Musée des Beaux-Arts

Musée des Beaux-Arts information

audioguide €4, tours adult/child €6/3
Opening hours
9.30am-6pm Wed-Mon May-Oct, 10am-5pm Nov-Apr
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Lonely Planet review

Housed in the eastern wing of the Palais des Ducs, these sprawling galleries make up one of the most outstanding museums in France. The rooms themselves are works of art and a special chance to be inside this monumental building. Note that the museum is undergoing major renovation works and some galleries may be closed when you read this.

The star is the wood-panelled Salle des Gardes (Guards' Room), once warmed by a gargantuan Gothic fireplace. It houses the ornate, carved late-medieval sepulchres of dukes John the Fearless and Philip the Bold, as well as three impossibly intricate gilded Gothic retables from the 1300s. The Salle des Gardes was closed for renovation at the time of writing but should have reopened by the time you read this.

The modern and contemporary art section, with works by Manet and Monet and sculptures by Matisse and Rodin, harbours a particular delight: the Pompon Room . Tucked off a back staircase, this room is packed with stylised modern sculptures of animals by François Pompon (1855–1933), who was born in Saulieu, Burgundy. Note that the modern and contemporary art galleries close daily from 11.30am to 1.45pm.

Other highlights include a fine collection of primitives that give you a good sense of how artistic and aesthetic sensibilities varied between Italy, Switzerland and the Rhineland in the 13th and 14th centuries; a smattering of old masters such as Lorenzo Lotto; and quite a few naturalistic sculptures by the Dijon-born artist François Rude (1784–1855).

In the courtyard, the ducal kitchens (1433) often host exhibitions of works by local artists.