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Visit Valenciennes

And its town centre from the hotel

Valenciennes is a town that may just surprise you, being both full of charm and yet low-key. Discover this wonderful town, passing along its paths and its lively squares, and past its incredibly rich monuments. Nicknamed the “Athens of the North” due to its citizens’ artistic achievements (21 Prix de Rome first-prize winners including the sculptor Carpeaux, as well as thirty or so second-prize winners), Valenciennes is a town to explore on foot. The tourist office offers a walk that lasts 90 minutes where you can explore Old Valenciennes passing by the superb Place des Armes, the Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon basilica, the Watteau fountain by the Saint-Géry church (one of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s greatest works in France), and the lovely Place du Neuf Bourg lined with superb old houses.

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Musée des Beaux-Arts

A must-visit in Valenciennes

If you love art, you won’t want to leave Valenciennes without having visited the Musée des Beaux-Arts, entirely renovated in 2015. At this art museum, there’s a large space dedicated to artists from Valenciennes. In particular, there are the works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, whose sculptures adorn the vast and light room, the paintings by Watteau and his disciples, and masterpieces by 16th and 17th century Flemish artists (including Rubens, Bosch, Bruegel and Van Dyck). Indeed, the museum has the second largest national collection of Flemish paintings after the Louvre.

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Culture in Valenciennes

Le Phénix, national arts centre

Valenciennes has a wide array of cultural programming to offer, notably at Le Phénix, just 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel. As well as being one of France’s “scènes nationales” (national civic performing arts centre), it’s a major hub for contemporary creativity in Europe.

Around a hundred programmed events take place each year, including theatre, circus, dance and music. There are also two festivals - the Next Festival and the Festival du Cinéma.