Article written in the framework of the collaboration between the writing Culture of Figaro and the IPJ Paris-Dauphine.
Under the huge glass roof of the Grande Halle de la Villette, a low, a matte black that marks the entrance to the exhibition Tutankhamun, the pharaoh’s treasury . At the end of a long carpet also black, the tomb opens to the first visitors of the event. 150,000 people have already booked their entry, and much more will follow this sacred path until its closure in September next. The barriers which guide a crowd disciplined are covered with dark canvas. Fans of ancient Egypt are warned: they penetrate, as Howard Carter nearly a century earlier, in the last remains of the star of the pharaohs.
” READ ALSO OUR SPECIAL FILE – Tutankhamun, a tour of star
Before leaving for the adventure, some visitors take photographs in front of the poster of the large coffin, a golden, punctuated by touches of blue lapis-lazulis. Mathilde, 24 years old, is coming specially from Rennes, in the company of his little sister, aged 14. Student in textiles, she has booked the tickets several months ago. “I expect a lot from this exhibition. I hope to be inspired for my own creations, but being a fan of history in general, I hope also, and especially, instruct me.”
Fatima, 48 years old, a native of Saint-Denis (93), was a rush on tickets at the opening of the ticket office. She came with Yassin, his son of 12 years. It is in the sixth class, and she hopes that he will be able to complete his college course. “It is important that my child has a general culture in addition to its lessons. In addition, the pharaohs, the Egypt, this is a myth for him.”
“This is like reliving a part of my childhood”
At the age of 37, Mehdi, to him, is already familiar with the treasure of Tutankhamun. He has already admired the pieces in the exhibition… in the tomb itself! A native of Egypt, he had the opportunity to visit the tomb of the pharaoh when he was 20 years old. “This is like reliving a part of my childhood,” he says with a tender smile. His mother, a tourist guide in the Valley of the kings, has passed on his love for ancient Egypt. “I was elected to my residence in the department of egyptology at the Louvre, he joked. Then see all these pieces here, especially if this is the last time that she will come to France, it is exceptional! I’m looking forward to rediscovering them, especially the first time, they were crowded in a small place.” It is certain that compared to the narrowness of the tomb, the 2000 square meters of exhibition will examine these objects in a new light.
alongside Mehdi, his goddaughter, Camille, 14 years old. The teenager seemed just as awed as his godfather. “We don’t have a lot of studying ancient Egypt in school, so it is extraordinary to be able to come here!” As to whether there is a piece of exposure that is of more interest than the other, it’s hard to find an answer: “Impossible to choose! I want to see everything, everything!”, exclaimed she, with enthusiasm. A taste of history before his first journey to the land of the pharaohs, in July next.
“Accessible to children”
after an hour of opening, Anne-Marie, 71-year-old is the first to get out of this journey into the realm of the dead. His tribe consisting of his daughter, his son-in-law and two grandchildren of 3 years and 9 years is still dragging on in the gift shop. Nathalie, his daughter, appears in turn. She is conquered. “It is really very accessible to the children, everything is well explained. We learn lots of things.” At the end, his little ones clamouring for more. “We can go around again daddy?”, entreats Lucy, the youngest. What she preferred? “Everything that shines, especially the jewellery”, she says. With his brother Alexander, they are attempting to retain their parents, pulling them back by the hand, as to make it last the visit a little longer.
Arnaud has also chosen the option of family visit. He was able to train with him Sascha, 16 years old, who seems to be delighted of the visit. “Tutankhamun, this is the dream,” said the same teen. Both retain above all the splendor of the exhibits, even if it is “very disappointing to not see the mask of gold and precious stones”, stayed in Cairo. To continue the discovery, Arnaud would like to take his family to Egypt. But the political situation was dissuaded. “Then it’s easier to do a show in the corner!”, “he observes.
” READ ALSO – The mysteries of Tutankhamun: why such a treasure?
At the exit, there are also fans like Catherine, a sexagenarian. At 15, she had admired the exhibition of 1967, when the first step of the pharaoh in Paris. “I was extremely impressed at the time,” she recalls. She is delighted to have seen new parts but regret also the absence of the famous mask which has done so much to feed the appeal of ancient Egypt. Today, Catherine is… conservative heritage. And there are just a detail that does not pass: the commercial aspect of the event. “We have to pass by the shop on the way out. And everything is overpriced.”
Organizer of events, Sophia, a fifty-year-old prefers it expound on the details of the visit. “Even if there is a commercial side, the ancient Egypt is still beautiful”, is pâme-t-it, praising the quality of the effects of staging. “We were not too many in the halls, it allows us to take the time, observe all the objects which are extremely well presented. There are light effects, the decorations, everything is done to ensure that artifacts are developed.” With her husband, Olivier, they have been totally blown away by the exhibition. “The screens tell the story of life of each object. This treasure millennium takes life under our eyes.”
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Cinema, theatre, music… The student-journalists of IPJ, Institute of Journalism of the University of Paris Dauphine, offer their views on current cultural events. A publication in partnership with Le Figaro culture.