Bruno Monnier, preserve and pass on our culture
Culturespaces was founded in 1990 by Bruno Monnier, its current chairman.
Bruno Monnier is a graduate of Sciences-Po Paris, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2) and HEC MBA, and is a history of art enthusiast. In 1986 he entered the Ministry of Culture as the project officer for modernising museum and monument management (the "Patrimoine 2000" commission), and reorganising the Palace of Versailles (the "Grand Versailles" project).
In 1988 he created Culturespaces, as a Havas consultancy and engineering department. Back then, Culturespaces provided consultancy for local authorities, private landowners and major state-owned public institutions to promote and manage their monuments and museums, participating in the regions' development of culture and tourism.
In 1990, Culturespaces became a subsidiary of Havas and the Suez Group, and signed its first contract to manage the Palais des Papes in Avignon, a contract which concluded in 2000.
In 1992, Culturespaces was entrusted with its first long-term franchise, to promote and wholly manage the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa, owned by the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
After that, Culturespaces was successively entrusted with:
- Château des Baux de Provence in 1993 by the Baux-de-Provence Council
- The Jacquemart-André Museum in 1996 by the Institut de France
- The Park and Château of Valençay in 1996 by the Château de Valençay joint association
- The National Car Museum – Schlumpf Collection in 1999 by the
National Car Museum management association
- The Greek Villa Kerylos in 2001 by the Institut de France
- The Roman Theatre of Orange and the Municipal Museum of Orange in 2002 by the City of Orange
- The Waterloo Battlefield in Belgium in 2004 by the Intercommunale 1815 and the Walloon region
- The Cité du Train in Mulhouse in 2004 by the Railway Museum Association
- The three Roman monuments in Nîmes (the Amphitheatre, the Maison Carrée and the Tour Magne) in 2005 by the City of Nîmes
- The Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence in 2012
In 2011, Culturespaces bought the Hôtel de Caumont from the City of Aix-en-Provence to turn it into a centre for art and culture based on the model of the Jacquemart-André Museum. It will open to the public in spring 2015.
Spirit of innovation
Driven by Bruno Monnier, Culturespaces has continually innovated in the way that it welcomes visitors, its use of new technologies, its exhibits, and its management and communication focused on culture.
In the establishments entrusted to Culturespaces, while conservation remains an essential element, the priority is therefore to be a service to the public, providing them with a high quality welcome and visit. Since 1992, the sites managed by Culturespaces have been the first to give unique benefits to visitors: open every day of the year, free audio-guide, activities for children, multimedia applications, restaurants and bookshops where visitors can relax at their leisure after their visit, rates suited to families, and much more.
In 2005, the sites came together to form a network where each one guarantees the same level of welcome and quality. Each site has the freedom to promote its own identity, while sharing common communication and management tools. Culturespaces produced the first historical 3D film, "Héros de Nîmes" (Heroes of Nîmes), to tell everyone the story of the city's history, from Antiquity to modern times.
In 2006, Culturespaces strengthened its policies in favour of young people and families: since then, activity booklets have been provided free of charge to every child visiting the sites, the number of educational workshops for schoolchildren have multiplied, and the "second child free" offer has been launched.
In 2008, Culturespaces chose to put on large-scale cultural events at each of the sites it manages. As a result of this, the exhibitions at the Jacquemart-André Museum took on a new dimension with "Van Dyck" (168,000 visitors), "The Italian Primitives" (150,000 visitors), "Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck" (240,000 visitors), "The family life of the Caillebotte brothers" (240,000 visitors) and "Fra Angelico" (260,000 visitors). Visitor numbers to the Jacquemart-André Museum reached 500,000 in 2011.
At other sites, Culturespaces has started running "living history" events. In 2008, Culturespaces was tasked with organising the annual reconstruction of the Battle of Waterloo (22,000 visitors), and also created the phenomenal "Assault on the château" at the Château des Baux de Provence (17,000 visitors) and the "Great Roman Games" at the Nîmes Amphitheatre (25,000 visitors).
In 2009, Bruno Monnier established the Culturespaces Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation du Patrimoine. Its mission: to make culture accessible to all children.
In 2012, in collaboration with the Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence, Culturespaces built the largest permanent multimedia installation in Europe, dedicated to art.
In that same year, Culturespaces received ISO 9001 quality standard certification.
Culturespaces now manages 13 monuments and museums which welcome more than 2 million visitors per year, 1 million of whom are tourists from abroad, with 200 employees, and continues to pursue its development in France and all over the world.