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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

In the heart of Lyon’s Presqu’ile, in a former 17th-century Benedictine abbey, the Musee des Beaux-Arts is a majestic place for art lovers to while away a few hours.

The breadth of its collections is remarkable, covering everything from antiquities and medieval art to Islamic art and Europe’s major schools of painting, via some 5,000 artefacts. 19th- and 20th-century pieces are particularly well represented, with works by famous artists like Monet, Matisse, Manet, Gaugin and Picasso.

Its loveliest space, perhaps, is its courtyard garden, set in the former cloisters and dotted with statues.

Don’t miss

Monet’s 1883 Rough Sea at Etretat hangs in the museum (alongside other Impressionist works) – whisking you away to the Normandy coastline. Also look out for Nave Mahana by Gaugin (1896), painted in Tahiti and whose name means ‘Delicious Days’ in Maori.

While you’re there

Admire the fountain on the square in front, depicting France riding a chariot of four rivers (the horses); it was made by Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty.

Logistics

Price from: £7
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The museum is a 3-minute walk from metro Hotel-de-Ville – Louis Pradel.

To regulate the number of visitors, time-allocated tickets must be bought online via the official website in advance and either printed out or saved in your smart device.

Once you’ve meandered the cloister’s parterres, you can take it in from above from the museum cafe’s terrace. Or sit inside and admire the monumental Raoul Dufy mural.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, Wednesday to Monday. Closed Tuesday.

Lunchtime is the quietest time to visit, though you will rarely be confronted with long lines at any time of the day.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lyon

Auberge-Rhone-Alpes, France

Man on horse statue in foreground, basilica behind

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