1876 – 1881: An early vocation discovered and encouraged by Alfred Boucher

It is in Nogent-sur-Seine that young Camille first becomes fascinated in modelling and receives her first lessons by the sculptor Alfred Boucher, moved by her precocious talent. This encounter would prove decisive for her future.   

Installation in Nogent-sur-Seine

In the autumn of 1876, Louis-Prosper Claudel is promoted to registrar of mortgages in Nogent-sur-Seine. The couple and their three children move for three years to a fine townhouse dating from the 18th century, today extending out like a prow at the museum entrance.   

Camille, Louise and Paul are aged 12, 10 and 8, respectively. Their education is entrusted to a private tutor, Monsieur Colin, who would manage to provide them with a solid formal education.

“Between grammar, arithmetic or history lessons, this studio [the family house] is the centre of general activity. With the help of her younger sister and her young brother, […] Mademoiselle Claudel reigns sovereign. Under her direction, and while she feverishly twists her lumps, one person beats the clay for modelling, a second mixes the plaster, a third poses as a model…” (...)“At this time, she has yet to take a single drawing or modelling lesson. Her only concept of the naked body is that provided by her écorché, and a few engravings from old books. No matter, with a wonderful enterprising spirit, she creates naked forms that seem most credible to her […] Everything she reads inspires sculptural motifs.” 

(Mathias Morhardt, « Mademoiselle Camille Claudel », in Mercure de France, Paris, 1898).  

It is in Nogent that she models her first earthen figurines: David and Goliath, Bismarck and Napoleon (lost works).

Decisive encounter with Alfred Boucher

At the age of twelve, Camille Claudel demonstrates a remarkable gift for sculpture. Her father, troubled by this vocation evident at such an early age, seeks the advice – most likely through his children’s tutor – of the sculptor Alfred Boucher, who regularly visits his parents still residing in Nogent-sur-Seine. Alfred Boucher is the first to detect her talents, teaching her the rudiments of sculpture and lavishing her with advice. Just recently awarded second prize in sculpture for the Prix de Rome bursary in 1876, Boucher’s judgement carries great weight with Louis-Prosper Claudel. This meeting would prove decisive for the future of the young girl fiercely determined to become a sculptor. 

Eugénie Plé, the Claudels’ old servant, remembers  :

“Alfred Boucher advising Camille […] to move to the capital"

(Yves Lacasse, Claudel : les œuvres de jeunesse, in the catalogue for the exhibition Claudel – Rodin, p. 22).

But the young girl’s vocation brings her parents into conflict: a female sculptor is a challenging concept in this late 19th century, when a woman must choose between either marriage or a career resulting in solitude and a renunciation of her sexuality.


1864 – 1876: Early childhood in a provincial middle-class family

The Claudel siblings grew up in an insular family, in an atmosphere of constant squabbling, between an abrupt yet loving father attentive to the education of his children and a mother focused on day-to-day concerns and needy of affection.

Fère-en-Tardenois and Bar-le-Duc

Camille Claudel is born on 8 December 1864 in Fère-en-Tardenois (in the Aisne department), where her father, Louis-Prosper Claudel, is a collector of registry fees. He had married Louise-Athanaïse Cervaux in 1862. Camille is the eldest of three children. Her sister Louise is born on 2 February 1866, also in Fère-en-Tardenois, and her brother Paul is born on 6 August 1868 in Villeneuve-sur-Fère, in the presbytery where the family is welcomed in 1866 by the priest, Madame Claudel’s uncle.

In 1870, Louis Prosper Claudel is transferred to Bar-le-Duc (in the Meuse department).There, Camille is instructed by the Sisters of the Christian Doctrine.

Holidays at Villeneuve-sur-Fère

Villeneuve-sur-Fère would remain an important anchoring point for all three children. Camille and Paul would never forget their escapades among the stream of rocks sculpted by the elements, in the very heart of the forest, at the place known as “Le Géyn”.

Every year, they would also spend a few weeks with Louis-Prosper Claudel’s family in the Vosges, on the shore of Lake Gérardmer.

