Salle d’Honneur du château. ©Association des Amis du Musée de l’Empéri
The Military Art and History Museum located on the grounds of the château of Empéri is one of the largest military museums in the world. The collections housed in the museum were complied at the turn of the XX century by Raoul and Jean Brunon, two brothers from Marseilles . The collections retrace the history of the French army from the beginning of the XVIII century to World War I.
In 1967, the French government acquired the collections of Raoul et Jean Brunon through an intermediary of the Military Museum of Paris.
The collection were transferred to Salon-de-Provence, where they were used to build a municipal museum before being moved to the château of Empéri, which dominates the city centre.
The entrance to the museum is in the ancient chapel that leads to the reception hall of the château.
The collections occupy around 30 of the rooms currently renovated.
The various pieces are displayed in 160 vitrines or hung on walls or ceilings.
The collections of the museum contain 10,000 authentic objects :
personal firearms and slashers, cannons, headgear, uniform helmets, flags and emblems, decorations, equipment, trappings, personal items, reduced-scale models, etc.
The scenography draws a distintion between seven periods: The Ancien Regime, the First Republic, Empire,
the Restoration, the African Army, the Second Empire and World War I.
The finial of the museum consists of halls from the Napoleonic period. The most impressive visual elements are the 130 mannequins, around 15 of which are on horseback.
Their faces have been crafted by Raoul Brunon using illustrations pf famous military figures.
♦ The entrance hall has an armaments and armour collection dating back to the XIV and XVII centuries, as well
as the history of the château. ♦ One hall is dedicated to the history of the Brunon collection : images of Epinal, uniforms and childrens' toys, etc. ♦ Another piece demonstrates the development of uniforms since the reign of Louis XIV. ♦ Two halls dedicated to the training of the French army from the reign of Louis XIV to the Revolution.
♦ Four halls on the army of the First Republic. ♦ There is an exhibit on the First Empire that takes in five halls: Campaigns, marshalls, the Legion of Honour, exile. ♦ The exhibit on the army of the Second Republic takes up
two halls. ♦ Six halls are dedicated to an exhibition on the Second Empire, from Magenta to Sedan, through the Crimean War. ♦ French and German armies echo in the part of the museum dedicated to World War I, from the Champagne fronts to the Chemin des Dames and Taxis de la Marne to victory. This collection was originally brought together by Jean Brunon in memory of his brother, who died at the front. ♦ Firearms and their history since Louis XIII are displayed in the display cabinets in two halls that can be accessed from the entrance hall. ♦ Two other rooms, accessible from the main hall. The first room is reserved for temporary exhibits.
The second, created using collections 14-18 and objects from the Ecole de l'Air, gives an insight into the history of military aeronautics. The collection begins with the period 1970-1980
This library is the second-largest store of military archives in France, after that of the history service of the department of defence. It has 24 000 volumes, 20 000 periodicals, 15 000 paintings, cartoons, etchings, autographs, official and personal documents, photographs, 5 000 maps, designs, letters and ship monographs.
Château de l'Empéri
Montée du Puech - 13300 Salon-de-Provence
Tel. : 04.90.56.22.36 - Fax : 04.90.56.90.84
October 1 to April 15: open daily except Mondays from 13h30 to 18h
From 16 April to 30 September: open every day except Mondays from 9.30am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm.
The museum gift shop is located in the entrance hall
Château de l'Empéri 13300
04 90 44 72 80
Plein tarif : 4,80 € Tarif réduit : 3,10 € Forfait 2 musées sur 3 au choix : tarif normal : 7,30 €, tarif réduit : 5.30 € Gratuit : - de 25 ans, demandeurs d'emploi, enseignants en mission professionnelle
Du 1er octobre au 15 avril : 13h30 - 18h Du 16 avril au 30 septembre : 9h30 - 12h et de 14h - 18h
Fermé le lundi