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The Musée Saint-Raymond

Saint-Raymond is both a museum and an archaeological site, located in a former university college built in 1523. Its entrance, which is through a small garden, can be found just opposite the Basilica of Saint Sernin. The museum is at the far end, if you manage to wander through without being distracted by the peaceful benches or cute little café. When you go in, you’re faced with a choice: upstairs or down.

Right at the top, on the second floor, are objects dating from antiquity that have been found in Toulouse and its surrounding areas. These sites have shaped the region’s identity. Downstairs, on the first floor, numerous sculptures of heroes, famous figures and emperors look down on you. Dare to descend into the darkness of the basement and you’ll discover an entire archaeological site featuring part of the Saint Sernin graveyard and a lime kiln in amongst the tombs. Further on, there are sarcophagi and a gallery of epigraphs to round off your tour.

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Thinking it sounds a bit morbid? Not on your life! It’s really funky! To get visitors pumped up about antiquity, the Musée Saint-Raymond has really innovated and smashed the stereotype of the boring museum. For starters, the exhibitions include fun activities and make use of digital tools, from videos to 3D reconstructions of the collections, so that visitors can see the displays and the city’s history in a whole new light. And when it comes to guided tours, the museum team has pulled out all the stops. For just €6, you can go on a guided tour for fans of juicy gossip, and discover secrets and stories about the Roman politicians whose sculpted heads are on display in the museum. For an extra €3 on top of your entry fee, you can even sign up for the tour for people who don’t like museums. And the team have done a really good job on it!

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In terms of temporary exhibitions and events, the Musée Saint-Raymond is also breaking the mould by flipping between exhibitions of national interest (Greek rituals: a sensory experience has been running since 24 November) and the super hip Jardins Synthétiques arts exhibition. We’re also really looking forward to Valentine’s day for the Soirée Frisson event. But until then, the Musée Saint-Raymond still has plenty of surprises in store.

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