The top exhibitions to catch in France in 2022

This year we're heading back to France's great museums and letting ourselves be moved by artworks again. The beautiful exhibitions planned in France in 2022 promise novelty, light and poetry. Here's our selection.

"Yves Klein, L'Infini Bleu" at the Carrières des Lumières in Baux-de-Provence

Until 2 January 2023

An immersive dive into the infinite blue sky of the Mediterranean, from which Yves Klein, a major artist of the 20th century, drew inspiration for his emblematic monochromes. Considered as an immaterial and spiritual shield, the sky is a central element of Klein's work who, in a context of space conquest and nuclear armament, shares with his contemporaries a new idealism around freedom. Dive into the blue without hesitation... both digital and sensory, the experience can be extended with "Venice, the Serenissima", a journey through the city of Venice, on at the same time at the Carrières des Lumières.

Visit the Carrières des Lumières, Baux-de-Provence (External link)

"Becoming a flower" at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice

Symbols of the Côte d'Azur, flowers are taking over 11 museums in Nice for the fifth edition of the Biennale des Arts de Nice. Just a few steps from the famous flower market on Cours Saleya and the iconic Promenade des Anglais, scene of the Nice carnival, the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) invites visitors to an ecological and anthropological reflection on flowers, based on 80 works by historical, contemporary and emerging artists from the 1960s to the present day. A poetic stroll.

Visit the MAMAC in Nice, Côte d'Azur (External link)

"Fernand Léger: Life with a Vengeance" at the Musée Soulages in Rodez

Until 6 November 2022

"Seize life with both hands" is the motto that Fernand Léger, a Cubist painter, assigned to his artistic experience, and which is reflected in his modern work inspired by Braque and Picasso. Thanks to loans of works from the Centre Pompidou and the Fernand Léger National Museum in Biot, the exhibition will trace a path that invites visitors to discover themes dear to Léger: the modern city, the world of work, leisure activities and the relationship he had with Soulages.

Visit the Musée Soulages in Rodez (External link)

"A Table avec André Hambourg" at the Franciscaines de Deauville

Until 1 January 2023

The new exhibition of the André Hambourg Museum housed in the cultural space Les Franciscaines, in Deauville, gives a special place to the concept of still lifes or rather "silent lives" as the painter from Normandy liked to say. A singular artistic genre that has been reinvented many times over. On the menu: apples and pears, of course, oysters and large, colourful, warm tables. The exhibition also includes works by artists from the 18th century to the present day such as Jean-Siméon Chardin, Francis Harburger and Daniel Spoerri. Bon appétit!

Visit Les Franciscaines, in Deauville, Normandy (External link)

"Mimèsis" at the Centre Pompidou in Metz

Until 16 January 2023

"Art imitates nature" said Aristotle - and what more recurrent theme in art than nature? This year, the Centre Pompidou-Metz invites us to consider design as a true mimetic of life and nature, through the ideas of the great designers of modernity in France, Scandinavian countries and Japan. From Alvar Aalto to Sori Yanagi and French designers Charlotte Perriand and Serge Mouille, discover the influence of nature and biomimicry on design through iconic objects of modernism.

Visit the Centre Pompidou-Metz, in Lorraine (External link)

"C'est pas du gâteau" at the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon

Until 30 April 2023

A new tourist attraction in the capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, Dijon's Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin unveils the secrets of French pastry with its first temporary exhibition entitled "C'est pas du gâteau". Under the patronage of Pierre Hermé, the exhibition begins with a tour of the world of desserts before delving into the history of the pastries for which France is famous, and their creators, with macaroons at the forefront. Galette des rois, Christmas logs, gingerbread, a local speciality, you will exalt your senses before being initiated into virtual baking. A mouth-watering visit to all gourmets and lovers of the French and Burgundian art of living!

Visit the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon, Burgundy (External link)

Venice in the spotlight at the Bassins des Lumières in Bordeaux

Until 2 January 2023

Since 2020, the Bassins des Lumières have been set up in the former Bordeaux submarine base, offering sound and light shows with grandiose effects. This year, visitors are transported to Venice, an immersive 45-minute stroll through canals, alleys and squares. A dive into the history of art, from Byzantine mosaics to the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. A second, shorter projection highlights the seaside paintings of the internationally renowned Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla. Fabulous!

