Our selection of six exhibitions about Ancient Egypt

Champollion. The path of hieroglyphs

How was Egyptology born? The Musée du Louvre-Lens is responding wonderfully to this major exhibition. It displays 350 exhibits and documents, half of which come from the Paris museum, or rather from the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, created by Jean-François Champollion himself in 1826. Obelisks, recumbent lions and images of Isis, preserved or copied by the Romans, confirm the antiquity of the civilization’s fascination with the pyramids.

The portraits recall the context of research conducted by scholars, including Pope Leo XII, who was concerned about the risk of disproving biblical chronology, and the viceroy of Egypt, who supported excavations in his territory.

Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832), painted by Leon Cogniet (1794-1880).


A huge chapter devoted to hieroglyphs describes the principles of this sacred writing with the help of numerous papyri and engraved stelae of extraordinary beauty. It also houses a facsimile of the famous Rosetta Stone and the famous hunched scribe a 4,600-year-old statue with a magnetic gaze.

Among the exhibits that Champollion chose to display, we find a chair with surprisingly modern lion legs, incised gold ornaments and a black diorite sarcophagus lid decorated with a delicate half-relief of the goddess Nut, an object that the scholar particularly admired. This rich and clear journey concludes with a sensitive tribute to the first Egyptologist who offered humanity the key to understanding 3,600 years of its history. NG

At the Louvre-Lance (62) until January 16, 2023.

Mummies, preserved bodies, eternal bodies

Starting with Egyptian mummies, the exhibition expands on the technique of preserving human and animal bodies, as well as on people’s relationship with death.

Thus, the route presents Peruvian funeral rites, an Egyptian hand filled with bitumen, a mammoth leg… and makes a detour through Jurassic Park and the desire to reanimate dinosaurs! On this occasion, three mummies from the collections of the Toulouse Museum were restored and examined. CDM

At the Toulouse Museum (31), from October 22, 2022 to July 2, 2023.

Tutankhamun, discovering the forgotten pharaoh

On November 26, 1922, the British archaeologist Howard Carter, after five years of excavations, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. La Sucrière de Lyon offers to observe the tomb as it was found. On this occasion, more than 200 objects from the workshops of the Cairo Museum are presented. In addition to the archaeological expedition, this exhibition delves into everyday life 3,300 years ago. The opportunity to discover funeral cults or rites at the pharaoh’s court. CDM

At Sucrière de Lyon (69) until April 24, 2023.

Ramses and the gold of the pharaohs

La Villette is once again hosting an exhibition on Ancient Egypt. After Tutankhamun, in 2019 it was the turn of Ramses to settle under the Great Hall. In addition to the history of his reign, this exhibition presents an exceptional collection of gold pieces created by Egyptian artisans. Among the more than 150 items from the period are an 18th Dynasty ring depicting Queen Nefertiti or a necklace of gold and rough pearls dating to 1550 BC. AD CDM

At the Grande Halle de La Villette from April 6 to September 24, 2023.

In search of forgotten hieroglyphs

Papyrus Iseture, dated to the end of the Ptolemaic era (1st century BC).


The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon is dedicating an exhibition to the relationship between Jean-Francois Champollion and the first director of the city’s museum, François Artaud (1767-1838). An archaeologist by profession, he participated in the enrichment of Lyon’s collections, bringing Egyptian antiquities, helping the Champollion brothers in their research.

Through correspondence between the two friends and 145 artifacts (statues, papyri, ceilings, etc.), this journey tells the story of how Egyptology was born, starting with Bonaparte’s expedition. SB

At the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon (69), until December 31, 2022.

A dream about Egypt

Thoth in the form of an Ibis (656-332 BC), in bronze, belonged to Rodin.


“Antiquity is my youth itself”, wrote Auguste Rodin. We knew about the sculptor’s interest in the Greco-Latin canons, but did we suspect his passion for the Egypt of the pharaohs and his erudition on the subject? In his studio in Meudon, Rodin amassed some 800 objects — antique, fine and symbolic sculptures — that are now displayed on the website of his Paris museum.

Gods and goddesses such as Bes, Athor, Isis, kings and queens, temple walls, funerary masks, parts of sarcophagi or fragments of coffins, carved scarabs, reliquaries and ex-votos depicting the falcon of Horus or Thoth in the form of “Ibis… These treasures, which fueled his inspiration, give a foretaste of the exhibition in the Rodin museum. THEN

At the Rodin Museum until March 5, 2023.

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