The Valenciennes Musée des Beaux-Arts

The city of Valenciennes opened its first art museum in 1834, in the town hall, before constructing a building for that specific purpose in 1909. Built in an imposing style typical of the Palais des Beaux-Arts constructed during the Third Republic, the Musée de Valenciennes is home to some prestigious collections, nicely highlighted by vast spaces and bright, pleasant lighting. Since its renovation in 1995, it has been spread over an area of 4,400 m², combining exhibition spaces and facilities for visitors (lecture theatre, sales counter, teaching rooms, digital space). Your visit will take you from archaeology to works from the first half of the 20th century. The highlights are the 17th-century Flemish paintings, including works by Rubens, Jordaens, Van Dyck... and the 19th-century sculptures: Carpeaux and his comrades - Lemaire, Crauk, Hiolle - are magnificently staged in a large sculpture garden at the heart of the building. (Touch tours for those with visual impairments). Sculpture is present in every room of the museum, but it’s at the heart of the building, in the Place Carpeaux, that it really takes centre stage.