Across the Canal de la Haute Seine lies the city’s most outstanding museum, the Musée d’Art Moderne, housed in the old bishops’ palace next to the cathedral on place St-Pierre. The museum displays the private collection built up by industrialist Pierre Lévy (1907–2002) and his wife Denise. Lévy developed a strong friendship with the Fauvist André Derain, and it’s Derain’s work (including the famous paintings of Hyde Park and Big Ben) that forms the collection’s core. For the rest, there are works by Degas, Courbet, Gauguin and Max Ernst, but it’s in no sense a greatest hits of modern art and therein lies its charm: entire rooms are devoted to a particular theme or to the works of lesser-known artists. Another room is given over to a beautiful collection of African carvings.

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