Thanks to The Three Musketeers and the extraordinary popularization of the heroes created by Alexandre Dumas through picture books, the advertising and toy industries, and most of all the movie industry, we think we know all there is to know about musketeers, whose blue tabards, pugnacity and exploits have earned this elite unit worldwide fame. Yet, those soldiers left but very little physical evidence, paradoxically concealed to us by the work of the novelist and the legend he contributed to build.
This exhibition is dedicated to the "real" musketeers, to these young men who witnessed the splendour of the Court and the extreme violence of the wars of the seventeenth century. As historians, our exploration of the work of Alexandre Dumas extends beyond the figures of d'Artagnan and his fellow comrades-in-arms. Dumas willingly changed the chronology of events and fictionalized real episodes in order to suit the plots and the settings of his narrative. However, as we are transported into Cardinal Richelieu's own private office, the bastions of the Siege of La Rochelle, Fouquet's magnificent residences and the gaol of the Man in the Iron Mask, it seems perfectly clear to us that no one better understood and restored the spirit of the Grand Siècle than Dumas himself. Let him guide you throughout this journey between History and fiction, the former - as you will discover - sparing no fewer surprises than the latter...