Friday, May 7, 2021

Rodez offers a varied trio of museums

A large tapestry is displayed at Musée Fenaille, one of three
notable museums in the French city of Rodez.

Confinement No. 3 is coming to an end, and tourist and cultural sites will soon be open again here in France. It seems remarkable to me that we were actually able to visit these three museums in Rodez last autumn. (One ticket provides admission to all three museums.) 

Our list of places we want to visit is growing. With our new freedom, I plan to resume more frequent posts here on Away to Live. Happy travels, my friends. 

Musée Soulages

Designed around the nearly 500 works of art donated by renowned contempory artist Pierre Soulages and his wife Collette, Musée Soulages is the cultural centerpiece of Rodez. The building itself is an architectural destination. Its glass- and steel-covered exterior blends into the surrounding gardens, and its rust colors on the outside complement Soulages's etchings, lithographs and serigraphs inside. 

Nearly of a third of the 1,500 works of art by Pierre Soulages
are housed at the museum that bears his name in Rodez. 

Artist Pierre Soulage designed the stained-glass windows of
Conques Abbey, about 40 kilometers north of Rodez.
His creative process is showcased at Musée Soulages.

Musée Fenaille

Whereas Musée Soulages was inspired by the generous donation of one artist, Musée Fenaille owes its existence to many. In 1837, a group of scholars belonging to the Society of Letters, Sciences and Arts of Aveyron along with their generous patron Maurice Fenaille, founded the museum. Over the following 160 years, thousands of donors  helped to collect and support a collection encompassing Prehistory, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the 16th century, and the Renaissance. The museum's present location opened in 2002. 

Spread out among 17 rooms on three floors, Musée Fenaille
focuses on Prehistory, ancient Rodez, Rouergue in the
Middle Ages, the 16th century and the Renaissance.

Musée Fenaille's collection of 5,000-year-old menhir statues 
is most impressive. Menhirs are the oldest large-format
representations of humans known in Western Europe.

Skeletons found at an archeological site are displayed at
Musée Fenaille in Rodez.

A sculpture is displayed in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Jouery,
around which Musée Fenaille was built.

The Christ figure, a centerpiece of the Musée Fenaille
collection, came from the Bonnecombe Abbey.

Musée Denys-Peuch

Dedicated to sculpture from the mid-19th century to present day, Musée Denys-Peuch is the third of Rodez's trio of museums. Conceived by sculptor Denys-Peuch, the fine-arts (and contemporary arts) museum was opened in 1910. Visitors to the museum enter a large hall containing statues by Denys-Peuch and two of his contemporaries Maurice Bompard and Eugene Viala. A massive staircase leads to the upper floor where temporary exhibitions are presented. 

Musée Denys-Peuch has a double identity: fine arts and contemporary art.

A huge relief sculpture is displayed at Musée Denys-Puech in Rodez.

The airy upper floor of Musée Denys-Peuch is reserved for
temporary exhibitions.

See and taste Rodez

Our visit to Rodez isn't all art and culture. Our days there afford us time to explore the medium-sized city, and of course, enjoy some food. At the time of our visit, between COVID confinements, some restaurants were open for socially distanced and outdoor dining.

This whimsical bronze statue of a young girl
is located in Rodez.

Rodez's Place de la Cité attracts some young footballers.

Rodez Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez) contains
flamboyant details, inside and out.

The tourist office in Rodez suggests a self-guided tour,
where details such as this can be discovered.

This monument to the fallen children is located
in Rodez.

Built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 18th, Saint-Amans Church
is dedicated to the region's first evangelist bishop. The outside is
Baroque style, and the inside is Neo-Romanesque.

Finding a "real breakfast" can be a challenge when we
travel, but we hit the jackpot in Rodez.

Chocolat chaud with a side of chocolate!