The “Loire Renaissance” scenographic space

Published on 14 October 2016 - Updated 18 June 2019

The “Loire Renaissance” scenographic space was developed by the Loir-et-Cher Maison de Loire activity centre for its reopening in March 2015 following renovation works. The exhibition is an invitation to explore the Loire via a sensory journey which immerses visitors in the river’s history. Thanks to this new facility, the Maison de Loire received 20,000 visitors in 2015 due to the enthusiastic public response to this exhibition.


The Loir-et-Cher Maison de la Loire, located in Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire, was created in 1987; in 2015 the premises were completely refurbished and modernised so as to improve the welcome extended to visitors. The development of the scenographic space marks a new departure for this building and demonstrates its interest in communicating the history of the Loire to a wide audience.  


The scenographic space is intended to provide the general public with a sensory, interactive method of exploring the Loire’s unique features, by offering the experience of immersion in its natural and cultural dimensions. 


The exhibition pays tribute to a twofold renaissance, that of the river and that of humankind, by offering a journey through history which highlights the natural and cultural metamorphoses to which the river has been subject over time. 

A twofold common theme: nature and culture

Without the river, people’s lives and preoccupations during the Renaissance period would no doubt have been very different. Nature and culture, intrinsically linked, constitute the main themes of this exhibition. The first 3 spaces of the tour are therefore devoted to the natural environment, and in particular to the transformations the Loire has undergone over the course of time. The following three spaces are devoted to culture, immersing visitors in the spirit of the Renaissance and confronting them with both the splendour and the darker aspects of this period of profound change.  

A sensory scenography

Finding meaning through the senses is the main theme of the scenographic space; via the senses of smell, sight, hearing, and touch, spectators are invited to immerse themselves in the history of the river and make it their own, thus prolonging an experience which currently remains unique to Saint-Dyé. Throughout six consecutive spaces, sounds, lights, images, “touch boxes” and games immerse visitors in the renaissance of the Loire and humankind.  

Installation, funding and management

The budget for the restructuring involved amounted to €700,000  excluding VAT, 40% of which was funded by the Region, 20% by the Grand-Chambord Community of Communes, and 40% by LEADER, the FNADE (the French National Federation of Pollution Control and Environmental Activities), a portion of Patrice Martin-Lalande’s parliamentary financial reserve and the Plan Loire Grandeur Nature (the Loire’s comprehensive development plan). The commune of Saint-Dyé owns the premises; the Grand-Chambord Community of Communes is responsible for its management. 

Appraisal and outlook

The public response to this permanent exhibition has been very positive. The number of visitors to the Maison de Loire rose significantly following its renovation, with an increase during the year 2015 from 15,000 prior to this work, to 20,000 following this work.