Updated on 14 June 2021
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Just five minutes from Deauville beach, Les Franciscaines is situated in a former convent. This brand new cultural centre provides visitors with a immersive, multi-disciplinary experience.
As its name suggests, Les Franciscaines was once home to the Franciscan order, and was originally built as a convent in 1876, before being used as an orphanage, a school and a hospital over the years. It was sold to the town of Deauville in 2012. Architect Alain Moatti wanted to respect the history of the building while introducing a decidedly contemporary feel. Old stone blends with modern touches like the Haut-Portail doorway, fitted with a large digital screen to welcome visitors when they arrive.
deDiCated to Deauville
The new cultural centre has since been entirely restored to house a museum, auditorium and media library, arranged across five zones, including one for children, all thematically linked to Deauville and its history. The museum also exhibits works by André Hambourg (1909-1999), who donated over 500 paintings to the town, works by Louis Romanet, and other contemporary pieces.
The inaugural exhibition, On the roads to paradise, is on display now.
Photography takes centre stage
Alongside paintings, photography takes centre stage at Les Franciscaines. Thanks to Deauville’s annual photography festival Planche(s) contact, images by photographers such as Philippe Ramette, Sarah Moon and Keihin Shinoyama are displayed here for the public to enjoy. Other photographs by Robert Capa and Robert Doisneau will be added to the collection in the coming years. Les Franciscaines will welcome around a dozen residence artists throughout the year to display their work on a regular basis. Visitors to the cultural centre will also be able to acquaint themselves with all the latest photography gadgets in the Fab Lab, a digital space equipped with a 3D printer and various computerised tools.
Total immersion of the senses
The magnificent restored atrium of Les Franciscaines acts as the main hub of the cultural centre, where people can meet and enjoy the space together. Interactive information points allow visitors to create their own bespoke digital exhibition, which will then be projected onto screens in the main gallery. Guided tours are run by Les Franciscaines staff and the Deauville Tourist Office.
And to top it all off, the cultural centre also houses a trendy cafeteria and shop specialising in art books and local products.