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Fodor's France 2014
Palais des Ducs (Ducal Palace)
Palais des Ducs (Ducal Palace) Review
The elegant, classical exterior of this former palace can best be admired from the half-moon Place de la Libération and the cour d'honneur. The kitchens (circa 1450), with their six huge fireplaces and (for their time) state-of-the-art aeration funnel in the ceiling, catch the eye, as does the 15th-century Salle des Gardes (Guard Room), with its richly carved and colored tombs and late-14th-century altarpieces. The palace now houses one of France's major art museums, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum). The magnificent tombs sculpted for dukes Philip the Bold and his son John the Fearless (note their dramatically moving mourners, hidden in shrouds) are just two highlights of a rich collection of medieval objects and Renaissance furniture gathered here as testimony to Marguerite of Flanders (Philip the Bold's wife). She brought to Burgundy not only her dowry, namely the rich province of Flanders, but also a host of distinguished artists—including Rogier van der Weyden, Jan van Eyck, and Claus Sluter. Their artistic legacy can be seen here, as well as at several of Burgundy's other museums and monuments. Among the paintings are works by Italian old masters and French 19th-century artists, such as Théodore Géricault and Gustave Courbet, plus their Impressionist successors, notably Édouard Manet and Claude Monet. Already a top stop, the museum will be even more impressive in 2014 when a new wing opens.
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