Maison Zola – Maison Dreyfus

In 1907, the writer Émile Zola’s widow gave his house to the Assistance Publique in France, which, in 1984, authorized it to be turned into a museum. However, there were not sufficient funds to realize this project. François Mitterrand, who wanted to preserve the site, asked Pierre Bergé to ensure that he would handle it. After he was made administrator of the house in 1999, Bergé began making plans for the museum.

In 2011, he announced that renovation work would begin on the Maison Zola and that a Musée Dreyfus would also be created there. The house was inaugurated by President François Hollande on October 2, 2016. The Musée Dreyfus will open to the public in autumn 2018.

For Bergé, this museum is part of his commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism during a time of increasing intolerance.

I rescued the Maison Émile Zola primarily because of the Dreyfus Affair. While, in my opinion, Zola was not the greatest writer of the nineteenth century, he was—without a doubt—one of the men who moved me the most. As Anatole France once said, and I repeat his words, Zola was ‘a moment in the history of human conscience.’

Pierre Bergé, cited in Le Magazine Littéraire, September 15, 2015.