy a completely unique visual experience.”

Dominique Gagneux, Director of the Museum of Modern Art at Fontevraud.

The architectural and exhibition design project

The project, carried out by Christophe Batard, Agence 2BDM, ACMH for architecture, and the Constance Guisset Studio for exhibition design, took inspiration from the site of the Abbey. A public reception area would be developed in place of the current reception area, with the abbey on one side and the Modern Art Museum on the other.

The project extends over 1,726 m², in addition to 170 m² of external courtyard dedicated to the exhibition. The exhibition spaces alone represent 1,205 m², 455 m² of which is for the temporary exhibit.

A journey inside a collection

A private collection is the result of personal choices and strong commitment, which reveal the sensory world of its collectors. The soon-to-open museum established at Fontevraud to house the Martine and Léon Cligman donation will unveil to as many people as possible a universe of forms and an artistic imagination where all connections are possible.


The museography of the permanent collections will play on the juxtaposition of the collected pieces, from the perspective of cultural and formal dialogues between all forms of art, from a wide variety of sources (Antiquity, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and western art). The exhibition will highlight how these art lovers sought eclecticism, that intuitive quest that would lead them to identify fascinating connections between the works.

The Fannerie

Built in 1786, it is one of the most recent buildings from the monastic period. Marking the boundary of the northern part of the front courtyard, it is carefully positioned in line with the abbess’ quarters which face it and which you imagine to be completed by it. Along with the nave of the abbey church of Grand Moûtier, it is one of the Abbey of Fontevraud’s most impressive buildings.

At the end of the 18th century it was home to the Fontevraud mother abbesses’ stables. Before long it was used as a prison, starting from the beginning of the 19th century. The Fannerie (so called because it was intended for storing hay, among other things) would be modified and adapted, with a raised ground floor put in, all while maintaining its external size and original elegance.

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