With 50,000 visitors, the Paladru Lake Archaeological Museum breaks attendance records

One year after its opening, the Lake Paladru Archaeological Museum far exceeds the planned attendance targets. This summer 2023, the treasures of the Knights of the Year 1000 attract the public more than ever.

20,000 was the number of visitors museum officials hoped to attract when the Lake Paladru Archaeological Museum (MALP) opened in June 2022. Built on a a vast protected marsh at the western end of Lake Paladru, the museum houses 600 objects discovered on the remains of Neolithic and post-Christian villages buried beneath the lake’s waters. A year later attendance turns out to be much more important than expected. Residents or tourists, childrenwith , everyone seems to be pleasantly surprised places and the quality of scenography.

The success of Paladru Lake Museum

A year after its opening, the archeological museum exceeds its attendance targets with 50,000 entries since last summer – (France 3 Alpes M. Chambrial / E. Gavinet / M. Ducret)Cult scene

Very popular with tourists in the summer, Lake Paladru gained national notoriety in 1997 thanks to the famous scene between Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri in the Alain Resnais film We know the song where it is a thesis on “Peasant Knights of the Year 1000 at Lake Paladru”. The following year, both actors came to visit the place and finally discovered this place steeped in history.

At that time, the Lake Paladru Archaeological Museum (MALP) did not yet exist. The project, whose idea was born in 1988, is still being worked on. Excavations have already begun. They started in 1972 and ended in 2009.

Centuries of history have been preserved under these clear waters, very popular with tourists.  (ROMAIN DOUCELIN/SIPA/SIPA)

Saved by the waters

It was at the very beginning of the 20th century that the Neolithic site of Les Baigneurs and the medieval site of Colletière were clearly identified and dated. Underwater excavations bring to the surface hundreds of objects and structures submerged for centuries under the water of the lake. Discoveries that are exceptional. Indeed, in a dry environment, ititems made from organic materials, of wood, bone or leather, would disappear. ButTemporal fluctuations of the water level made it possible to preserve them.

600 objects are on display, but this is only a small part of what was discovered during the underwater excavations.  (France 3 Grenoble)

Maintain at all costs

New techniques had to be deployed in order to display them to the public, as the objects threatened to deflate very quickly after being pulled from the water. In the 1970s, a conservation technique was developed with Central Commission for Nuclear Energy (CEA) Grenoble and the creation of a laboratory Arc-Nucléart. Ongoing cooperation with MALP was established with the aim of verifying that the exhibition conditions in the windows are optimal. Eclimatic environment, hygrometer, temperature… All these data must be stabilized as much as possible.

Lake Paladru Archaeological Museum (France 3 Grenoble)

For a long time these objects were kept in the Musée Dauphinois in Grenoble and in a dedicated place above Charavines town hall south of the lake. However, an environment was needed to give full scope to the thousand-year-old objects that preserved the waves. Based on the traffic, the gamble of the creators of MALP appears to have been successful. Enough to make Jean-Pierre Bacri’s answer obsolete: “But… are there people who care?”.

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