Museum of Protestantism in the Vivarais region

The Museum of Protestantism in the Vivarais can be found in a XVth century fortified building, built in the Boutières style typical of the Ardèche, and classified as a historical site. It is in a little hamlet called Bouschet de Pranles (on the D2 between Privas and Les Ollières-sur-Eyrieux, and signposted from the Moulin à vent pass.)

The birthplace of Pierre and Marie Durand

  • House of Marie Durand © C. Fougeirol

This is the birthplace of Pierre Durand (1700-1732) who restored reformed churches in the Vivarais and was hung in Montpellier because he disobeyed the king’s orders. His sister, Marie Durand, (1711-1776) was also born here; she was the famous prisoner in the Tower of Constance, where she resisted conversion to Catholicism for 38 years (1730-1768).

A group of other XVIIIth Vivarais Hugenots formed around the Durand family, bearing witness to their faith. They were rooted in Scripture, refused to change their religious convictions and so demonstrated their belief in the supreme authority of God, above kings and their subjects – and, moreover, that everyone had the right to have a personal relationship with Him. For them, this was the essence of human dignity. They opened the way to freedom of conscience, but in a context of submission because they wanted to ‘obey the king of France in every way except in matters which might prejudice their faith and their Church’.

An arched fireplace bears the inscription ‘Praise be to God’

One can get a good idea of the inhabitants’ faith and their hope in God from the documents kept in this house. Many show the difficult circumstances they had to endure. Among them, the royal edicts which restricted, and later forbade, any practice of the reformed religion, the signatures of both Pierre and Marie Durand, copies of their letters, the marriage register for Pierre Durand and a photocopy of the register of the Acts of ‘Desert’ Synods ().There are 12 water colours depicting the different uniforms of royal troops. There is also a chart showing the history of religious freedom in the Vivarais from the time of Henry IV to the Revolution in 1789. Some objects typifying country life of the past recreate atmosphere in this ancient dwelling.

Traditionally, on the last Sunday of June there is a gathering outside the house when a speaker talks about a subject of historic interest or a notable personality in French Protestantism.

Musée du Vivarais protestant
Maison Pierre et Marie Durand
555 chemin du Bouschet
F-07000 Le Bouschet de Pranles
Tel. +33 (0) 4 75 64 22 74
Contact : museevivarais@orange.fr

Museum of Protestantism in the Vivarais region

Bouschet de Pranle

Itinerary to this location

Author: Musée du Vivarais protestant

Bibliography

  • Sites
    • Site du Musée du Vivarais protestant | Link

Associated notes

Random notes