Le Grand Atelier, Musée d'art et d'industrie

Historique du musée

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Historique du musée

Le Musée Auto Moto Vélo (Automobile, Motorcycle & Bike Museum) is located in the former Châtellerault arms factory founded by Louis XVIII on the 14th July 1819. Initially used to manufacture bayonets, it was decided to also make firearms there in the 1830’s. For nearly 150 years, the factory (commonly known as “The Manu”) manufactured sabres, swords and foils as well as the still famous Chassepot, Gras or Lebel rifles. The factory closed its doors in 1968.

In 1969, as the factory is threatened to become a brownfield site right in the heart of the city, Count Bernard de Lassée, an automobile enthusiast who represents the F.I.V.A. (International Federation of Vintage Automobiles) in France decides to use the old factory workshops to house its collection and open it to the public. The Car and Technology Museum was born.

After Bernard de Lassée passed away in 1991, the city of Châtellerault decided to purchase a large part of the collection and display its items during temporary exhibits until 1998. Consequently, the museum became public. In 1998, after a several-year major renovation project, the museum became Le Musée Auto Moto Vélo (Automobile, Motorcycle & Bike Museum).

The collections cover an extensive period from the creation of the first cycle, bike and automobile up to the latest electric vehicles. Today they include cars, cycles and motorcycles as well as various parts and accessories as well as posters, archives and documentation.

Today the museum occupies a 3,000 sq meter exhibition space and is more than just a car line-up. Visitors have the opportunity to see how, in just over a century, cars, bikes and bicycles have redefined our relationship to time and space and changed our environment and our landscape and that is what makes it different from other car museums. The collection is displayed in an educational and entertaining way.

 


 

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