From ancient to contemporary

Discovering the Departmental Museum of Ancient and Contemporary Art

Couple en voyage

Sylvia & Daniel

Explore one of the most important museums in Lorraine

  • For you, Epinal Tourism is : The opportunity to discover a destination with unsuspected treasures
  • Your favourite local dish : Camerise juice
  • Your favourite local tourist site : The Gentrey Mill

The allure of a large glass vessel

Looking for an indoor activity to do on a winter Sunday, we discovered the Musée d’art ancien et contemporain (Museum of Ancient and Contemporary Art), located in the heart of Epinal.

More than 30,000 objects and works of art, from prehistory to the art of the 21st century, are preserved in this 4,000m2 building with modern architecture. To our surprise, admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and a guided tour on a different theme is offered.

We are immediately captivated by this open-air museum, with a monumental glass nave.  Arrived at the beginning of the afternoon and the guided tour taking place at 4pm, we are offered audio guides for 1€ extra. We choose this option in order to ensure us an optimal free visit.

Works for all tastes

The museum is spread over three levels: the first floor is dedicated to ancient and Gallo-Roman history; the second floor houses the permanent Fine Arts collections as well as the temporary exhibition of the moment, while the top floor is reserved for an international contemporary art collection.

We start our visit with the permanent exhibitions. The rooms are wide and well lit. We follow a chronological path that invites us to discover some nuggets of world-famous artists such as Rembrandt, Claude Gelée, De La Tour, Newton, Warhol or Villeglé.

During the visit, we are surprised by the variety of the collections, from archaeology to contemporary art. A surprising but pleasant contrast! Like a journey in time, through the centuries.

The beauty of pastels

We end our visit with the temporary exhibition. Until May 5, 2022, the museum is showcasing its collection of pastels. One of the most fragile techniques, sensitive to light but also to vibrations, which makes their presentation rare. We feel privileged to be able to enjoy it!

We enter a dark room with walls painted in a lilac hue that fits perfectly with the theme of the exhibition. The sunlight is filtered through images on the windows, giving us a mysterious and intimate atmosphere.

About thirty unpublished works are revealed, we are amazed by the quality and diversity of this collection.

Between city and garden

At the back of this room, we discover the main room of this exhibition: The Closed Eyes of Odilon Redon. Landscapes with impressionist accents compose the continuation of the exhibition with the works of Victor Guillaume then the still lifes of Étienne Cournault. To close the exhibition, a small abstract pastel by Zoom Walter testifies to the fascination of contemporary artists for this technique.

The least we can say is that this museum is full of treasures. We put nearly 2:30 am to see everything, the afternoon passed at full speed. We recover our personal stuffs remained in safety in the lockers dedicated to the entrance of the museum, then we regain our car parked near, on the carpark of the Champ de Mars. On the way back, a ray of sunshine allows us to enjoy a walk in the Parc du Cours, a 28-hectare English-style park located on the banks of the Moselle. It is confirmed, Épinal does not miss attractions! We will have to come back soon to discover the other secrets the city has in store for us.

For children and adults alike

Free on the first Sunday of the month

Creative workshops for all audiences

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