Five notable museums, five absent artists

Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, Melol in Banyuls, Soulages in Rodez or Ingres in Montauban. Major artists were born or lived in these cities of Occitania that today dedicate their museums. Travel to the places that inspired these famous painters and sculptors.

Toulouse-Lautrec, in Albi

The donjon bell tower of Sainte-Cécile Cathedral rises 78 meters above sea level, dominating the vault of the Tern. To honor one of its most prominent citizens, Albee has seen great things. Located in the former episcopal palace of Barbi, Toulouse Lautrec Museum With all its magnificent red bricks, the cathedral forms an architectural whole. The whole is an integral part of the perimeter classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

In 1901, upon the death of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, the city of Albi received all of the artist’s works. The fund is considerable, consisting of more than 1000 pieces: paintings, lithographs, drawings or posters. Along the floors and rooms, sometimes between arches and red bricks, we discover these main paintings viz At the salon in the Rue des Moulins. From the city where he was born, the post-impressionist painter invites the viewer on a final journey into the heart of Montmartre in the late 19th century.

Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Berbie Palace, Place Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi. For example. : 05 63 49 48 70. From 1 October to 31 May: 10 am – 12:30 pm / 2 pm – 6 pm, closed on Mondays weekly. From June 1 to September 30: 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on 1 January, 1 May, 1 November and 25 December.

Where to sit?

Ambrosia. Head to Rio by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The restaurant’s facade – in brick, of course – is discreet, but the food is delicious.

Restaurant Ambroise, 4 rue Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, 81000 Albi. For example. : 05 63 76 43 56.

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By train, 6 hours from Paris, via Toulouse.

Ingres, Montauban

Housed in a former episcopal palace, the museum houses a rich collection centered around the painter Ingres and the sculptor Bordel. ATD / Photo Press

Montauban’s two child prodigies are gathered here, among buildings in the Turn-et-Garonne prefecture that are often neglected, even mistakenly, visited. Respect for the elder of the two, even the more famous. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was born in 1780 on the banks of the Tarn. And it is to the painter famous for his portraits, his nudes and his historical scenes that we owe this museum, which was magnificently restored two years ago. At his death in 1867, a large number of his paintings (over 4,500) and personal objects (including a violin) were donated to the town of Montauban, which decided to display them in the former episcopal palace. Emile-Antoine Bordel was six years old at the time. Sculptor, pupil of Rodin, Montalbon’s other great artist. If a museum is dedicated to him in Paris, several of his works are now displayed alongside Ingres and are particularly famous. Heracles the archer.

Ingres-Bourdelle Museum, 19 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 82000 Montauban. For example. : 05 63 22 12 91. From 1 October to 30 April: Open daily except Monday. Tuesday to Friday: 10 am to 5:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 7 pm. From 1 May to 30 September: Open every day except Monday. 10am to 7pm Thursday 10am to 9pm

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From Paris, count 4 hours by train.

Solage, Rodeje

The spectacular architecture of the Soulages Museum makes Rodage a global art destination. Patrice Thebault / CRT Occitani

In Rodeje, the meeting between the black outside painter and the Catalan architects of RCR, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2017, gave birth to a work of art in its own right. Standing on a Ruthenian hill, the Corten steel building designed by Carme Pigem, Rafael Aranda and Ramon Villarta illuminates the works of Pierre Solage in a delicate and peaceful light. The Averon painter was born in Rodez 102 years ago. Such was his attachment to the region, and particularly to the monastery of Conchs, for which he produced stained glass windows, that he agreed to three successive grants containing hundreds of works. In this “museum in the middle of the garden”, opened in 2014, visitors can admire outrenoirs, about four meters high, as well as walnut stains, gouache, charcoal, ink on paper, etchings, lithographs, serigraphs or bronzes.

Soulages Museum, Foirail Garden, av. Victor Hugo, 12000 Rodez. For example. : 05 65 73 82 60. September to June: Tuesday to Friday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10am-6pm. July and August: Monday to Sunday: 10am-6pm.

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Saint-Foy de Conques Abbey. The stained glass windows of this magnificent Romanesque building were created by Pierre Soulages. A seven-year long project that would mark his life as an artist.

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From Paris, an average of 7 hours by train, via Toulouse.

Grey… Serete

Barcelona sculptor Jaume Plensa will inaugurate this new extension. Studio Barcelona

Picasso, Braque, Gris, Soutine, Chagall, Harbin, Matisse, Masson, Kremegen, Miró, Tapis, Vialat, Bowles. All were captivated by the light that irradiated the Catalan country. They all stayed more or less long in the Serrette, in the cherry trees and farmhouses that cling to the foot of the Pyrenees, or on the coast of Vermeil, especially in Collioure, a town where Fauvism was born. Located in the heart of the Pyrénées-Orientales sub-prefecture, bordered by century-old plains painted by Soutine in 1920 Céret Museum of Modern Art Preparing to reopen after two years of expansion work (reopening scheduled for March 6). Barcelona sculptor Jaume Plensa will inaugurate this new extension, while works by Miró, Tapis, Pignon and other Greeks will return to the picture rails. From Cubism – of which Serret is called the Mecca – to the School of Paris, from New Realism to support-surfaces, the Serret collection offers an immersion in 20th-century painting.

Céret Modern Art Museum, 8 bd Maréchal Joffre, 66400 Céret. For example. : 04 68 87 27 76. 1 September to 30 June: Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.


The fund is certainly less prestigious than that of Céret, but Collioure’s Museum of Modern Art offers exhibitions of contemporary artists. The latter is located at the majestic Villa Palms, at the foot of Fort Saint-Elm and on the edge of the Big Nile.

Route de Port-Vendres, 66190 Collioure. For example. : 04 30 44 05 46.

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Perpignan by train from Paris (about 5 hours). Céret is a 30-minute drive from Perpignan.

Mayolle, Bonules-sur-Merre

Aristide Maillol lived here in the heart of the Roum valley, a few kilometers from Banyuls-sur-Mer. Mayolle Museum

The road, winding and narrow, climbs from the coast to the summit of Alberes, amidst a landscape of vineyards and almond trees. Aristide Maillol lived here in the heart of the Roum valley, a few kilometers from Banyuls-sur-Mer. The farmhouse where the Catalan sculptor worked for half a year was converted into a museum in 1994, together with Dina Verni. If most of his works are presented in the Melol museum in Paris, the farmhouse speaks above all about the everyday. The life of the artist and the setting that inspired him. His grave is a few meters away from the house. After visiting the museum, a walk into the heart of Baniul allows you to admire the various works of Maillol facing the sea.

Maillol Museum, Roume Valley, 66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer. For example. : 04 68 88 57 11. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm.

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Perpignan by train from Paris (about 5 hours). Then 45 minutes by car via the D914 then the D86 (direction Col de Banneuls)

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