The magic of the Tour de France arrives at Leeds Museums and Galleries

Caption: Greengrocer's bicycle; large rear wheel, small front; sign mounted in cross member reading "CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD." Basket carrier mounted on front.

As the city prepares for the arrival of the fantastic Grand Départ in just a few weeks’ time, Leeds Museums and Galleries will be celebrating in style with a range of fantastic events and activities.

Beginning the festivities last Saturday was Leeds Art Gallery in an exhibition celebrating the wide range of French art in the city’s vast collection was opened. Available to view as part of the ‘Cross Currents’ exhibition are sculptures by Rodin and a previously unseen new acquisition of a bronze by Edgar Degas that was given in lieu of tax from the estate of Lucian Freud. Also featured in the display are work by Doré, Courbet, Lucien Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Henri Fantin-Latour.

This will feature alongside the ‘Parallel Lives’ exhibition at the art gallery, which now open, is showcasing for the first time the unique talents of Marlow Moss (1889-1958) and Claude Cahun (1894-1954) together, who both lived and worked in France for part of their respective careers.

Marlow Moss was regarded as one of Britain’s most important Constructivist artists and this display of her work includes paintings, reliefs and sculptures primarily concerned with an interrogation of spaces, movement and light. Sitting aside Moss’s work will be that of Cahun’s providing riveting photographic self-portraits of the artist acting out her diverse identities both male and female in scenes that range from the starkly minimal to the elaborately staged.

At Leeds City Museum, there will also be the chance to see a new ‘Bicyclism’ exhibition which opens today that will celebrate both the love and passion which people from all walks of life have for cycling. Part of the exhibition will include photos of people from Leeds from both the past and present enjoying a ride on their bikes.

In what also promises to be a fantastic occasion, French music and songs are set to light up the glorious surroundings of Temple Newsam House as Maggi Stratford performs her brilliant show ‘Encore’ on Sunday 29 June from 2pm -6pm.

Kirkstall Abbey will also be joining in with the fun as it hosts a French themed deli market on 28 June from 12noon-3pm and a craft and collectable market on 29 June also from 12noon-3pm. A day before the Grand Départ begins, under 5s will also have the chance to take part in their own Tour de France as part of a mini ‘Petit Peddlers’ cycle ride round the abbey cloisters on Friday 4 July from 10.15am -11.30am.

Home to over one million objects Leeds Discovery Centre will also be raiding its collection on 3 July from 11am-12noon and 2pm -3pm to display all things related to cycling as part of a special tour.

As part of the ‘Snapshot of Yorkshire’ exhibition at Abbey House Museum, visitors can also see for themselves why judges decided to bring one of the world’s greatest sporting events to Leeds as the life, culture and stereotypes of the region are explored and acclaimed.

A special park and cycle day will also be available on the 5 July at Thwaite Mills. Keen cyclists can park their cars at Thwaite Mills for just £5 all day, and then grab their bikes and take a leisurely ride to a destination on the route where accessible, to watch the riders in the race. All people parking in the Thwaite Mills car park will also be entered into a free raffle, where the lucky winners will be given free access to the museum or Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.

Finally at Leeds Art Gallery, families are invited on 12 July from 11am-12noon to hail the culmination of the Tour de France by taking part in a number of interesting and fun drop-in activities.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"It is very exciting to think that the Tour de France will be arriving in Leeds very soon, and we will be joining in with the celebrations at museums and galleries by hosting a range of brilliant events and activities that we hope will capture the imagination of both residents and visitors to the city.

"There really is something for everyone, and we hope as many people of possible will be able to enjoy our packed programme as the countdown begins to this once in a lifetime occasion."

Notes to editors:

For more information on events and admission, please visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries

Events at Leeds Museums & Galleries:

Leeds City Museum

Bicyclism at Leeds City Museum

Tues 25 June – Mon 7th July

Abbey House Museum

Snapshot of Yorkshire

Open Until 28 Dec 2014

Temple Newsam

Encore! Glorious French Music and Songs at Temple Newsam

Sun 29 June, 2pm – 4pm, £8/£6 (no additional house admission charge if visiting the concert only)

Kirkstall Abbey

French-themed Deli Market at Kirkstall Abbey

Sat 28th June, 12pm – 3pm

French-themed Crafts & Collectables Market at Kirkstall Abbey

Sun 29th June, 12pm – 3pm

Pettit Peddlers at Kirkstall Abbey

Friday 4th July, 10.15am – 11.30am

Leeds Art Gallery

Cross Currents. French Art in the Leeds Collection at Leeds Art Gallery

Opens Sat 21st June

Parallel Lives at Leeds Art Gallery –

Open until 7th Sept

Tour De Art at Leeds Art Gallery

12th July, 11am – 2pm

Leeds Discover Centre

All things bicycles guided tour, Leeds Discovery Centre

Thurs 3rd July, 11am – 12pm and 2pm – 3pm

Thwaite MillsSaturday

5 July - £5 parking all day.

For further details, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk