Today the Ingres Museum is housed in the former Episcopal Palace that became the City Hall after the French Revolution. The building was constructed on the medieval remains of the original military structure from the thirteenth century that insured the protection of the city and provided a safeguard for the future bridge. In the fourteenth century, Montauban fell to the English. The Black Prince (son of the English king, Edward III) began building a fortress that remained unfinished after the expulsion of the English.
A disease-ridden slum area up until 1520, the site was rehabilitated by the consuls in an effort to re-establish the château's defences in the face of the threat posed by the Religious Wars. In 1629, the besieged city surrendered and the château was abandoned. It was Pierre de Bertier a true ²hero² of the Counter-Reform movement who decided to build his new Episcopal Palace on the ruins of the former fort, the seat of the Protestant resistance. His architect, Bernard de Campmartin chose to preserve a part of the medieval structures and superpose an unconventional building made up of a central core and two wings fanning out from a courtyard and sealed off by a large gate.
After the French Revolution, the palace was confiscated as an asset of the state and subsequently sold at auction. The City bought it and installed the City Hall within its walls. It vacated the building in 1908. It was Ingres' death that gave the site its identity and made its reputation : the museum inherited the collected studio works of the famous Montauban painter and took the name, "The Ingres Museum".
Today the museum continues to evolve and is closed for a complete renovation through to the end of 2019. When it reopens, it will be fully up-to-date with the twenty-first century.
If you cross over the Pont Vieux you cannot miss the imposing building that proudly overlooks the Tarn, The Ingres Museum.
"When the Mona Lisa was in Montauban…" During World War II, in order to protect its many masterpieces, the Louvre Museum sought to dispatch some 3000 works to a place of safekeeping. In 1940, the Montauban Museum became the war time refuge for a very famous painting, The Mona Lisa.