FRAC-Grand-Large-La-couleur-de-leau-Nicolas-Floch-2022_credit-Aurelien-Mole-2.jpg
©Aurelien Mole

Encounters with Contemporary Art

Live the spirit of contemporary art! While it’s true that contemporary art can be a source of contemplation and frequently of controversy, we also often come up against it in unusual places and sharing the experience with friends makes it more enjoyable. Our emotions are most deeply stirred when the art is set in a contrasting context, for instance tucked away in a medieval tower, or on a pier jutting out into the North Sea.

Northern France _ Lille _ hall du Tripostal © Lille 3000Northern France _ Lille _ hall du Tripostal © Lille 3000
©Northern France, Lille, hall du Tripostal|Lille 3000

Places to experience contemporary art

The Tri Postal & Gare Saint-Sauveur in Lille

Lille residents who enjoy a relaxed creative vibe have two main art venues they like to hang out at – former mail-sorting office the “Tri Po” (Tri Postal), which hosts shows by contemporary artists of every nationality, and “Saint-So” (Gare Saint Sauveur). Housed in the former freight station of Saint Sauveur, this cultural hub holds events of all kinds, from exhibitions to film screenings. It’s also home to hip casual eatery the Bistrot St So, serving international and fusion food made with fresh produce. The art here is for all ages, with plenty of shows laid on especially for children. So fill up on culture and tasty food all in one place!

FRAC Grand Large in Dunkirk

The Grand Large regional contemporary art collection in Dunkirk repurposes another landmark building from Hauts-de-France’s industrial past. With its two vast transparent hangars looking out over the North Sea, this art centre breathes new life into France’s old shipyards. Its occasionally surprising exhibitions give you a flavour of the latest artistic trends sweeping the world. One tableau you’ll never tire of is the beautiful view from the top floor out over the North Sea. Enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation watching the sometimes stormy waves of the North Sea rolling in… It’s a tremendous sight, and very conducive to private reflection!

The Donjon de Vez in the Autumn valley

The Donjon de Vez in the Oise region creates a dialogue between the Middle Ages and contemporary art. Visiting this historic landmark is an intensely emotional experience. At first sight the daunting 27-metre-high keep seems impenetrable with its arrow-slitted curtain walls, but enter the gardens scattered with contemporary sculptures and you feel as if you’re on a journey between the two realms. That harmonious duality continues throughout the château’s rooms, especially in the chapel with light filtering in through Buren’s stained-glass windows.

Local's tip

Laurence ClaeysenLaurence Claeysen
The LAAC (Place of Contemporary Art and Action)

If you’re interested in art, I suggest the LAAC and its sculpture garden. You’ll be able to see works from the 1940s to the Eighties, including pieces by Niki de Saint Phalle, Ben, Andy Warhol, Armand, and Vasarely, along with expansions and compressions by César. My favourite is Karel Apple’s Circus.

The startling building was built specifically to house them. Its shape echoes the cranes that were used at the shipyards, which used to be nearby. It’s set in the heart of a sculpture garden.

Laurence CLAEYSEN, Greeter, expert in heritage tourism in and around Dunkirk
section-banner-bottom

Useful info

Address

Avenue Willy Brandt

F-59000 LILLE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 20 14 47 60

 

Address

17 Boulevard Jean-Baptiste Lebas

F-59000 LILLE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 20 99 01 78

 

Address

Grand Large 503 Avenue des Bancs de Flandres

F-59140 DUNKERQUE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 28 65 84 20

www.fracnpdc.fr

Address

3 bis rue de la Croix Rebours

F-60117 VEZ

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)9 71 40 54 24

www.donjondevez.com

Address

1 boulevard des Cités Unies

F-59777 EURALILLE-LILLE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 20 14 15 16

www.lille.art-up.com

Address

302 avenue des Bordées

F-59140 DUNKERQUE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 28 29 56 00

www.musees-dunkerque.eu