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The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice | © Muesse /WikiCommons
The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice | © Muesse /WikiCommons
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The Best Museums to Visit in Nice, France

Picture of Alex Ledsom
Updated: 16 January 2017
Nice has a lot to offer art lovers, with a multitude of museums that house everything from classic 15th century paintings, right through to pop art from the 1960s. It’s as easy to find work by the well-known masters (a gouache painting by Matisse, Chagall‘s stained glass or an Andy Warhol) as it is to delve into ornate carvings and mosaics from the 19th century. Whatever your taste, Nice offers an opportunity to see a little art in sublime settings – in grand villas by the sea or perched high on hills overlooking the town.
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Musée Matisse

Matisse is one of the most iconic French painters, and this museum offers the chance to get to know both the artist and his work. It houses many of his early paintings as well as his later sketches, plus numerous engravings and sculptures. The 17th century villa was his home (from 1917 to his death in 1954), so it affords a more intimate look at his life (including many of his personal objects) and a chronological perspective on how his work developed over the years.

Opening hours: Mon, Wed–Sun (closed Tues). 10am–6pm (June 23–Oct 15). 11am–6pm (Jan 2–Jan 22/Oct 16–Dec 31). Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25.

164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez, Nice, +33 (0)4 93 81 08 08

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Musée Matisse | © bchookang/WikiCommons

Musée Masséna

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Musée Masséna

Built in 1898 on the famous Promenade des Anglais as a winter residence for the flamboyant aristocrat Victor Masséna, this former house now belongs to the city, having been donated by his son upon his death, on condition it was preserved as a local museum. The Musée Masséna was heavily restored in 2008 and holds many ornate carvings and paintings, and it offers an insight into late 19th century life for the French nobility.

Opening hours: Mon, Wed–Sun (closed Tues), 10am–6pm. (June 23–Oct 15), 11am-6pm. (Jan 2–Jan 22/Oct 16–Dec 31). Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25.

65 Rue de France/35 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, + 33 (0)4 93 91 19 10

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Musée Masséna on the famous Promenade des Anglais | © Cayambe/WikiCommons

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Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985), a Nice resident of Russian-French descent, is probably best known for his paintings that interpret the Old Testament, and this museum houses 40 of them. It has an amphitheatre that hosts intimate concerts, complete with stained glass windows designed by Chagall himself. Picasso is said to have remarked, in the 1950s, that “when Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter who truly understands what colour is”. The museum is free for EU citizens under the age of 26.

Opening hours: Mon, Wed–Sun (closed Tues). 10am–5pm (Nov–Apr). 11am–6pm (May–Oct).

Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25.

36 Avenue Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice, +33 (0)4 93 53 87 20

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Marc Chagall in the 1920s. His museum houses many of his stained glass work, as well as his interpretations of the Old Testament | © Pierre Choumoff/WikiCommons

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Musée des Beaux-Arts

Built in 1878 for Ukranian royal Princess Kojchoubey, the villa alone will leave you breathless (after a steep uphill climb above the town). Get your breath back wandering through the museum, an impressive and expansive collection of art spanning from the 15th to the 20th century, featuring French and Italian classics, through to post-Impressionist paintings. The artwork is so varied that it’s been the target of various heists throughout the years – the last one in 2007, when thieves made off with several Monet paintings.

Opening hours: Tues–Sun (closed Mon). 10am–6pm (June 23–Oct 15). 11am–6pm (Jan 2–Jan 22/Oct 16–Dec 31).

Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25.

33 Avenue des Baumettes, Nice, +33 (0)4 92 15 28 28

Musée des Beaux-Arts

Inside the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nice | © Muesse /WikiCommons

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The Musée MAMAC is dedicated to contemporary art | © Sophie06000/WikiCommons

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MAMAC (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain)

This museum is dedicated to modern American and European art from the 1960s and beyond, including Pop Art and New Realist work. Artists include Andy Warhol and Niki de Saint Phalle, and the terrace offers wonderful panoramic views of the city.

Opening hours: Tues–Sun (closed Mon). 10am–6pm (June 23–Oct 15). 11am–6pm (Jan 2–Jan 22/Oct 16–Dec 31).

Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25.

Place Yves Klein, Nice + 33 (0)4 97 13 42 01


A €10 ticket will allow unlimited admission into many of the museums over a 24-hour period. A €24 ticket will do the same over a seven-day period. The pass includes the MAMAC, the Matisse, the Beaux-Arts and the Masséna, as well as several smaller museums around the city, such as the Photography Museum.

What’s more, most French art museums run workshops for kids and families on various days throughout the year, providing a gentle and fun introduction to painters and different artistic styles. It’s usually quite easy to register for these on the day – if they have space – and they’re not normally more than a few euros each. Ask in the individual museums for more information.