The Museum of Vence

The Museum of Vence

The Museum of Vence / Fondation Émile Hugues is situated in the heart of the historic city center and is among the very popular sights on the Côte d’Azur. The museum shows alternate exhibitions devoted to contemporary art and to famous artists’ stays in Vence such as Matisse, Chagall, Dufy or Dubuffet.

The museum of Vence is located in a historic castle close to Henry's bar
The Museum of Vence is located in a historic castle close to Henry’s bar – © cityxee.com

The Museum of Vence is located in the old Chateau de Villenueve

Located in a 17th-century building on the western wall to the old city, the exhibited art is framed by a special historical buzz.

The Museum of Vence shows alternate exhibitions devoted to contemporary art and to famous artists’ stays in Vence such as Matisse, Chagall, Dufy or Dubuffet.

In its bright rooms, the museum offers an annual program of themed exhibitions representing modern French and international art.

Exhibition room in the Museum of Vence
You can feel the buzz of history in the old rooms, not least in the watchtower

Experience the watchtower, which dates back to the 12th century

The Chateau de Villeneuve was built back in the 17th century by the Seigneurs de Villeneuve next to a watchtower, which still stands there today and dates back to the 12th century.

The chateau was home to the Villeneuve family, also known as the lords of Vence, until the French Revolution.

For a time, the building was owned by Émile Hugues (1901-1966), a former French minister and mayor of Vence. He bequeathed the Chateau de Villeneuve to the City of Vence and thus the Fondation Émilie Hugues arose.

Beautifully restored ceiling painting in the old watchtower
Beautifully restored ceiling painting in the old watchtower – ©cityxee.com

The Chateau de Villeneuve was renovated in 1992. A fresco in the watchtower inspired the choice of colors for the restoration by architect Jean François Bodin, who was also responsible for the restoration of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and the Matisse Museum in Nice.

Cozy little shop and bookstore

A specialized bookstore at the museum’s exit offers a selection of books, posters, maps and objects related to the museum’s current events and art in general.

the shop in the Museum of Vence
In the museum’s shop you usually always find something interesting – ©cityxee.com

Arman (Armand Fernandes 1928-2005)
In front of the entrance to the museum is one of Arman´’s works of art, “Accord Parfait” from the Atlantis series from 2005, just a year before he died.

Armand Amande's artwork -
Armand Amande’s artwork – “Accord Parfait” from the Atlantis series 2005

Arman was a French-American artist, painter, sculptor and plastic artist, known for his “accumulations”, in which he used already manufactured objects as art material.

He was born in Nice, spent a lot of time in New York and lived in Vence from 1968 until his death in 2005. He is today buried in Paris in the Père-Lachaise cemetery.

The Eternal Ash Tree by Chaïm Soutine

The Chateau de Villenueve is located opposite the legendary ash tree immortalized by the Russian painter Chaïm Soutine from 1929. The ash tree is said to have been planted in 1538 in memory of François I and Pope Paul III’s visit to Vence.

The ash tree on the Place du Frêne painted by Chaïm Soutine from 1929
The ash tree on the Place du Frêne painted by Chaïm Soutine from 1929

At the end of the Place du Frêne is the Belvedere Fernand Moutet, where there is a good view of the four Baou’s; Baou des Blancs, Baou des Noirs, Baou de Saint Jeannet and Baou de la Gaude – the giant cliffs that rise behind the city.

By Tommy Sverre – 2022

Tuesday to sunday  11.00 – 18.00

Monday closed

Other experiences in Vence
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  • Culture & History
  • Events
  • Fountains
  • Hiking
  • Markets
  • Museums
  • Viewpoints
  • Wash-houses
Culture & History

Villa Alexandrine in Vence

La Villa Alexandrine, in Vence, is a unique Belle Époque architecture, which today houses the local tourist office and the museum of the Polish writer, Witold Gombrowicz.

Hiking

Hike to Saint-Paul de Vence

This hike to Saint-Paul de Vence from the center of Vence is neither too long nor too strenuous, but rather beautiful and cozy.

Churches & chapels

Saint Elisabeth chapel

Saint Elisabeth chapel in Vence impresses with its rediscovered fresco paintings by Giovanni Canavesio, and its history dates back to the 14th century.

Markets

The markets in Vence

A visit to the markets in Vence is a must if you really want to feel the character and authenticity of the city.

Churches & chapels

Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité

Here in the middle of the old medieval town of Vence you will find France’s smallest cathedral. Usually one expects cathedrals to be large and impressive…

Fountains

The Peyra fountain

It stands in the city’s most idyllic square and has been watered from the Foux spring since its birth in 1822.

Viewpoints

Viewpoint – F. Moutet

From near and far you can see the Baou Mountains rising majestically on the horizon. Depending on from where one looks at the mountains, they assume different…

Wash-houses

The Wash-house at Avenue des Poilus

The wash-houses have their own history, which dates from the 19th century and testifies to the challenges of the …

Museums

Gombrowicz Museum

Dedicated to the Polish master writer Witold Gombrowitz and beautifully situated in Villa Alexandrine.

Churches & chapels

Chapel Pénitents Blancs

This chapel is the largest and most interesting chapel in Vence. Centrally located, just a few hundred meters from Place Grand Jardin, on the ancient Roman road to Castallane…

Art

Rosary Chapel by Matisse

The Rosary Chapel by Matisse is together with the cathedral in the old town Vence’s biggest attraction and one of Henri Matisse’s greatest masterpieces.

Selected experiences in cities close to Vence
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  • Churches & chapels
  • Museums
Saint-Paul de Vence

The Collegial Church

The 17th century marked the golden age of the church in Saint-Paul de Vence. Here, in 1666 the church was raised to the rank of Collegial Church by the bishop Antoine Godeau of Vence

Saint-Paul de Vence

The Cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence

One of the most visited cemeteries on the Côte d’Azur – here rests several celebrities – including Chagall & Maeght

Saint-Paul de Vence

Célestin Freinet school

The famous schoolteacher and educator Célestin Freinet (1896-1966) taught in Saint-Paul de Vence between 1928 and 1933.

Saint-Paul de Vence

The Folon chapel – The White Penitents

Experience the admirable Folon Chapel, a design work of Jean-Michel Folon and learn more about an artist who had strong ties to Saint-Paul de Vence for over thirty years.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup

The sundial in church Saint-Grégoire

The sundial is recognized as one of the very first instruments that men used to measure the passage of time because of its simplicity.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup

The Church Saint-Grégoire

Cool in summer and warm in winter. Hospitable and peaceful. The parish church of the Provencal medieval village of Tourettes-sur-Loup always welcomes you…

Saint-Paul de Vence

The Maeght Fondation art museum

The Maeght Fondation art museum welcomes more than 100,000 visitors in a unique architectural building designed by Josep Lluis Sert.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup

The Saint-Jean Chapel

The Saint-Jean chapel was built in 1674 and then destroyed by a hurricane in 1925. In 1959 the chapel was given new life thanks to …

Tourrettes-sur-Loup

Bastide aux Violettes

The museum allows you to discover the history of the Tourrettes, its terroir, all uses of the violet flower and to observe the cultivation methods and the flower in..

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