Visit the Bassins des Lumières in Bordeaux (External link)

"Hieroglyphics" at the Louvre-Lens

From 28 September 2022 until 16 January 2023

To mark the 200th anniversary of hieroglyphics first being deciphered, the Louvre-Lens is organising a major exhibition dedicated to one of the most fascinating scripts of Egyptian civilisation. The first Egyptian texts came down to us more than five millennia ago (3100 BC) and they were not deciphered until 1822, by French scholar Jean-François Champollion. The exhibition is a great way to build on a visit to the Egyptian wing of the Louvre in Paris and celebrate the 10th anniversary of its little sister in Lens.

Visit the Louvre-Lens, in Northern France (External link)

A "Manifesto of Fragility", the Lyon MAC at the time of the Biennale

From 14 September to 31 December 2022

A not-to-be-missed event for lovers of contemporary creation, the 16th edition of the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art explores the theme of fragility and resistance, with history as a common thread. At the Contemporary Art Museum of Lyon, the exhibition "Beirut and the Golden Sixties" draws on the turbulent history of Lebanon to highlight the interconnections between art, culture and the polarisation of political ideologies through artworks and archival documents from private collections. On the first floor, a second installation, "The Many Lives and Deaths of Louise Brunet", reconsiders history as a sum of small stories where marginal voices occupy a central place in the national narrative.

Visit Lyon MAC (External link)
Biennale de Lyon (External link)

"Celtic", at the Musée de Bretagne, Rennes

Until 4 December 2022

Legendary forests, triskell, druids, folk music... Since the Middle Ages, Brittany has been linked to the Celtic culture. But what is it really? Are the Bretons really the heirs of the Celtic civilisation that appeared in the Iron Age? Take advantage of a visit to Rennes, the capital of the Brittany region, to find out about these thousand-year-old mysteries at the Musée de Bretagne. The "Celtic?" exhibition allows you to test your knowledge with the help of coins and works of art such as the sculpted busts of Trémuson, discovered in 2019. The visit also evokes the Celtic influence in contemporary culture such as the practice of tattooing...

Visit the Musée de Bretagne, in Rennes (External link)

Niki de Saint Phalle on display at the Abattoirs, Toulouse

From 7 October 2022 to 5 March 2023

The Abattoirs de Toulouse, a major centre for modern and contemporary art in the Occitanie region, is paying tribute to Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) in an exhibition devoted to the 1980s and 1990s. This was a prolific period for the Franco-American artist who multiplied her commissions while developing her famous Tarot Garden: Nikki de Saint Phalle created works for public spaces such as the Stravinsky Fountain in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, pieces of furniture, numerous jewels and lithographs, inflatable objects and countless accessible works that make everyday life exceptional.

Visit the Abattoirs in Toulouse, Occitanie (External link)

"Le Voyage en Train" at the Nantes Museum of Art

From 21 October 2022 to 5 February 2023

Landscapes, territories, movements, panoramas... The rise of the railways in the 19th century revolutionised travel and our conception of time and space (but also that of artists). Nearly 200 years after the first locomotives were put into circulation, the Nantes Art Museum recounts the railway adventure through the prism of painting. The exhibition "Le Voyage en Train" brings together 80 works showing both the criticism and the enthusiasm generated by this major technological development. A contemporary installation features a miniature electric train, raising questions about the future of the train, which is still considered a modern mode of transport because of its low carbon footprint. The exhibition, which has never been shown before in France, is also in line with the identity of Nantes, which is marked by the technical imagination, from the Jules Verne Museum to the Machines de l'île and the future Cité des Imaginaires.

Visit Nantes Art Museum, Nantes, Atlantic Loire Valley (External link)

"Amitiés, créativité collective" at the Mucem in Marseille

From 19 October 2022 to 13 February 2023

Philosophers, writers, musicians, filmmakers... Artists have often relied on friendship and the meeting of creative energies to produce spontaneous collaborative works often rejected by academic historians despite their great artistic value. From "L'Album zutique" (1871), a project co-written by a dozen subversive poets, including Verlaine and Rimbaud, to "L'Œil cacodylate" (1921) by Picabia and his friends, to the "Grand tableau antifasciste collectif" (1960), a choral cry of revolt against colonialism and torture,
The MUCEM ( Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations) unveils some of these experimental works while raising the question of market values in art.

Visit the Mucem in Marseille, Provence (External link)