Guide Tour of Grevin Museum, Paris, France

The Musée Grévin is a wax museum in Paris located on the Grands Boulevards in the 9th arrondissement on the right bank of the Seine, at 10, Boulevard Montmartre, Paris, France. The Grévin Museum has no less than two hundred wax figures. The museum has a new look in 2019 with a complete renovation and an unprecedented transformation, new decorsa and more interactive course on 3000m2 space.

Inaugurated on June 5, 1882, at the time when the public showed a phenomenal enthusiasm for these ultra-realistic wax statues of the greats of this world. In 1900, the museum was enlarged with a theater combining wax statues, plays of light and mirrors. At the time, there were few photos of celebrities The wax statues were to be exact copies of the glories of the time. The caricaturist Alfred Grévin to sculpt the famous figures of current events.

The museum collection ranging from Albert Einstein to Mahatma Gandhi via Michael Jackson or Alfred Hitchcock. Many scenes from the History of France are reconstructed there, such as the captivity of Louis XVI in the Temple or Joan of Arc at the stake. In Philippe de Champaigne’s studio, Louis XIII poses in his glorious finery in the presence of the scholar Descartes, in the same history gallery, you can admire the engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps inaugurating the Suez Canal, etc..

At the Grévin Museum you can see scenes from the history of France such as the assassination of Marat during the French Revolution or a reconstruction of the Massacre of Saint Barthélémy on August 24, 1572. But it’s not just history of France which is honored in this museum.

Also part of the visit to the museum are the Grévin theater and the Palais des Mirages (attraction using the principle of optical illusion). The Salle de la Coupole and the Salle des Colonnes have very beautiful Baroque style. The Palais des Mirages, a hexagonal room topped with a rotunda where everything pivots, everything disappears into a ballet of cogs, lights and sound effects that transports you to India, the jungle, the Alhambra of Granada. Magic guaranteed by six rotating drums, eighteen perspectives, forty-five light effects and 2500 lamps.

The museum located in a Stunning architecture with a red and gold storefront which house a gem in itself. In the opulent interior, a sublime Italian-style theatre, whose high relief is signed Antoine Bourdelle. The hall of columns, with rosewood walls and marble and gold sculptures, amazes with its baroque style. A majestic marble staircase leads to the Palace of Mirages, an attraction based on optical illusions, originally shown at the 1900 World’s Fair.

Today, this palace of mirages still amazes young and old alike. Regularly, new wax personalities enter the Grévin museum. Every year, 4 French or international personalities enter the museum: on the program, writers, actors, sportsmen and personalities from the world of culture. Of course, political figures are also exposed. The musée Grévin also has locations in Montreal and Seoul.

The museum was founded in 1882 by Arthur Meyer, a journalist for Le Gaulois, on the model of Madame Tussauds founded in London in 1835 and named for its first artistic director, caricaturist Alfred Grévin. It is one of the oldest wax museums in Europe. Its baroque architecture includes a hall of mirrors based on the principle of a catoptric cistula

In 1881, Arthur Meyer, then director of the daily Le Gaulois, wanted his readers to be able to “put a face” on the personalities mentioned in his newspaper. At that time, photography had not yet become the norm in the press. Meyer then decided to reconnect with a principle that was more than a century old and turned to the sculptor, caricaturist and theater costume designer Alfred Grévin – who had produced caricatures for his newspaper – to ask him to create the sculptures of the personalities who make the news.

June 5, 1882, the Grévin museum opens its doors and the success is immediate. In 1883, it was Gabriel Thomas ‘s turn to take an interest in the project. He is a major financier behind the Société d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. It was he who set up the financial structures that allowed the museum to develop until 1999, when his great-grandson Bernard Thomas sold the Grévin museum to the Parc Astérix group, following a takeover bid. friendly. Gabriel Thomas also contributed a great deal to the development of the setting and decorations of the museum.

Onmarch 1886, Émile Voisin, merchant and manufacturer of magic devices, is in charge of preparing the first conjuring sessions in the future Cabinet Fantastique. December 29, 1886 the magician Carmelli is in charge of directing the Fantastic Cabinet.

April 27, 1887 the magician Dicksonn is accepted to assist Emile Voisin in the development of conjuring programs. In 1889 the direction deals directly with Carmelli and in 1892 the fantastic cabinet gives way to the Pantomimesluminaires of Emile Reynaud, thus the first public projection of a cartoon on the big screen Pauvre Pierrot, October 28, 1892. The Fantastical Cabinet presents magic acts to visitors to the museum every afternoon during their visit. Many famous magicians made their debut there, such as Georges Méliès, or in 1976, the Spanish magician and musician Garcimore or Gérard Majax.

