The star of the left bank is undoubtedly Toulouse’s contemporary art gallery, Les Abattoirs. This splendid venue is not only one of France’s best contemporary art museums, but an inspiring example of urban regeneration, constructed in a vast brick abattoir complex dating from 1828. The space is massive, with huge chambers perfectly suited to displaying even the largest canvases. The collection comprises over two thousand works (painting, sculpture, mixed- and multimedia) by artists from 44 countries; the most striking piece is undoubtedly Picasso’s massive 14m by 20m theatre backdrop, La dépouille du Minotaure en costume d’Arlequin, painted in 1936 for Romain Rolland’s Le 14 juillet, and which towers over the lower gallery.

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