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The Museum of the Legion of Honor and the Orders of Chivalry

Set inside the Hôtel de Salm, on the parvis of the Musée d’Orsay, the Museum of the Legion of Honor and the Orders of Chivalry is graced with a privileged situation to show collections that are unique in the world. Interactive screens recount the history of French decorations since the Middle Ages and present the current functioning of national orders.

History

1911. A passionate collector and two members of the Grand Chancery organized an exhibition of French decorations and the Legion of Honor at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

The show’s success motivated the idea of creating a museum inside the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

1925. After Word War I, the project resurfaced. The former stables wing of the palace was transformed into a museum by the Grand Chancellor, General Dubail, who was eager to dedicate a sanctuary to the glory of French citizens and foreigners afflicted by the conflict.

Remodeling work led by architect Jean de la Morinerie, a native of Reims, was funded by a subscription open to recipients of the Legion of Honor and of the Military Medal, which was particularly successful in the Unites States.

1932. The museum was extended to accommodate foreign orders, which were gradually added to the collection over the years.

2006. On the occasion of the bicentenary of the Legion of Honor, the museum was entirely renovated thanks to sponsors. It was inaugurated by French President Jacques Chirac.

The exhibition space was doubled and the remodeled rooms retain the original charm of the interior architecture.

2016. After six months of renovation, the museum welcomes its visitors (public) with rooms that are enhanced by new works and rethought in a museography both solemn and pedagogical, placing at the heart of its itinerary the room of the Legion of Honor followed by the one of the Emperor as well as the room of the brothers. Interactive screens enable visitors to understand the current functioning of the Legion of Honor. They also provide a data list of all French citizens who were decorated with the Legion of Honor since 1950 – a premiere for the institution. The same digital device was designed for the National Order of Merit’s new room, created at the end of the itinerary and organized around the General de Gaulle’s plaster statue. The façade awnings facing the Musée d’Orsay’s esplanade invite to the visit in an elegant and ludic manner.