First museum reopens in France with music and breakfast - at 6:00

A museum in the southwest welcomed visitors with early morning coffee and croissants, as the next stage of deconfinement began

19 May 2021
The publicity graphic by the museum to advertise its 06:00 opening. First museum reopens in France with music and breakfast - at 6:00

The museum was the first to reopen in France this morning, starting with music, coffee and crossants from 06:00 Pic: Le musée des Amériques / ameriques-auch.fr

By Hannah Thompson

Museums can reopen in France from today (May 19), and one museum in the southwest became the first to open with a bang – kicking off with piano music, coffee, and croissants from 06:00.

Le musée des Amériques in Auch in the Gers (Occitanie), was the first museum in the country to open this morning, after months of closure due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is home to the second-largest collection of pre-colonial art after the Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris.

To mark the occasion, the museum said that “gentle piano music” was played from 06:00, and that quick guided tours – respecting physical distancing rules – began from 07:00 (with reservations being taken on-site). The cafe terrace also reopened for coffee and croissants.

Museum curator, Fabien Ferrer-Joly, told FranceInfo: “We strongly wanted to open in a celebratory, unusual way. If we had opened later, we would have been competing with [restaurant and cafe] terraces, so we opted for the early morning.

"It’s good that Gers is [the department] to open the ball!”

Visitors appeared to have responded with a total of 116 attending between 06:00 and 07:00.

One early morning visitor said: “Everyone is missing going out. Seeing people, getting back out – it’s important. It’s a happy day; we are pleased to be here and to get up at a good hour!”

Beyond its early-morning opening, le musée des Amériques is a significant museum in its own right. 

Formerly named the ‘musée des Jacobins’, it reopened in 2019 after an extended closure for improvement and extension work.

It was the first museum in France to be awarded the label ‘pôle national de référence (national reference centre)’ by the Ministry of Culture, in recognition of the quality and importance of its artefacts and collections.

Cultural centres such as galleries, museums, theatres and cinemas are among the places permitted to reopen today – along with restaurant and cafe terraces – as part of the next stage of deconfinement. 

Physical distancing and hygiene methods must still be respected, and masks must be worn at all times. Museums can so far only open at reduced capacity, to allow for people to remain spaced apart.

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