Camille and Paul

The Claudel children are raised within a closed, tense family circle. According to his son, Louis-Prosper Claudel is hard and severe, but honest and devoted to his family. Madame Claudel is occupied all day long with the household chores. “Never a moment to think about herself, nor very much about others", "She never kissed us".  The family’s values are work, effort, economy, honesty and a sense of duty. Over the years, Camille and Paul have built up an intense relationship that would last all their lives. They support and encourage one another, becoming very close.



The building

The building

The museum’s major objective is to present the oeuvre of Camille Claudel, with the museum – located in the historic heart of the town of Nogent-sur-Seine – housing the greatest collection ever assembled of this great artist’s works.

A museum-island

In this pre-existing context, our intention was to articulate the preserved edifices with new volumes. This architectural grouping forms an urban island in the heart of town, composing a series of exhibition spaces.

Views are afforded between the exhibition area and the streets bordering the museum, allowing for a conjugation of the site's memory and past with its new functionality.  

From an architectural point of view, the museum’s volumes are in harmony with the neighbouring houses and surrounding landscape. Indeed, sitting atop a hillock of the historic town centre, the museum acts as a landmark, alongside the church, the large mills and the power plant that together form the urban silhouette of Nogent-sur-Seine.  



Brick represents the principal building material for the museum.

While the surrounding constructions utilize bricks in a more decorative manner, this material entirely covers the museum’s facades, making the edifice both stand out and blend into its setting.

Comprised of clay, the bricks are related by their plastic nature to the work of the sculptor, who transforms raw matter with his or her hands. For this reason, bricks manufactured according to artisanal methods have been favoured.  


Presenting the artist’s oeuvre 

Offering an architectural arrangement to best present the oeuvre of Camille Claudel is both the point of departure and the finality of this museum. The museography has been reduced to its simplest expression, to allow the artist’s powerful works to speak for themselves.

Only a harmony of colours has been sought between the floors, paintworks and furnishings, so as to give full and free expression to the oeuvres on exhibit. 


Adelfo Scaranello, Architect
June 2015


Maquette de la façade du musée
Maquette de la façade du musée © A.Scaranello
Croquis du principe de la tour, vue de la rue Gustave Flaubert
Croquis du principe de la tour, vue de la rue Gustave Flaubert © A.Scaranello
Croquis de la volumétrie
Croquis de la volumétrie © A.Scaranello
Adelfo Scaranello,  architecte
Adelfo Scaranello, architecte

Contributors from the agency Architectures A. Scaranello: Markus Muller, Lucie Waquet, Martin Quelen, Thibaud Szadel

Partners : MDA Lumière - Stéphanie Daniel (museographic lighting)

About the museum

About the museum

The Musée Camille Claudel has been awarded the "Musée de France" quality label (Act 2002-5 of 4 January 2002 relative to the Musées de France). 


Members of the Scientific Council:

Françoise Magny, Honorary Chief Curator of Heritage, overseeing the Musée Camille Claudel project
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Chief Heritage Curator, Director-General of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art
Anne Pingeot, Honorary General Curator of Heritage
Anne Rivière, Art Historian
Amélie Simier, Chief Curator of Heritage, Director of the Bourdelle and Zadkine museums
Ophélie Ferlier, Heritage Curator, Musée d’Orsay, Sculptures Department

Funding partners :

The Musée Camille Claudel has benefitted from the support of the French State (through the regional “Museum Plan”), the Champagne-Ardenne Region, the Aube department and the European Union (through the FEDER fund).



History of the museum

History of the museum

1902-1940 : the first museum Dubois-Boucher


Creation of a municipal museum in Nogent-sur-Seine, made possible by the donations of the sculptors Alfred Boucher (1850-1934) and Paul Dubois (1829-1905). The museum is named after both sculptors.


Opening of a sculpture gallery in a former warehouse located near the museum, to welcome full-scale models of urban monuments.

Seconde Guerre mondiale

The museum is decimated by pillagers. The museum is closed and in 1950 the works are housed in the terribly rundown sculpture gallery.


