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The Top 5 Artistic Places to Visit in the South of France
Artstyle 23 Aug 2022

The Top 5 Artistic Places to Visit in the South of France

The south of France has been an artistic hub for generations. Artists have long flocked to the area to capture the light and vibrant colors which are so unique to this region. From Van Gogh to Monet, the south of France has housed many of the household names we still cherish today. It is perhaps no surprise then that art lovers rush to the region to visit the studios of their favorite artists and to appreciate their favorite works in the local galleries. Let Artsper guide you through the magnificent artistic and cultural landscape of the south of France.

 ''Distance ardente'', au Mrac, Sérignan, 2020. © Aurélien Mole- Contemporary art in the south of France
The exhibition ”Distance ardente”, Mrac, Sérignan, 2020. © Aurélien Mole

1. A contemporary art temple facing an ancient Roman temple: the Musée Carré d’Art, Nîmes

Bringing together libraries, media libraries and a contemporary art gallery under one roof, the Musée Carré d’Art would seem to be the Pompidou Centre of the South. Indeed, following its opening in 1993, the museum quickly established itself as one of a leader in contemporary art. With around 500 works, the collection of Carré d’Art offers an almost panoramic view of contemporary art since the 1960s, there really is something for everyone here!

Musée Carré d'Art © FréquenceSud.fr  Contemporary art museum in the south of France
Musée Carré d’Art © FréquenceSud.fr

2. Pay tribute to Van Gogh at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles

Home to Vincent Van Gogh for a brief period between 1888 and 1889, Arles was where Van Gogh created many of the masterpieces we know and love today. Though his iconic yellow house is no longer there, it is still possible to visit the café depicted in his Café Terrace at Night. If you want to pay further hommage to this master, the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh is the place to go. It houses works both by the painter, and by subsequent generations of artists. The list includes Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney, all of whom share in their Van Gogh inspiration. 

Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles © Arlesevents.com- Contemporary art museum in Arles, the south of France
Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles © Arlesevents.com

3. For an idyllic experience: the Fondation Carmignac

Located on the Porquerolles Island, this collection of contemporary art is an absolute must if you’re in the area. The Carmignac Villa houses over 300 pieces of contemporary art, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is also home to a sculpture garden, with magnificent views over the Port-Cros national park. If you’re a fan of more intimate art experiences, allowing only 50 people in at a time, the Fondation is ideal for you. 

Fondation Carmignac, Villa Carmignac © Fondation Carmignac
Fondation Carmignac, Villa Carmignac © Fondation Carmignac

4. A palace for abstract art: L’espace de l’art concret

Housed in the 16th-century castle of Mouans-Sartoux as well as an eye-catching yellow-green museum building, l’Espace de l’Art Concret presents an offering of more than 700 abstract pieces. These literally paint a vivid and intriguing picture of the multiple trends in geometric abstraction across the 20th century. With its unique setting, and unique pieces, this art center is always worth a visit!

L'espace de l'art concret © eac - abstract art in the south of France
L’espace de l’art concret © eac

5. The most regal of all: Musée des Beaux Arts de Nice

This grandiose museum was built in 1878 by the Ukrainian princess, Élisabeth Kotchoubey. With artworks spanning the 15th to the 20th centuries– Auguste Rodin to Picasso’s ceramics, 17th century Japanese art to Post-impressionism and Fauvism, this gallery is easily worth the steep hike to get there.

Musée des Beaux Arts de Nice © Ville de Nice
Musée des Beaux Arts de Nice © Ville de Nice

Planning your trip…

Clearly the south of France is not lacking in artistic places to visit. From Nîmes to Nice you’re sure to find galleries and studios which encapsulate the irresistible mediterranean charm. Whether you’re in the south for a day trip, or if you live there, make sure to make the most of all the amazing artistic offerings of the region!