Soleilho Champollion Museum - the writings of the worldPaul N. Dubuisson (31)
©Paul N. Dubuisson (31)|Paul-N. Dubsuisson
The writingmemory of men

Champollion and the Scriptures of the world

Housed in part of the birthplace of Jean-François Champollion, the famous decipherer of hieroglyphs, the musée Champollion – Les Écritures du Monde pays homage to the man, to his work and tells us the fascinating history of writing. Behind the “Facade of a Thousand Letters” made of copper plates, a superb work by Pierre Di Sciullo, more than 600 works invite us on a journey through cultures from all over the world: from Mexico to China, through Egypt and the Near East. A long history of 5300 years, from the first clay tablets until the digital age.


and his passion for Egypt

The visit begins on the first floor, in the room dedicated to Champollion. We are here in his native house, at the foot of the fireplace he knew and which is still present in the room.

Around a copy of the Rosetta Stone, the collections evoke, on the one hand, the stages of his long work of decoding, a research that lasted 15 years, and, on the other, his passion for Egypt. Exhibits such as statuettes of gods, sarcophagi, funerary rituals, a man’s mummy with linen strips and painted cartonnage dating from the Ptolemaic era, take us to the land of the pharaohs. Scanned and reconstructed in 3 dimensions, a video of this mummy allows us to visualize the deceased, navigate inside his body, and understand one of the most important funerary practices for the ancient Egyptians.

We accompany the researcher on his journey to Egypt on the River of the Nile, the fulfillment of his life.

The birth of writing

in the world

On the first floor, in homage to the polyglot whose knowledge of some fifteen languages and scripts enabled him to decipher the hieroglyphs, we look at the naissance of writing in four places: cuneiform in Mesopotamia, hieroglyphs in Egypt, Chinese writing,maya writing composed of glyphs. Inscriptions on stone, clay, papyrus or paper take us on a journey to ancient civilizations.

This room reveals a pictographic clay tablet of Sumerian origin, from Mesopotamia, engraved around 3200 BCE and bearing the earliest incised traces of a language representation.

Also discovered is a cast of the Code of Hammurabi, a masterpiece from the Louvre, which is the first law code inscribed in stone.

The revolution


The history of writing continues with the invention of alphabets in the Mediterranean: the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Latin. The alphabet is a real revolution: it makes learning and teaching writing easier and faster by reducing the number of signs.

Screenshot 2023 03 15 At 14 21 18 Bible Enluminée Musées OccitanieIlluminated Bible Champollion Museum
©Illuminated Bible Champollion Museum

One of the most precious objects in this room is an illuminated Bible from Paris dating from 1230, with about a hundred ornate letters or figurative scenes.

Collection of the Champollion Museum

The book

From copyists to printers

This room is devoted to the book, from its invention with the first manuscripts, the parchment, and the copyist monks to the digital age. The book has undergone many changes with the arrival of paper in Europe, the modification of its formats, italics and then the rapid rise of the printing industry. This history is illustrated by the presence and gesture of the actors of the written word, from the medieval scribe to the computer scientist of the 21st century.

One of the most precious objects in this room is a 13th-century illuminated Bible from Paris, from the store of Maître Alexandre.


Writing, power and the citizen

The last room allows us to question the links that unite writing, power and citizens and the uses that societies make of writing. Acts of power, administrative forms, newspapers, grievances, and intimate manuscripts show that writing can be both a tool of control for the authorities and a means for each individual to inform himself, express himself, protest, create…

A matrix of the seal of the city of Figeac illustrates this theme. It dates from 1302 and makes the seal of Figeac one of the oldest in France.

To close the tour, a multimedia lounge invites us to deepen the visit through videos, websites. There is an unpublished document on the reconstruction of the mummy in 3 dimensions.

Bonus: on the top floor, enjoy the terrace, in front of the facade with a thousand letters, with a privileged view of the Place Champollion.

The ear on the alert