Last week the husband and I went on a day trip to Lille -- to see the Palais des Beaux Arts (which we had been told was a real treasure chest of "arts" and which to our shame we had never visited). We went through a whole load of domestic debates, trying to find a Saturday when we could make a full day to get there. Then we made the brave and obvious decision: as we work seven days a week anyway (that's a confession not a boast), it would be perfectly OK to go on a weekday! So we opted for a Friday.
I cant say (after a quick visit) that Lille is the kind of place that I would like to take a week's holiday, but -- blimey -- the Palais des Beaux Arts is as good as everyone said it was.
On the ground floor, there is a marvellous collection of nineteenth-century sculpture. The hunk at the top of this post is a nineteenth-century Spartacus. But we were especially entranced by the nineteenth-century French copy, by an artist scholar at the French School in Rome, of the famous "hermaphrodite" (I hadn't quite realised before that this particular piece -- obvious as it might seem -- had been a target for copyists).
And on the basement floor, apart from a few OK bits of Greek pottery etc, there were an extraordinary collection of eighteenth-century landscape relief-models of the countryside and towns around Lille. Never seen anything like them.