Museum of the Cevenol Valleys

In this traditionally deeply protestant region, this hostile environment has had its effect on the local inhabitants : farmers here had to be tough, uncompromising, brave and with great willpower to overcome obstacles and difficulties if they were to survive. The Bible has always been their source of inspiration, strength and happiness.

Everyday life in the heart of the Cévennes

  • Old bridge in Saint-Jean-du-Gard © O.d'Haussonville

The museum of the Cevenol Valleys in Saint-Jean-du-Gard shows us the traditional everyday life of country people and craftsmen. First comes a general introduction which lays emphasis on the importance of the Reformation, then we are shown the material aspect of life in this area : carrying stones to build terraces, agricultural tools which were usually not mechanical, and then the study of water, which was both destructive in times of flooding and essential to life. You realize that to survive at all in this region, men fought a long bitter fight to harness the chaotic forces of nature.

Man has had to work hard in every aspect of life here – even the landscape shows signs of his efforts. You then discover how they farmed crops and bred animals : in their farms there were cereals, wine, honey, fruit, sheep and pigs. There is much information about chestnuts and silkworm breeding as well as spinning silk – in fact these were the two pillars of Cevenol culture : “the bread tree” (chestnuts) and “the gold tree” (silk).

Life inside the houses is shown by displaying furniture and domestic objects – we see how they organized their heating and lighting, their storing, preparing and eating of food, where they slept and how they cared for both body and soul. Indeed, there are archives in the bedroom belonging to a family in the Borgne valley which tell us all about their religious history, from the time when they were converted to Protestantism in 1560 until the “edict of Tolerance” in 1787. We see what it was like for them to practice their religion in secret, how pious they were and loyal to their new faith.

Saint-Jean-du-Gard is in the heart of a region which André Chamson called the “Cévenne of the Cévennes”. In this museum we are given a good idea of the history and activities of the area : there is information about agriculture, industry, arts and crafts, and also popular traditions.

Museum of the Cevenol Valleys
F-30270 Saint-Jean-du-Gard
Fax +33 (0) 4 66 85 13 61

Museum of the Cevenol Valleys


Itinerary to this location

Author: Museum of the Cevenol Valleys


  • Sites
    • Site du Musée des vallées cévenoles | Link

Associated notes

  • The Châtillon-Coligny Museum

    This museum is situated in the former local hospital and here you can find an exhibition on the Coligny family and the French Protestants in the XVIth century.
  • The French Protestant Museum of the West of France

    12 kilometers south-west of Pouzauges, in “Le Bois Tiffrais” (or Tiffray), in the commune of Monsireigne, the Société d’histoire du protestantisme français has set up a museum in a building...
  • Protestant Museum of the Dauphiné

    The protestant museum of the Dauphiné is situated in a XVth century building which became a temple two centuries later. Together with the temple of Collet de Dèze in Lozère,...
  • International Museum of the Reformation (Geneva)

    An interactive introduction to Protestantism from the XVIth to the XXIst century
  • Jean Calvin museum

    Noyon is one of the largest historical cities in the north of France, situated 100km north of Paris. From 531 onwards it was a bishop’s see, (the first bishop was...