The Palais des Beaux Arts

Lille’s masterpiece for art lovers

The Palais des Beaux Arts

Second only to the Louvre in France, the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille is one of the leading museums of Europe.

The Museum’s collections of Spanish, Italian, German, Flemish and Dutch art are its foundation, making it an art lover’s dream. Visitors to the Museum can thank Napoleon for his decree that artistic treasures should not be kept away from the people in the palaces of the aristocracy and the bishops. As the French Empire extended, other countries' treasures were seized and later divided within France. Lille received 46 paintings, many of them renowned masterpieces.

The 22 000 square meter Museum of the Palais des Beaux-Arts is primarily a painting gallery and it features art collections by Goya, Donatello, Raphael, Véronese, Rubens, Jordaens, Ruisdael, and German paintings and sculptures from the 15th to the 16th century. Paintings by French artists ranging from David to Toulouse-Lautrec include three major pieces in French art history: Belisarius Asking for Alms by David, After Dinner at Ornans by Courbet and Sleep by Puvis de Chavannes. In addition, visitors can view two paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by Pieter Codde and Emmanuel de Witte. Other Museum collections include faience, ceramics, raised relief maps, and a large department comprised of 4,000 Italian and French drawings.

Far from being simply an art observatory, the Museum offers specific training for 250 teachers each year, enabling them to provide educational visits for their students. This program was developed by the Educational Services of the Museum in collaboration with School Inspectorate and Education Authority. Program participants have access to documentary files on the museum collections and also teaching tools for ceramics, drawing, sculpture and museography.

Other Museum-provided attractions for visitors include guided tours focused on specific masterpieces or themes, audio-guides, and art and multi-media workshops. The art-history specialized library holds 20 000 publications such as exhibition catalogues, general and theoretical works on art, monographs of artists, and art journals. The documentary collection is also digitalized for easier management and research. Dramatic performances, poetry recitals and musical evenings complete the Museum’s cross-disciplinary approach to education using the collections.

The Museum is financed by the City of Lille, the State, art patrons and sponsors. Major exhibitions are also funded by The Regional and Departmental Councils, the Feder European Fund and the Urban Community of Lille.

Palais des Beaux-Arts

Place de la République
59000 Lille
Tel : +33 (0)3 20 06 78 00
Website : 

Guided visits, conferences, concerts, and educational workshops as well as other cultural activities are held at the Museum. For information, visit the welcome desk or call.

Monday: 2 pm to 6 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 am to 6 pm
Friday: 10 am to 7 pm

Closed: January 1, May 1, July 14, first weekend of September, November 1, and December 25.

Admission: 4,60 € (3 € reduced)
Free admission the first Sunday of each month

Getting there:
From Lille city center, take the convenient new metro system to 'République' station.


By Kari Masson, a freelance writer for travel, cross-cultural, and expatriate-focused publications. More than 50 of her articles have appeared in North America, Europe, and Africa. If you are looking to add dynamic creativity to your publication, contact Kari at 

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