At the turn of the 20th century, the museum presents historical scenes (Passion of Christ, French Revolution, Napoleon I and Josephine de Beauharnais), topical (the Tsar ‘s coronation) or artistic (Loïe Fuller, luminous pantomimes). In 1908, the Palais des Mirages was installed there.

In 1984, the theater that 15-year-old Véronique Berecz will direct, opens its doors in the evening to a daily program, one-man-show (Pierre Desproges, Yves Lecoq, Christophe Alévêque, Anne Roumanoff, Marc Jolivet, Laurent Ruquier, Tom Novembre, Chantal Ladesou …), classical concerts produced by Philippe Maillard (Jordi Savall or Philippe Jaroussky …), plays followed one another until the Asterix group, which became Grévin & C ie, stopped this theatrical programming activity on December 31, 2000.

The Grévin theater is listed in the additional inventory of historical monuments: the stage curtain is an original canvas by the painter and poster artist Jules Chéret; the high relief Les Nuées which is above the stage is the work of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. It is now part of the Grévin visitor trail and characters are represented there such as Charles Aznavour or Cecilia Bartoli. It can be rented from time to time, its gauge is 217 seats. All Grévin can be booked in the evening for one-off events that can accommodate 30 to 300 guests.

In 2018, a young American author, composer, interpreter and designer, Krysle Lip was in charge of the artistic and esthetical transformation of the Hall of Mirrors The hall of mirrors was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. It was originally housed in the Palais des mirages designed by Eugène Hénard.

The The Grevin Museum is one of the most beautiful wax museums in the world to the glory of our dear celebrities, get up close and personal with their favorite stars, and pose for pictures with more than 200 characters.

Since 1882 the Grévin museum has made and exhibited more than 2,000 wax figures. Wax figures and sets are regularly removed and replaced depending on current events. The oldest have been exhibited since 1889 (wax figures from the “Pictures of the French Revolution”, in particular the famous painting La Mort de Marat, which marked several generations of visitors) or, since 1900, (characters created for a destroyed decor.

In 2001 which represented with 50 characters “an evening at Malmaison” then meticulously reconstituted under the direction of the historian of Napoleon, Frédéric Masson). Some of the wax figures in paintings on the subject of the history of France, entitled “From Roland toRoncevaux à Napoléon III”, begun in 1939 and finished in 1960, like certain kings of France (the others date from the renovation of 2001), then a course on cinema in 1987 like Boris Karloff, Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock still remain.

Today the museum has more than 200 wax figures in showcase. The historic route, like the entire Grévin museum, was completely transformed and restored in 2001. Take a history lesson with the discovery of the Chauvet cave, cave paintings, In the basement of the Musée Grévin, a leap back in time of nearly 45,000 years.

The wax characters are the great figures who have crossed all eras. The Musée Grévin now contains some hunreds characters arranged in scenes from the history of France and modern life, including a panorama of French history from Charlemagne to Napoleon III and bloody scenes of the French Revolution, with the original wax figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessing their technical evolution.

Politicians, scientists, writers or artists, they have each written a page of our history. Vercingetorix, Julius Caesar, Louis XIV, General de Gaulle. Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Molière, General de Gaulle. Discover the office of our president Emmanuel Macron and a scene of the garden party at the Elysée Palace with Queen Elizabeth II, former president Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

By contrast, the more contemporaneous movie stars, athletes, and international figures such as Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Shah Rukh Khan, Pablo Picasso, Michael Jackson, Josephine Baker and Pope John Paul II use the modern techniques of modeling. The tableau of Charlotte Corday murdering Jean-Paul Marat created in 1889 includes the actual knife and bathtub used.

New wax characters are regularly added to the Museum among more than 2000 made since it opened. They include Zinedine Zidane, Jean Reno, Monica Bellucci, Jean Dujardin, Isabelle Adjani and Nolwenn Leroy. Bollywood celebrities whose wax has been added include Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Ranveer Singh.

Manufacture of characters
Several sculptors work permanently for the museum. The faces are modeled in clay or plastiline following an initial meeting with the personality during which numerous measurements, photos, videos and 3D images are taken. The bodies are also modeled in clay, the hands are molded from nature. More than 15 artists work on the creation of a character: sculptor, moulder, painters, implanter, costume designer, dental technician, eye prosthetist, props maker, decorative painter…

Léopold Bernstamm and Alexandre Barbiéri, a pupil of the sculptor Albert Chartier, were among the museum’s first official sculptors.

The Grévin Academy
In 2001, the Grévin Academy was created. Chaired by Stéphane Bern, it is composed, in 2017, of Daniela Lumbroso, Laurent Boyer, Gérard Holtz, William Leymergie, Christine Orban, Jacques Pessis, Henry-Jean Servat, Paul Wermus, Ève Ruggieri and Nikos Aliagas. The members of this academy meet twice a year to elect the personalities who to have their character in the museum.