Get a first look at the Franciscaines de Deauville

After months of suspense, the curtain rises this month on one of the most eagerly awaited projects of the moment: the Franciscaines Deauville. It's an unusual name for an unusual cultural venue, designed to share knowledge in all its artistic forms. The address? The former convent of the Franciscan nuns, restored to its former role as a place of education and exchange. Take a guided tour!

At the entrance, the high, modern 15-metre portal with its large digital screen sets the tone: the Franciscan convent is now a place open to all and to all artistic media, including new technologies! The project's architect and scenographer, Alain Moatti, who is also responsible for the rebirth of the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris, has redesigned the convent as a real living space where collections (books, paintings, sculptures, photographs, digital tools, concerts and shows) are finally brought together to multiply experiences.

Free roaming

There's no fixed itinerary here. It's up to you to wander freely between the glass-roofed cloister, which has been transformed into a foyer for performances and a reading room, the chapel, which has been turned into an auditorium, the permanent and temporary exhibition halls and the galleries, where the "ribbons of knowledge" run, shelves containing all kinds of knowledge.

Here you can pick up a book, browse through the photographs or paintings adorning the walls, take a digital stroll through the large gallery equipped with eight terminals and 10 screens, or use the tablets to access works from major French museums.

The spirit of Deauville in five universes

In keeping with the spirit of Deauville and its rich calendar of events, from the American Film Festival to horse racing, the collections are organized around five universes: cinema and entertainment, art of living, horses, Deauville's memory and youth.

Between leafing through a treatise on hippology in the cosy atmosphere of the stables and watching a film (160 of which were shot in Deauville) in a niche that has been converted into a private screening room, you can discover the André Hambourg collection, which was donated to the museum: more than 4,000 works, including 539 paintings by this marine painter, as well as works by Derain, Foujita and Eugène Boudin.

Throughout the year, the Galerie des Maîtres also offers exceptional exhibitions of major works based on regular themes. The first: the world of colour in the 20th century, with the blues of Yves Klein, the blacks of Pierre Soulages and the caleioscopic works of Sonia Delaunay.

For the opening, the Cour d'expositions temporaires, laid out like a contemporary cloister, immediately places the Franciscaines under the sign of cultural encounters with an exhibition entitled "Sur les chemins du Paradis": nearly a hundred works, from the Garden of Eden as seen by the Nabi painter Maurice Denis to the contemporary visions of the plastic duo Pierre & Gilles or the videographer Bill Viola.

Getting to the Franciscaines de Deauville in Normandy