Things to do in Avignon – Visit the Musée Calvet

rating icon 4

Avignon Icon

Established in 1811 by imperial decree (of Napoleon Bonaparte) at the bequest of local physician and collector Esprit Calvet – who bequeathed his private collection of art and antiquities to the city of Avignon – the Musée Calvet is a museum worth visiting.  

Housed in the stately hôtel Villeneuve-Martignan, former residence of Joseph-Ignace de Villeneuve-Martignan (notice his coat of arms in the courtyard), the museum’s unique and diverse collection consists of cultural artifacts, Decorative Arts, and works of Fine Art.  Artists represented in the collection include: Edouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Chaïm Soutine, Louis-Michel Van Loo, Giorgio Vasari, and Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun (her work can also be seen in the collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art).

Courtyard Musee Calvet Avignon France

Enter the museum through the courtyard, which serves at times as a sculpture garden – where you’ll pass through the 19th century gilded wrought-iron gate emblazoned with the Avignon Coat of Arms.

Sculpture Gallery Musee Calvet Avignon France

Inside, you’re free to wander through the various rooms, some of which are decorated with marble floors and walls, ornate plasterwork, and glittering chandeliers. 

Among the paintings and other artwork, objets d’art, and ancient artifacts on display, you’ll see:

Adoration of the Magi After Hieronymus Bosch Musee Calvet Avignon France

Adoration of the Magi – after Hieronymus Bosch, 17th century;

Decheance by Chaim Soutine Musee Calvet Avignon France

DéchéanceChaïm Soutine, ca. 1920;

 Procession of Peasant Wedding Jan Bruegel Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Procession of a Peasant Wedding – after Jan Bruegel the Elder, 17th century;

Village Fair with Theater and Procession by Pieter Bruegel Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Village Fair with theater and a procession – Pieter Bruegel the Younger;

View of the Old Port Marseille by Mathieu Verdilhan Musee Calvet Avignon France

View of the Old Port in Marseille – Mathieu Verdilhan;

Still Life with Guitar and Hat by Edouard Manet Musee Calvet Avignon France

Nature morte-Guitare et Chapeau (Still Life-Guitar and Hat) – Edouard Manet, 1862;

Fresh Morning by Joseph Vernet Musee Calvet Avignon France

Fraîche Matinée, Partie de Plaisir (Fresh Morning, Pleasure Party) – Joseph Vernet, 18th century;

Studying the Effects of the Storm by Horace Vernet Musee Calvet Avignon France

Joseph Vernet tied to a Mast studying the Effects of the Storm – Horace Vernet, 1822;


The Lute Lesson Interrupted by Michiel van Musscher Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Lute Lesson Interrupted – Michiel van Musscher, 1702;

Sur le Zinc by Maurice de Vlaminck Musee Calvet Avignon France

Sur le zinc – Maurice de Vlaminck, 1900;

Portrait of Mademoiselle Belleudy by Montagne Musee Calvet Avignon France

Portrait of Mademoiselle Belleudy – Louis Agricol Montagné, 1913;

The Artists Mother by Desvallieres Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Artist’s Mother – George Desvallieres, 1903; 

The Church of Saint Gervais by Dufy Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Church of Saint-Gervais in Paris – Raoul Dufy, 1904;

 Archangel Gabriel Appears to Zachary by Levieux Musee Calvet Avignon France

Archangel Gabriel appears to Zachary – Reynaud Levieux, 1663;

Virgin and Saint Simon Stock by Nicolas Mignard Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Virgin giving the scapular to Saint Simon Stock – Nicolas Mignard, 1644;

Young Woman Reading a Letter by Jean Raoux Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Reader – Jean Raoux, ca. 1716-1728;

Silence or Woman Holding Curtain by Raoux Musee Calvet Avignon France

Indiscreet or Silence –  Jean Raoux, 1728;

Apollo and Cyparissus by Dubufe Musee Calvet Avignon France

Apollo and Cyparissus – Claude-Marie Dubufe, 1821;

Don Juan and Haydee by Alfred Roll Musee Calvet Avignon France

Don Juan and Haydée – Alfred Roll.

Sculptural works include:

The Lamentation of Christ Musee Calvet Avignon France

The Lamentation of Christ – unknown, ca. 1845;

Greek Woman of Eleusis by Henri Broise Musee Calvet Avignon France

A marble and ivory bust of a Greek Woman of Eleusis by Henri Broise;

Samson Fighting Lion by Jacques Bernus Musee Calvet Avignon France

Samson fighting with the lion by Jacques Bernus;

Statue of Saint Longin Musee Calvet Avignon France

18th-century statue of Saint Longin; 

Bas Relief of Sainte Helene by Mino da Fiesole Musee Calvet Avignon France

A 15th-century bas relief of Sainte Helene by Mino da Fiesole.

Objets d’art and ethnological artifacts include:

Sarcophagus Musee Calvet Avignon France

Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi;

Inscribed Stele Musee Calvet Avignon France

Inscribed commemorative stones or steles;

Glazed Ouchebtis Statuettes Musee Calvet Avignon France

A collection of 21st-Dynasty glazed Ouchebtis funerary statuettes;

Mummified Cat and Crocodile Musee Calvet Avignon France

Mummified cats and crocodiles;

Clay Oil Lamp Musee Calvet Avignon France

Clay oil lamp from the 1st century A.D.;

Glassware Musee Calvet Avignon France

Glassware such as urns, vases, and balsamaires some from the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. discovered in nearby Vaison-la-Romaine;

Ebony Cabinet with Paintings by Frans Francken Musee Calvet Avignon France

17th-century Ebony Cabinet with Painted Panels by Frans Francken the Younger;

Celestial Globe Musee Calvet Avignon France

and 16th-17th century Celestial and Terrestrial Globes by Dutch cartographer Willem Janszoon Blaeu

In addition to the permanent exhibition, Musée Calvet hosts temporary exhibits and displays works on loan from other museums.  We were fortunate to see several such pieces, including:

Trailers Camp of Gypsies around Arles Van Gogh

The trailers, camp of gypsies around ArlesVincent van Gogh, 1888.

Getting there:

Musée Calvet is located at 65, rue Joseph Vernet

Ticket info: 

Adult Admission = 6.00€

Avignon Icon

South of France icon

Other destination icon


Review Date
Reviewed Item
Musée Calvet
Author Rating

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked:*


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.