Whether you fancy roaming through Nice’s archaeological Roman remains, ambling through historical artefacts from the Belle Époque period of French history or hunting down Niki de Saint Phalle’s Shooting Paintings from the 1970s, Nice has a staggering range of museums to discover.
Nice’s museums cater mostly to art lovers, with a multitude of museums that house everything from classic 15th-century paintings, right through to Pop art from the 1960s. Whatever your taste, Nice offers an opportunity to see art in sublime settings – in grand villas perched high on hills overlooking the town or in state-of-the-art buildings with a roof terrace to die for. It’s as easy to find work by the well-known masters (a gouache painting by Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows or an Andy Warhol, perhaps) in Nice as it is to delve into ornate carvings and mosaics from the 19th century.
Built in 1898 on the famous Promenade des Anglais as a winter residence for the flamboyant aristocrat Victor Masséna, the Musée Massena offers an interesting insight into late-19th-century life for the French nobility. The former house now belongs to the city, having been donated to Nice by Victor Masséna’s son upon his father’s death, on condition that it was preserved as a local museum. The museum was heavily restored in 2008 and holds many ornate carvings and paintings from the Belle Époque period and its collection includes one of many copies of Napoleon’s death mask.
Admission to the MAMAC, Matisse, Beaux-Arts, Archéologique and Masséna museums are all included in the price of a “Ticket Individuel 24h”, which costs €10 for 24 hours. Alternatively, a 7-day ticket costs €20. During these time periods, you can visit each museum on as many occasions as you wish.