France is the birthplace of many artistic greats including Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp. So there is no wonder that so many tourists head to France to take in all its art history – I was one of them! There is so much to discover; you could easily travel around most of the country in search of its famous artsy spots. Want to know which locations should be at the top of your holiday to-do list? I’ve pulled together the top ones you need to see below!
Of course, no trip to France would be complete without a trip to its capital city, Paris! The city is known for it high-end fashion and gourmet dining, but it also has some of the best galleries in the country. The city’s most famous gallery has to be The Louvre, which is the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa. It also has lots of French artworks as well, including lots of sculptures from French Renaissance artists. For more of Paris’s fantastic artworks, head to the Musee d’Orsay situated on the banks of the Seine.
In the north-east of France, the city of Nancy is home to one of the country’s oldest gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy. It dates back to the late 18th Century and houses a variety of works from Charles Le Brun, Francois Boucher, and Georges de La Tour. While in Nancy don’t forget to stop off at the Place Stanislas, a UNESCO-protected royal square.
The city of Lyon is situated in the heart of the pretty Rhone-Alpes region, which is popular with hikers and cyclists. You could easily spend your days in its many galleries and museums as well as cycle its scenic routes. Look online for a guide to cycling in France if you fancy combining art and sport. But don’t forget to stop off at the fantastic Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. It houses a large collection of antiquities as well as French paintings and sculptures.
Henri Matisse is one of France’s most famous painters, and the Matisse Museum in Nice is dedicated to his life and works. The museum displays a vast collection of paintings, tapestries, ceramics, and documents. You could easily spend a whole day in there! But make sure you plan some time on Nice’s famous beaches during your trip. You’ll be right on the French Riviera and will be close enough to Monaco and Cannes for day trips.
When most people think of the Palace of Versailles, they probably instantly associate it with being a museum. It does house some fantastic historical artifacts in its collection, but it also has a large selection of art on display. Inside the palace, you will find the Museum of the History of France. This interesting museum houses many paintings by French masters. Including works by Pierre Mignard and Eugene Delacroix.
There is a large number of galleries in France – this list is just the tip of the iceberg! For some more arty trips during your holiday, take a look online at the official tourism page for France.