1975-2015 : the second museum Dubois-Boucher


Reopening of the Musée Dubois-Boucher.

From 1989

Accompaniment of an acquisition policy, under the impetus of Gérard Ancelin, Mayor of Nogent-sur-Seine from 1989 to 2014, and Jacques Piette, Curator of the Musée Dubois-Boucher from 1978 to 2008. 


Réouverture de la galerie de sculptures reconstituée et installée dans un bâtiment neuf.


Acquisition of Perseus and the Gorgon by Camille Claudel, an oeuvre of "major heritage interest", thanks to the generous patronage of businesses, and with the support of the French State ("Heritage Fund"), the Champagne-Ardenne Region, the Aube Departmental Council and a public subscription campaign organized by the Association Camille Claudel of Nogent-sur-Seine.

The town of Nogent-sur-Seine announces its intention to purchase the house on the Îlot Saint-Epoing, where the Claudel family lived between 1876 and 1879.

In July, acquisition of the works by Camille Claudel gathered together by Reine-Marie Paris, Camille Claudel’s great-niece, and Philippe Cressent.


2009-2013 : The project for the Musée Camille Claudel


Yves Bourel, new curator of the museum, pursues the renovation of the Musée Dubois-Boucher.

16 December 2009

The municipal council approves the principal of pursuing a public-private partnership (PPP) contract for the transfer, restructuring and extension of the Musée Dubois-Boucher on the Îlot Saint-Epoing.


Publication of the public call for applications on 23 April 2010 for the public-private partnership contract. 

7 May 2011 

Visit by Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication, who affirms the State’s support of the museum’s construction and restructuring, within the framework of the regional "Museum Plan" launched in September 2010 by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in the presence of François Baroin, French Minister of Budget, Public Accounts, Public Services and Reform of the State. 

Summer 2011

An archaeological survey is carried out on the Îlot Saint-Epoing site. The preventive digs would begin in January 2013.

7 October 2011 

Reception of the applicants' final offers as part of the PPP consultation. 

January 2012

The municipal council authorizes the signature of the public-private partnership contract with Nogent Musée SAS, a dedicated company created by SNC-Lavalin within the framework of the project.

8 March 2012

Signing of the PPP contract.

3 October 2012

The municipal council approves renaming the museum the “Musée Camille Claudel”.

November 2012 

Françoise Magny, Honorary Chief Curator of Heritage, is named the new project leader.


2013-2016 :  The construction of the Musée Camille Claudel

February - April 2013

Approval of the scientific programming of the Musée Camille Claudel by the Scientific Council and the town of Nogent-sur-Seine.

June 2013

Work at the construction site begins on 28 June 2013. The first stone is laid in the presence of Madame Labourdette, Director of the Musées de France.

The edifice to house the future Musée Camille Claudel was designed by the architect Adolfo Scaranello, in association with the firm A.N.A.U.


The project is lent momentum by the shared ambition and determination of the municipality, notably Mr Gérard Ancelin (Mayor from 1989 to 2014), the project’s initiator, followed by his successor, Mr Hugues Fadin, as well as Ms Pascale Meyer, Deputy Mayor in Charge of Heritage.

28 novembre 2016 : Le conseil municipal approuve la décision de résiliation pour faute du contrat de partenariat public-privé.

In July 2013, view of the Claudel house’s recently renovated façade.
In July 2013, view of the Claudel house’s recently renovated façade.
The Musée Camille Claudel in early 2015, revealing its fully renovated roofing.
The Musée Camille Claudel in early 2015, revealing its fully renovated roofing.
The Musée Camille Claudel in July 2015, a few months prior to the building’s completion.
The Musée Camille Claudel in July 2015, a few months prior to the building’s completion.
The musée Camille Claudel before the opening
The musée Camille Claudel before the opening © Marco Illuminati


Opening of the Musée Camille Claudel


Amenities for your visit


Freely accessible cloakrooms are made available during your visit (a 1-euro coin is needed for the locker). For safety reasons, the lockers are opened and emptied each evening. The museum may not be held responsible for any theft or damage.



