Champollion’s Egypt at the Louvre-Lens Museum

Exhibitions | Cultural events

The museum pays a tribute to Egypt this year to commemorate two anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the bicentenary of Champollion’s decipherment of the hieroglyphs. The museum decided to retrace the extraordinary man’s life as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. It was, in fact, thanks to his work on the Rosetta Stone (found in the Nile delta by Napoleon’s army in 1799) that Champollion was able to start understanding hieroglyphs. There are three languages on the ancient stone (196 BC) which helped him understand which signs were phonetic and which were ideographic, the final breakthrough he needed to understand the ancient language only found engraved in temples.

He presented his findings in a letter to Monsieur Dacier, secretary of the Paris Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in September 1822, which became the official foundations of hieroglyph decipherment.

Champollion was finally recognised by his peers and continued to work relentlessly, travelling to see the outstanding papyrus collection already available at the time in Turin and finally explored Egypt in 1828, which confirmed everything for him. Later, as the curator of Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre, he set up an entire department but unfortunately died young (42) before he could fully enjoy it. The exhibition offers 350 sculptures, paintings, pieces of art and documents illustrating his career and achievements in the name of science and history.

Hungry after touring the exhibition and learning so much? We recommend the Galibot restaurant, just opposite at Esprit de France’s Louvre-Lens Hotel. The Chef only works with local farmers and serves creative dishes based on the region’s culinary heritage. For the exhibition he designed a new and exquisite dessert: Flavours of the Nile, an almond, honey cream and date gateau.


You like our content ? Follow Esprit de France on Instagram.