Musée Christian Dior in Granville

Musée Christian Dior Granville

Musée Christian Dior in Granville is always on my list of places to visit when I’m in the area. The museum occupies Christian Dior’s childhood home in Normandy, Villa Les Rhumbs. The garden recently reopened following the confinement and I couldn’t resist a visit to see the roses in bloom.

Christian Dior’s Childhood Home: Villa Les Rhumbs

Christian Dior was a year old when his parents Maurice and Madeleine bought the Belle Époque Villa Les Rhumbs, perched on a cliff in the seaside town of Granville. The name comes from the marine term rhumb and the 32 points of a compass rose.

Dior’s mother Madeleine created the English garden filled with her favorite flowers: roses and Lily of the Valley. Both of these flowers inspired her son endlessly in his clothing designs, perfumes, and jewelry.

Musée Christian Dior Granville Pink Flowers
Musée Christian Dior rose garden
rose garden in Granville Normandy
Musée Christian Dior rose garden

The family moved to Paris when Dior was six, but kept the house as a summer home. He returned every summer to work in the garden and learn as much as he could about botany. At 20 years old, Dior designed the pond and pergola seen below.

Pergola and pool at Dior's childhood home

In 1932, shortly after Dior’s mother Madeleine died, his father had to sell Les Rhumbs. The city of Granville bought the property and opened it as a garden in 1938.

View from Musée Christian Dior in Granville Normandy

Dior later said about Les Rhumbs in his autobiography Dior by Dior:

“I have the most tender and amazing memories of the house of my childhood…My life, my style, owe almost everything to its location and its architecture…Plaster of a very soft pink mixed with gray gravel, its two colors remained my favorite shades in sewing…It stood on a cliff, in the middle of a fairly large park planted with young trees that have grown with me against all odds…The property directly overlooked the sea…and it was exposed to all atmospheric storms, like what would be my life, which was not calm.”

Musée Christian Dior and the Garden

In 1997, Les Rhumbs became the Musée Christian Dior. It is the only Musée de France dedicated to a couturier. Every year the museum has a thematic temporary exhibit as well as an autumn-winter exhibit that showcases items from the permanent collections.

Rose garden at the Christian Dior Museum
Christian Dior statue
Roses at the Dior Museum in Granville
White climbing roses in Normandy

Musée Christian Dior is small and intimate. This year the museum will showcase “Dior Hats.” I’ve seen two of the recent exhibits, “Grace of Monaco: A Princess in Dior” and “Treasures of the Collections: 30 Years of Acquisitions.”

Whether you’re seeing the museum, walking through the garden, or stopping for a meal and tea at La Bonne Aventure, it’s worth a visit!

The Location in Granville

Musée Christian Dior is just steps from the center of Granville and overlooks the sea. On a clear day you’ll see why many call Granville the Monaco du Nord.

View of Granville from Musée Christian Dior
Granville, Normandy

It’s a wonderful spot to add to a Normandy trip on its own or following a visit to the nearby Mont Saint-Michel. For travel planning assistance, contact me here.

Musée Christian Dior Website

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