Les Mystérieux Mystères Insolubles

Published on 23 December 2016 - Updated 04 January 2021

A youth collection on heritage

In a bid to broaden heritage awareness among young people, the Heritage and Inventory Department of the Centre-Val de Loire Region has unveiled an illustrated collection entitled Les Mystérieux Mystères Insolubles for 7-12 year olds. This collection embraces an original concept of docu-fiction, blending comic strips with documentary, with the aim of sharing historical and heritage-related knowledge by capturing readers’ imaginations. The seven volumes published between 2011 and 2015 have proved hugely successful among the public and the contents have also been shared more widely across the region through a touring exhibition.


The project was instigated by the Centre-Val de Loire Region in the hope of reaching out to new audiences and showcasing the significant photographic collection of the Heritage & Inventory Department. 


The collection has been designed to familiarise 7 to 12 year olds with heritage by drawing on the iconographic archives of the Heritage & Inventory Department, which harbours a wealth of nearly 200,000 images collected and archived since 1972.  


The collection Les Mystérieux Mystères Insolubles is aimed at passing on historical, artistic and heritage-related knowledge by harnessing fantasy to capture imaginations.  

An innovative concept, 7 volumes published

The collection embraces an original concept of docu-fiction, comprising a comic strip and a documentary strip. 7 volumes have been published between 2011 and 2015, making forays across the départements of the Centre region:  

  • Volume 1 is dedicated to the literary and troglodyte heritage of the Chinon region
  • Volume 2 delves into the Loire and river heritage in connection with canals
  • Volume 3 conjures up the rural heritage of the Berry region (around Bourges)
  • Volume 4 is set within the Loire châteaux
  • Volume 5 tells of the urban heritage of the City of Blois
  • Volume 6 unfolds in Chartres Cathedral
  • Volume 7 focuses on the Loire Valley World Heritage site

One volume dedicated to World Heritage

Published in 2015, the volume entitled La TeRRRible Crue Cruelle is the seventh in the collection. Produced in partnership with Mission Val de Loire, it evokes the Loire Valley, World Heritage. The volume particularly covers the criteria of the World Heritage listing and the different dimensions of heritage, shining the spotlight on architectural heritage and gardens as well as the diversity of landscapes. It also explores artists’ perceptions of the Loire and materials associated with the Loire Valley. An educational kit produced by the Heritage & Inventory Department provides a teaching aid for primary and secondary staff to use the volume as part of their lesson plans.  

Editorial team

To conduct the project, the Centre-Pays de Loire Region partnered with the Centre-Val de Loire regional agency for books, images and digital culture (Ciclic). The youth publishing house L’atelier du poisson soluble was selected to conduct the editorial project, with support from the author Grégoire Kocjan and illustrator Julie Ricossé.  

Outcome and outlook

The collection has proved hugely successful with the public. Its distribution was promoted by a blog and an array of events, for which a touring exhibition was also produced.