We present the first results of the observations of the supernova remnant RX J1713.7–3946 (also known as G347.3–0.5) obtained with the EPIC instrument on board the XMM-Newton satellite. We show a 5-pointings mosaiced image of the X-ray synchrotron emission. We characterize this emission by mapping its spectral parameters (absorbing column density N H and photon index γ). The synchrotron spectrum is flat at the shock and steep in the interior of the remnant. N H is well correlated with the X-ray brightness. A strong N H is found in the southwest rim of RX J1713.7–3946. We suggest that the SNR is interacting with a HI region there.