This year we discovered Lille, a city in the north of France. There are several reasons why it is worth a visit, but the most convincing will be the Palais des Beaux Art. It is the little sister of the great museums in Paris, but it is still enormous. Art ranging from ancient times to the twentieth century is displayed here and it keeps you off the streets for several hours.
What you can expect here is art from various European countries and many different times. There are many works by Spanish painters like Goya, Italian giants like Tintoretto and even more French masterminds. It has a relatively small selection of impressionist and modernist work, but some great names are there: Monet, Manet, and others. One of my favorites is the painting Henri-Xavier Fontaine by Vuillard. Another is Monet’s Parlement de Londres. I guess I am a sucker for impressionism.
A special asset of the museum is its collection of life-size city models. They look like large tables and show various cities in past centuries. It is especially nice because the room is in the basement and quite dark, giving it a certain atmosphere. On the other side of the basement you find a large number of religious statues and panels.
The museum tries to organize events and specialties. When we get there it has a sound project by the musical band Air. I know this French band from the nineties. They are known for their relaxing sounds and electronics. Last year they made soundscapes for a bunch of art works. Their aerial interpretations deepen our experiences with some pieces. Sometimes the sounds are a bit funny, which makes sense with abstract art. We got mesmerized for a while with a ping-pong sound in front of this painting by Sonia Delaunay:
Love this museum because:
- It has a great variety of great art
- The building is impressive and has beautiful light falling in from outside
- It is the biggest thing you can do in Lille
- The staff is very helpful and kind
- Some of the collections having relatively few works. Sometimes you hop from one style into the other
- the grand size of the museum leads to sore feet