426 years after his death, we have found in the coffin one of the greatest philosophers in France's history, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. For several years, several generations of historians have agreed that only the ashes of the author of "Essais" had undoubtedly spread in the Feuillant Monastery, on whose ruins the current Musée d'Aquitaine was built. But this dissertation could be completely swept away by the last historical return that was presented this Friday at the site of the Aquitaine Museum itself.
"As often as the greatest discoveries are by chance," Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux and thus distant successor of Montaigne launched first before detailing this real movie scenario: "Everything was happening in the sub-floor, in a room that was stored by antiques. Down in this room there is a kind of stennisch in front of which countless men and women have gone through the centuries without suspecting a single second of what it could hide. Fortunately, our curator had the idea that he would stop … "
"To our surprise we saw a wooden chest"
Laurent Védrines, curator of the museum, continues the story by explaining that he was just thinking of drilling a small hole in the wall: "I'm curious and fascinated by this stone. We simply beat a wired camera in the hole and to our great surprise we saw a wooden box with, on top, a gilded copper plate written in black Michel de Montaigne. It is really an intense moment at the height of this man's significance.
A true police investigation can now begin: "We must not go faster than music," says Alain Juppé. We must be 100% confident that this is really Michel de Montaigne, and for this we will call specialists. Among them, an archaeologist- anthropologist from Bordeaux, Hélène Réveillas. "My mission is to open the coffin and then collect all the legs inside. Then we will work with researchers specifically for DNA research. We will need to cross the results with what we already know about him and all the tests we will recover in our investigations. It is a careful work that awaits us forever, although this time, I feel really anchored in the mind that this coffin may contain the remains of a man as prestigious as Michel de Montaigne. "
The opening of the chest could happen in the coming weeks before the beginning of the analysis, which should be several months, for a verdict at the end of 2019. "If science proves that it is Michel's body, the Montaigne found in this coffin, it will be an opportunity for Bordeaux as he long and twice been mayor to celebrate his memory but also his humanistic message more current than ever, "concludes Alain Juppé.