Toulouse: Cultural outing at the Abbatoirs Museum

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Abattoirs (it means slaughterhouses ...), what a funny name for a museum! Yet it is the mythical museum of modern and contemporary art in Toulouse, an institution for its inhabitants.


Located on the left bank of the Garonne, in the heart of Saint Cyprien district, this little brick jewel opened its doors in 2000, after 3 years of rehabilitation work. As the name suggests, the current cultural complex has housed slaughterhouses from 1831 to 1988. You know everything about the old walls of this museum, it's time to enter.

Entrée musée des abattoirs

The visit of the Abattoirs museum

 

Admission usually costs € 3 per person, but the price may vary depending on the exhibitions. To discover the places without paying a dime, think of the fact that all the national museums are free on the first Sunday of each month! You are coming with your family? For each exhibition, ask for child-friendly educational materials at the museum reception. After your visit to the box office, you can leave your belongings in lockers to be free to visit the  3000 square meters of exhibition.

halle musée des abattoirs

Hall of the Abattoirs Museum

 

The Abattoirs collection comprises around 3,400 works by 950 artists, produced during the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. There are so many that they are not all exposed at the same time. Derived for most of the donation of the collector Anthony Denney and the deposit of the majority of the rooms of the gallerist Daniel Cordier by the center Georges Pompidou, the works are exposed by thematic, with a system of rotation, according to the temporary exhibitions in place. These change approximately every six months. I had the chance to discover the exhibition "Picasso and exile", or how the phenomenon of the Retirada, the expatriation of thousands of Spaniards in France under the dictatorship of Franco, has impacted the work of Pablo Picasso and many contemporary artists.

picasso au musée des abattoirs

Old Picasso Exhibition Poster 


Throughout the rooms, we find a lot of information and contextualization, very useful to understand the link between the works, without prior knowledge.

musée des abattoirs

Showroom upstairs 

The work that impressed me the most is probably The Minotaur's Hideout in Harlequin's Costume; a huge stage curtain of 4.45 x 5.45 meters painted by Pablo Picasso in gouache and Indian ink in 1936, for the play Le Quatorze-juillet by Romain Rolland. It is the centerpiece of the museum's permanent collection, but is visible only six months of the year for conservation reasons.

Musée des abattoirs toulouse

Stage curtain of July 14 by Pablo Picasso 

Throughout the year, the museum addresses a very varied public through guided tours and events:


  • Les Jeudis des Abattoirs: open at night from 6pm to 8pm outside school holidays
  • The Designer's Market, for a weekend, every year at the beginning of December: ideal for original Christmas presents!
  • Concerts throughout the year ...

 

The museum's surroundings: the visit continues! 


Do you think you have already gone around? But Les Abattoirs is not just a museum! We also find on the site a bookstore, a restaurant, an auditorium, a documentation center, workshops, and above all, especially ... the greenery that borders the museum: the beautiful Raymond VI Garden! The day of our visit, the weather was radiant, we walk to admire the sixteen sculptures of modern and contemporary art by famous artists, such as Fernand Léger, Franck Scurti or Franz West, which mark out a pleasant journey up to on the banks of the Garonne.

sculpture jardin du musée des abattoirs

Statue Agoraphobia by Franz West 

In the garden, is also installed a funny carousel that turns the heads of young and old since 1994. Created by the company La Machine, the Beau Manège is inspired by the world of Jules Vernes. Total fascination of children guaranteed!

 

Le Beau Manège photo@Le Beau Manège The Beau Manège, photos from the Facebook page of the Beau Manège


This great ride has dug your stomach? To restore you, you have the choice:

  • A small snack overlooking the Garonne offers snacks and all kinds of cold drinks to sip on the terrace. Be careful the eyes, the view is breathtaking!

snack vue sur la garonne

Snack with a view on the bank of la Garonne

 

  • Quietly nestled in an interior courtyard, the restaurant of the museum hemicycle offers traditional and refined cuisine at prices rather affordable (11 € the dish of the day on weekdays).

Restaurant l'hémicycle

L'hémicycle - Restaurant of the Abattoirs museum

 

More informations

 

How to get there ?

  • walk: a 20-minute walk from Place du Capitole via the iconic Saint Pierre bridge.
  • at VelôToulouse: a station is right in front of the Raymond VI Garden.
  • by metro, line A, stop Saint Cyprien - République

 

Museum Hours:

Open Wednesday to Sunday from 12h to 18h


Did you like our article? Visit the Facebook page of the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide to see lots of pictures and get tips in the region! Follow us on Instagram @guidetoulousepyrenees



Article written by Léa Dürr for the Guide Toulouse Pyrénées


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