The Camille Claudel Museum offers guided visits, information sheets about the galleries as well as audio guides providing additional information about the collections. Audio guides, equipped with a magnetic buckle, are available upon request at the Museum's reception desk and allow for accessing the multimedia resources in the course of the visit. They are designed with freedom and conviviality in mind so that everyone can visit at his or her own pace, listening to the commentary that suits the visitor, alone, with family or friends. The Museum offers a wide range of activities for individual visitors and families: discovery and thematic visits, family activities, live show and much more!

  • Adult audio guides available in French, English and German (free)

  • Family audio guide available in French only (free)


Mobile application

The mobile application of the Musée Camille Claudel provides users with the audio-guide commentary.



The museum boutique offers a selection of books and items related to the oeuvre and life of Camille Claudel and the museum’s sculptural collections: museum guidebooks, exhibition catalogues, postcards, notebooks, etc. The boutique is located near the reception. 


Contact form

A question ? Please contact us using the form below.

Musée Camille Claudel
10, rue Gustave Flaubert
10 400 Nogent-sur-Seine

Accessible, comfortable visits

Disabled visitors and those accompanying them enjoy priority, no-wait access to the museum. The entrance is located on 10 Rue Gustave Flaubert.

Parking near the museum 

Two disabled-only parking spaces are located on Rue de l’Etape au vin.



Free admission for disabled visitors and persons accompanying them. Disabled visitors enjoy direct access to the entrance checkpoint and are kindly requested to present a valid disability card.

The museum is fully accessible to reduced-mobility visitors. Folding chairs and wheelchairs are made available upon simple request at the museum reception. In addition, audio guides equipped with an induction loop (for the hearing deficient) are also available upon request.

The museum welcomes all proposals for activities destined for disabled visitors, for persons benefitting from charitable, social-reinsertion and literacy programmes, and for persons undergoing medical treatment. The museum also offers tours and activities in LSF (French sign language) for the hearing-impaired.

For more information, please contact the booking office


Individual visitors

Tickets (permanent collections and temporary exhibition)

  • Full-rate admission: €7 per person
  • Reduced rate: €4 per person
  • Free admission for visitors under 26 years of age
  • Free admission for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month

Tickets valid for one day.

Annual membership card: €15

Combined ticket with the Château de la Motte-Tilly : €10 (valid 6 month from the purchase date)

Buy your tickets online


Free admissions*

  • The first Sunday of each month for all visitors
  • Teachers upon presentation of their Pass Education
  • Young visitors under 26 years of age
  • Scientific museum personnel
  • ICOM members, upon presentation of their ICOM card
  • Journalists holding a press card
  • Students
  • Job seekers
  • RSA beneficiaries
  • Beneficiaries of the minimum old-age pension
  • The war disabled and persons accompanying them
  • Disabled visitors and persons accompanying them
  • Members of the Association Camille Claudel



  • Holders of the Carte Famille Nombreuse for large families
  • Seniors over 60 years of age


*To benefit from these conditions, visitors must present the appropriate document(s)


Guided tours for individual visitors

Full rate: €3 (in addition to regular admission, according to the applicable “individual visitor” rate)


Tours for adult groups (10 to 25 persons)

Guided tour of the permanent collections (1 hr 30 mins) : €60 fixed rate + €4 per person

Right to speak out loud for a lecturer-guide from outside the museum (excluding school groups, extracurricular groups and charity groups) : €10 fixed rate + €4 per person

Self-guided groups are required to rent headphones : €30 fixed rate


Visits for school groups

Public opening hours

Summer hours – April 1 to Octobre 31

Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays


Winter hours – Novembre 1 to March 31

Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays


We are closed on the following bank holidays:

  • 1 January,
  • 1 May,
  • 1 November,
  • 25 December

The museum remains open to the public on the other bank holidays not cited above, according to the regular opening days and hours.

The ticket office closes 30 minutes prior to the closing of the museum.