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The Colorful Matisse Paintings in Musee Matisse Le Cateau

In Paris and looking for a museum to view a great collection of Matisse’s Paintings? On a road trip and stopping in Le Cateau? Stop by the fantastic Musee Matisse Le-Cateau. You will not be disappointed!

The Musee Matisse in Le Cateau is a hidden gem! Here you will be rewarded with a first class collection of Matisse Paintings but without the crowds.

History of the Museum

This lovely museum is housed in the former arch-bishop’s Palace in the small town of Le Cateau-Cambrésis where Henri Matisse was born.

Matisse paintings in Musee Le Cateau
Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis by Michael Jones on Flickr
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It is special in that Henri Matisse chose what he wanted to give to the museum and also directed how he wanted the works arranged. 

My fellow citizens of Cateau, whom I left so quickly to go where my destiny led me, wanted to honor my life of work by the creation of this museum … Henri Matisse, November 8, 1952.

Subsequent donations and acquisitions have enlarged the art collection of the museum. Also included in this museum are the works of Auguste Herbin, born in 1882 in a village near Le Cateau, and the magazines and books published by the editor-poet, Tériade.

Henri Matisse paintings
Matisse Paintings and sculptures
Photo by Michael Jones on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What to Expect in this Hidden Gem

The collection includes Matisse paintings, sculptures and paper cutouts. It is organized hronologically, so you really get a feeling of how Matisse developed and evolved as an artist.

There is also a living room that Matisse created for his friend and is now exhibited in the the museum. You will also view stunning stained glass windows designed by Matisse scattered around the museum.

In addition, you will view a model of a Chapel that Matisse designed and created in Vence, a hill top town near the French Riviera with excellent explanations.

Musee Matisse Le Cateau
Gorgeous Stained glass windows by Matisse in the museum
Photo by Michael Jones on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In most museums you just get to see Matisse’s paintings but here there is so much more. Actually, you will not view his most famous paintings here but the museum will give a wonderful background to the diversity of his artistic career & his life story.

Also display are some wonderful artworks by Matisse’s contemporaries – Miro, Picasso, Rouault, Giacommetti, Chagall and others. It’s a fine collection, well worth the effort of seeking it out.

Entrance to the Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis - France travel
Entrance to the Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Photo by Michael Jones on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Stroll around the Gardens

If it is a beautiful day, don’t forget to visit the beautiful gardens behind the Museum. You can walk around the gardens and view the lovely lake, fountain and sculptures created by Matisse and other artists.

The gardens of the Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis
The gardens of the Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Photo by Michael Jones on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The museum has a great gift shop with decent prices. All areas are modern & clean. The museum is also wheelchair accessible. The parking is nearby (with a meter).

All in all, you can easily spend around two hours in this museum.

Museum Information

Address: Palais Fénelon, Place du Commandant Edouard Richez
Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France

Open every day except Tuesday, from 10.00 to 18.00
Closed on January 1st, November 1st and December 25th.

Free lockers available. 
Bulky baggage is not accepted in the museum.

Prices of tickets: 6 € / 4 € Free the first Sunday of the month

Press here for more information regarding current exhibitions and additional information.

Shhhhhh…..remember this is a hidden gem!! Enjoy!!

Matisse Museum in Le Cateau
Photo by Bruno Parmentier  in Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)