Friday, May 20, 2016

Going all arty

The musée Fabre is not a museum but an art gallery, with a fabulous collection of 17th and 18th paintings. There is a lovely restaurant in the courtyard that is a good example of how Montpellier seems to have achieved an exciting and successful blend of modern and ancient architecture, each complementing the other.

It is in two buildings, one a former Jesuit College that has been completely modernised at a cost of 61 million euros, and the other a grand mansion called the Hotel de Calabrieres-Sabatier-D'Espeyran (with a surname like that your mail wouldn't easily go astray) that has been kept in its original form as a showcase of decorative arts mostly eighteenth century.
Staircases in the restored mansion

My bedroom - in a past life

Floor tiles

Anemones, Charles Manguin. A personal favorite.

So I'm living basically next door to these paintings by Rubens, Dufy, Delacroix, Courbet, Renoir, Monet and their friends.

A special section of the musée focuses on a talented local painter, Frederique Bazille, who died in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, at the age of 28.

Bazille painting of Aigues-Mortes  

The musée actively encourages children from age two to enjoy art and to participate in artistic activities. There were lots of school groups visiting when I was there. I tagged along at the back of a kindergarten group for a while because the guide was speaking slowly and simply and, surprise - I could actually understand quite a lot of what she was saying. It was hard to resist putting my hand up to have a go at answering some of her questions when the kids got a bit stuck.

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