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Lille Palais des Beaux-Arts

No.2 museum in all France!

Recently refurbished
Palais des Beaux Arts Lille  Palais des Beaux Arts Lille - Rodin sculpture  Rubens: descent from the Cross
Rubens: "Descent from the Cross"

This great museum has been attracting great crowds after recently re-opening following an extensive and lengthy renovation, which gave it more space and maginificent elegant settings to display its treasures.

Palais de Beaux-Arts in Place Republique Palais: grand staircase
(outside) The elegant Belle Epoque Palais, built 1885-92, overlooks the spacious Place République - (inside) grand staircase

"Les Vieilles" (the old women) by Goya. Seeing this picture in Lille inspired the young

Its collection was one of a number founded in the major cities of France by order of

The present building dates from "la Belle Époque" of the late 19th century, in the Place de la Rèpublique in right in the centre of Lille.

Napoleon decreed that France's artistic treasures should not be hidden away in the palaces of the aristocracy and the bishops. As the French Empire extended over the Continent, other countries' treasures were also siezed and brought back to Paris.

Lille's share amounted to 46 paintings, many of them reknowned masterpieces - making the town's museum the next best in France after the Louvre.

The building
In the late 19th century, the city built a fine "Belle Epoque" home for its collection of art works (pictured above). The young
Henri Matisse visited the galleries and was inspired by the Goya paintings.

In the 1990's the building was restored with a dramatic modern extension block - including a nice café.

International collection
Lille's Beaux-Arts has major works of art from:

  • Italy - Donatello and Raphael
  • Germany - Painters and Sculptors of the 15th century
  • Flanders and Holland -Four altar paintings by Rubens
  • Two altar paintings by Van Dyck
  • An entire room dedicated to the work of Jordaens
  • Representatives of the school of Rembrandt
  • Goya paintings from Spain (see above)
  • El Greco paintings from Spain

Jacques-Louis David: "Bélisaire asks for Alms"

French paintings
The museum also has a complete history of French painting, from David
(left) to Toulouse-Lautrec. French sculpture of the 19th century is also well represented.

In 1989 the Musée acquired 19 plan-models of the towns that Vauban fortified along Frances's northern border with the low countries. This prompted the renovation of the building, which now has superbly laid-out galleries.

The Museum faces a large pedestrian square - Place République. On the otherside is a modern Metro station.

The vaulted lower floor
Go downstairs to explore the fascinating town models, and displays of sculpture.


James Pradier: "Satyr and Bacchante"

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Location: Palais des Beaux Arts, Place de la Rèpublique - 59000 LILLE
In Lille city centre. Take Lille's convenient new metro system to 'République' station (where you can admire the public art in the station) or walk through the pedestrian shopping streets from a central car park or Lille Flandres station.
Rough guide to opening: CLOSED Tuesdays, for the Braderie (1st weekend in Sept) and some public holidays. Hours: Monday; 14.00-18.00; Wed-Sun 10.00-18.00 (later opening until 19.00 on Fri) .
Information/ reservations:
Tel: 00 33 3 20 06 78 00

Background information:
The region's galleries and Flemish Art
Matisse Museum - in the artists's birthplace town, Le Cateau-Cambresis.




Modern Art Museum, Lille © Copyright 1999-2003 Invicta Media. Last updated 6 May 2003/ 3rd June 2002 / 16th Feb 2000