CARAA is an analytical research unit which applies the most suitable and modern physico-chemical techniques existing for cultural heritage and art market in order to answer questions related to the conservation, restoration, dating, characterization or authentication of art objects.

The main lines of research developed at CARAA:

Material characterization and degradation phenomena study.
Works of art authentication and their consistency with the material and resources available to the presumed date.
Direct dating using different techniques according to the analyzed material : thermoluminescence, 14C, ESR, U/Th, dendrochronology.

CARAA works with a network of institutional laboratories and in agreement with various academic institutions in order to respond accurately to each issue.

All studies are subject to a detailed and reviewed report, including the operating conditions, the results and their interpretation.


CARAA was created in 2010 by Michel Bouchard, a chemist by training that holds a PhD in archaeometry and spectroscopy from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. After obtaining his PhD in 2001, Michel Bouchard was a research engineer at the CNRS until 2005, working in particular on the study of metal oxides (Lille) or the degradation of varnishes by UV light (Paris).

In 2006, he joined the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles as a Conservation scientist, working on the collections and museum acquisitions. In 2009, Michel Bouchard left the Getty Museum to create CARAA, an analytical laboratory dedicated to curators, conservators and professionals from the art market; in 2012, he has been nominated as Expert before the Court of Appeal of Paris; in 2015 he has been appointed assessor to the Commission of Conciliation and Customs Expertise (CCED).

Research projects undertaken to date by Michel Bouchard involve most of the materials present in art and archeology.

With the experience of its founder and his collaborations, CARAA can meet all the needs of professionals of Art.

Our values

Privacy. The organization at CARAA is designed so that in all working conditions, your data are used only for internal use. We strive to maintain strict confidentiality either during the reception or the delivery of the results. We strive to ensure that the storage of the results also respects this confidentiality, without preventing the reissue of these result punctually, on your request, as a complimentary service.

Integrity. The respect of the scientific code of ethics is a fundamental requirement for us. CARAA is committed to avoid any conflict of interest.

Excellence. With our experience and our training, we are committed to providing high quality results for the analysis of the objects that you submit. All stages of the analysis were the subject of specific and validated procedures. CARAA implements the most appropriate methods to carry out the projects.

Innovation. CARAA offers a consulting service and a support to our key partners in order to enable them to realize their research project. It also develops alliances with leading research centers to reach clear readings of the submitted problematics.

Our clients

  • Institutional (e.g.: Musée du Louvre, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Musée des BA de Nantes, Musée Fabre, Musée de Nancy, Musée Barbier, Musée Getty, CNRS, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, …)
  • Administrations (e.g.: CG de l’Aisne, CG de Mayenne, municipalité de Montbéliard, Nantes, Baugé, Le Pecq …)
  • Monuments and churches (e.g.: la Suze, Théméricourt, Giverny, St André de Mane, Cathédrale de La Chaise-Dieu …)
  • Archaeologists (INRAP, École Française de Rome, ENS, …)
  • Restorers, Conservators and Curators
  • Art Galleries (France, Belgique, Pays-bas, UK, USA, Italie, Espagne, …)
  • Auction houses (e.g.: Christies, Sotheby’s, Aguttes, Alde, …)
  • Industrials (e.g.: Yves Rocher, Cementys, Armcor, …)
  • Privates.