The “Bien Jouet” Museum
Old and quirky toys
True to its innovative image, the Village of creative talents introduces the « Bien Jouet », a space of exhibition within the Village, bringing the exceptional collection of old and quirky toys together, gathered by a local from Draguignan.
Deaf at a young age, this teacher gathered this collection in 40 years. Deprived of communication with his pairs, he naturally turned to objects, who don’t speak, but have a lot to tell! Therefore, he transformed his disability into a springboard to activities… Bien Jouet!
And today, he wants to share it with us.
Meeting with a passionate collector
Why choose toys as interest?
Because they are meant for the fulfillment of future adults, they cover all sectors, from the “doll’s tea set” to the conquest of space and industrial products. They are a fabulous mirror of human society: creation, fabrication, business, competition… no areas are avoided. We are far from the adults’ condescending image of “kids toys”!
By the way, to say that someone is the toy of another doesn’t pass a compliment!
How did you select the toys for the museum?
The toy takes up a big place in children’s life. To attract them, the producers explore all activity sectors, hence the big diversity, which can even cause vocations!
In addition, the technical progress: steam, electricity, etc… all evolve continuously and do good for toy industrials.
This diversity of activities and industrial progress make it an extraordinary mirror of our way of living.
Why did you want to create the “Bien Jouet” Museum so much?
My wish is to give life to my collection, stocked in cartons for more than 40 years and therefore to benefit as many people as possible: children, adults, amateurs and collectors.
To perpetuate your toy collection in time you also want to set up an organization: can you tell us more about this?
My biggest wish would be to create an organization named “Bien Jouet” of which the action would be towards disabled children in order to give them unforgettable memories.
Thanks to generous donors, private individuals or companies, this nonprofit organization would allow financing different actions for children and perpetuating my toy collection in time, to make it visible to the most people possible after my departure.
Meanwhile, the museum purchased a replica of Emma Peel’s LOTUS Elan car from the tv show “The Avengers” from the 70/80’s.
The car was fabricated on criteria of excellence by Gilles VIOLET, a passionate man too, director of the VIOLETTA firm, based on the Côte d’Azur. This nearly life-size car-toy is 2.60 m long x 1.05 wide, because it was built at 7/10 scale, and has a Honda motor. The car will allow taking the children around up to 50 km/h during different occasions. Therefore, the BIEN JOUET organization will organize trips with the convertible Lotus in the Village in the morning for example and in St Raphaël, in partnership with the cinema museum Louis de FUNES and the manager Nora Ferraira, for recreational afternoons.
I really hope to improve their everyday life and make them dream for a long time.
Tell us a story about your toys?
In 1990, when I went to Angoulême to see some friends, I visited a second-hand goods dealer I had met in Nice. He showed me a steam train from 1890 in its original box. The train was as extraordinary as its price.
It was a unique opportunity not to miss out on. Without a second thought, I offered to trade this splendour for my car, which he accepted… and I came back to Charente by train, with the small train in a box in my luggage!
Where does your passion for old and quirky toys come from?
Left out because of my ear handicap and after my divorce without kids, I looked for an activity to not fall. Going from time to time to flea-markets, I got a toy from my childhood, which started everything…
What are your oldest toys?
After 1860, around the beginning of the industrial era.
The most recent one that’s caught your attention and why?
With 4 to 5000 pieces and 40 years of research, what interests me now is rarity first, the reflection on our society after.
You also wanted to give another meaning to the museum?
Yes indeed, being considered as a handicap from age 25, I am obviously sensitive to the exclusion we feel in our everyday lives. Showing that we can succeed in another way can give courage to those who feel left out and therefore give a real meaning to our lives.
It’s also the opportunity to show people in “good health” that a handicap is not necessarily a “weight” for society.
Do you have anything to add to our interview?
Yes, if this museum finally exists, after 40 years of research, it’s thanks to Luc MARTIN, creator of the “Village” that’s welcoming me in his place, and his enthusiasm and open-mindness. Thank you also to Nora FERREIRA, manager of the Louis de Funès museum in St Raphaël, for her encouragement and mental support.
Outside the permanent toy exhibition, the Village of Creative Talents wants to allow people who also own interesting or extraordinary objects to get them known. This is why we offer an exhibition space in order for our visitors to also discover them permanently or occasionally. Moreover, the Village of Creative Talents wants to create a world around the museum and toys, with the organization 4 times a year of a toy market in the central area of the Village, along with expertise sessions of your old toys by appointment.
Do you have quirky objects to show us? Do you want to display them? Contact us!