The director of Port-Royal des Champs temporarily removed from his duties

Magny-les-Hameaux (Yvelines). Nothing has been going well for several months between Philippe Luez, the director since 2005 of the National Museum of Port-Royal des Champs, in the Chevreuse valley, and his two immediate collaborators, the secretary general Jan Boersla and the curator Isabelle Marchesin. The two parties continue to make reciprocal reports for faults or inappropriate behavior in the service of the Museums of France (SMF). For the moment, Christelle Creff, the head of the SMF, seems to prove Philippe Luez wrong since, following a hasty interview in December, she relieved him of his duties until April 15, leaving his two deputies run the museum. An audit was requested from the General Inspectorate of Cultural Affairs, which submitted its report a few days ago. Philippe Luez says he is confident in the conclusions of this mission and does not rule out legal action if he does not obtain compensation.

This situation occurs while the museum is closed for work. This is the last phase of a plan announced in 2010 by Frédéric Mitterrand, then Minister of Culture, and which drags on due to calls for tenders, erratic financing and the health crisis. In 2022, the museum reopened in restructured premises; the reception had been moved to the start of the museum tour. The old reception has just been renovated in order to install the collections there (except the masterpieces of Philippe de Champaigne deposited in a more suitable location), in order to carry out modernization and accessibility work in the main building.

A sign of this embarrassing situation is that no one wanted to speak out, in particular the Ministry of Culture and the public interest group which administers the museum, including the town of Magny-les-Hameaux. Port-Royal is one of these small national museums with the status of a service with national competence, too small to be independent as a public establishment. It had once been considered to attach it to the Palace of Versailles, about twenty kilometers away, but this would have been an insult to history: it is to Louis XIV that we owe the persecution of the Jansenists and the destruction of the abbey. Then the Center for National Monuments showed its interest, but it seems to have since withdrawn, having many other priorities. Port-Royal “the rebel”, as the site likes to present itself, is still waiting to be touched by the “effective grace” of Saint Augustine.

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