bien vivre
Centre National de Costumes de Scene

The CNCS in Moulins – Auvergne Rhone Alpes, is a unique museum of theatrical costumes of hich the wardrobe consists of a collection of over 10,000. On the ground floor there is a permanent exhibition dedicated to Nurvyev which includes costumes and personal effects of this icon of danse. The 13 temporary exhibition spaces are on the first floor – these are twice yearly themed exhibitions in collaboration with various theatres, operas, museums, foundations and private collectors. The current exhibition runs until 17 September and is entitled Modes! a la vie et a la scene.


street art city

This exhibition is a facinating and glorious journey into the influences of fashion on theatrical costume design and vice versa. Here we also find the great fashion designers of the last century, Worth, Yves St Laurent, Lanvin, Channel, Lacroix etc allowing themselves full artistic freedom in their often extravagant designs. The visitor will be astonished to discover how often elements of these theatrical designs became not only haute couture fashion but also high street fashion. The richness of fabrics and needlework in some of these garments is a feast for the eyes and knowing the theatrical and operatic characters they were created for is the cherry on the cake. 

The museum is housed in an 18th century cavalry casserne classed as a historical monument and is surrrounded by spacious grounds. On the ground floor there is a café brasserie decorated by Christian LaCroix who is the honorary president of the CNCS.

I visited the museum for the first time on Tuesday, 20th June, 2017 - it was a very hot day and so the coolness of the museum was most welcome. I was immediately transported into the world of Nuryev and then into room after room of theatrical costumes and fashion completely forgetting the world outside. ​It  was also quiet until troops of children arrived with much excited chatter for their field classes. The ever increasing sound levels were initially irritating but they soon settled down and hearing some of the teachers explanations, questions and the childrens answers I was more than entertained. The exhibits were well curated and the overall impression was good.

I had an excellent lunch in the cafe brasserie and the waiter was particularly helpful and friendly as was the manager, despite all the tables being taken.

The whole experience was very enjoyable and I would highly recommend a visit to both locals and tourists alike. In addition, there is always a programme of activities and events around each temporary exhibition which is worth following

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