The Museum of Vence

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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 – ©

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 – ©

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 – ©

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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