Sarcophagus of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II to make rare visit to France

© Warren LeMay - CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Nearly half a century after it was first shown in Paris in 1976, the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramses II will be back on display in France. On special loan from Egypt, it will be the highlight of a major exhibition in the French capital from April to September, organisers announced this week.

Ramses II is one of the most famous pharaohs, a great warrior and commissioned some of Egypt's most iconic temples and monuments during his nearly 70 years in power.

Ramses the Great, as he was referred to, was the ruler whose name enabled French historian and linguist Jean-François Champollion to unravel the mystery of hieroglyphs in the 19th century.

The exhibition, entitled "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs", has been touring 10 cities around the world since 2021.

Most of the artefacts recently travelled to Houston and San Francisco in the United States and will continue on to Sydney in Australia, but the sarcophagus will only be visible in France, at the Grande Halle de la Villette from 7 April to 6 September.

The loan of the famous cedar wood sarcophagus is an exception made for France by the Egyptian authorities.

According to Egyptologist Dominique Farout, the scientific commissioner of the exhibit, Egypt agreed to the loan in recognition of French scientists who treated Ramses II's mummy for mould the last and only time it was in France, at a blockbuster exhibition in Paris in 1976.

Mummies stay home

(with wires)

Read more on RFI English

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