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Museums You Can’t Miss in Nice !

a painting hanging on a wall in a museum

As you wander through the French Riviera, make sure to explore the museums in Nice. This city isn’t just about beaches and streets; it’s also rich in culture. From the colorful artworks at the Chagall Museum to ancient finds at Cimiez, Nice’s museums offer a peek into the city’s artistic and historical heritage, showcasing why Nice is a must-visit for culture lovers. 


The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) is located right in the center of Nice, at Place Yves Klein. This museum focuses on different types of art like paintings, sculptures, and photos. It’s a big building with a classic design that includes large square shapes and arches. The museum was built in 1990 by architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal and has four floors and a rooftop area that are connected by glass bridges between four tall marble towers.

One of the special artworks here is a long wall painting by Tania Mouraud, which fits perfectly with the museum’s design and the city’s vibe.

long wall painting by Tania Mouraud
The museum is also famous for having a special area dedicated to Yves Klein, known for creating a unique shade of blue. It also has one of the largest collections of Niki de Saint Phalle’s works in Europe.

MAMAC is open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM, except on Mondays, and it costs €10 to get in. Visitors usually spend around 1.5 to 2.5 hours here. The museum displays works by other artists too, like Arman, Ben (Vautier), and Andy Warhol, and includes styles like New Realism and Pop Art.

The museum is also visitor-friendly with features like a restaurant and a coffee shop. It’s wheelchair accessible, making it easy for everyone to explore. If you want to learn more during your visit, the museum offers guided tours for both individuals and groups for an extra fee. However, it’s busiest during the summer months from July to August because many tourists come to Nice.

MAMAC is just a five-minute walk from Place Garibaldi, and there’s a paid parking area if you’re driving. They also have storage for bags, which you can ask about at the entrance.
Overall, this museum is a great place to see amazing art and enjoy the beautiful architecture.

The MAMAC closed its doors on January 7, 2024. The renovation work at the MAMAC will last four years. The museum will undergo a comprehensive renovation campaign to meet the challenges of a 21st-century museum and enhance its international reputation.

Marc Chagall

The Marc Chagall National Museum is in Nice, located at Avenue Dr. Ménard. This art museum, which opened on July 7, 1973, showcases a wide variety of art forms including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It is especially famous for having one of the largest collections of works by Marc Chagall.
The museum was designed by architect André Hermant in close collaboration with Chagall himself. It’s recognized for its outstanding contemporary architecture. When you visit, make sure not to miss the artwork “Abraham and the Three Angels” by Chagall.

Abraham and the three angels by Chagall
Marc Chagall, the main artist featured, was born on July 7, 1887, in Vitebsk, Belarus. He started his artistic career in Russia and moved to Paris in 1911, where he was influenced by the avant-garde movements of the time. His early masterpieces, like “Golgotha” and “Hommage à Apollinaire,” laid the foundation for his fame.
The museum focuses mainly on Surrealism, reflecting Chagall’s style, but doesn’t display works from other artists.
It’s open from 10 AM to 1 PM and from 2 PM to 5 PM, but it’s closed on Tuesdays. 

Entry costs €8, and a typical visit lasts about an hour.

The museum is accessible to people with disabilities and includes a coffee shop for visitors. It’s a 15-minute walk from Gare Thiers station.
If you want a guided tour, you need to book in advance for up to 20 people, costing €5 per adult (with a reduced museum ticket price) and €4 for visitors under 26, who get free museum entry.
There is parking available, but no luggage storage services are offered.


Matisse Museum

The Matisse Museum in Nice is located at 164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez. This museum, set in a beautifully renovated 17th-century Genoese villa amid the olive groves of the Cimiez gardens, focuses on both archaeology and art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It specifically highlights the Fauvism movement, featuring works by Henri Matisse, who lived in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954.

Henri Matisse, the main artist showcased, was born in 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, and died in 1954 in Nice. He was a leader in the Fauvism movement along with André Derain and was considered a rival and friend of Pablo Picasso. Matisse discovered his passion for painting during a long recovery from appendicitis at age 20, when his mother gave him a paint set. He later studied in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts under Gustave Moreau, meeting influential artists like Georges Rouault and Albert Marquet. His vibrant use of color at a 1905 exhibition sparked the term “Fauvism,” a new artistic movement.

(Fauvism, the first 20th-century movement in modern art, was initially inspired by the examples of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne.)

The museum is open every day except Tuesday. From November 1 to April 30, it’s open from 10 AM to 5 PM, and from May 2 to October 31, it opens from 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission is €10. A visit usually takes about an hour.

The museum is accessible to people with disabilities and includes a shop. While it mainly features Matisse, it also hosts temporary exhibitions of other artists. Although there’s no storage for bags, there’s nearby parking at the monastery. It’s a short 9-minute walk from the Monastère de Cimiez. Visitors often praise the beautiful location and the unique and wonderful artworks. You can book guided tours in advance to get a deeper understanding of the displays.

Cimiez Archaeological Museum

The Cimiez Archaeological Museum is an archaeological museum located at 160 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez in Nice. Established in January 1989, it replaced an earlier museum that had been set up in 1960 in what is now the Matisse Museum. This museum sits on the hill of Cimiez, the site of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum, which was once the capital of the Maritime Alps region.

Visitors to the museum can explore extensive archaeological remains, including three complete thermal baths from the 1st to the 3rd centuries, streets, a residential area with shops, and an amphitheater. The site also includes significant early Christian structures, such as a cathedral and a baptistery, marking the last phases of urban life in Cemenelum from the 5th century onward.

The museum is open from 10 AM to 6 PM but is closed on Tuesdays. Admission costs €5, and a typical visit lasts about an hour. The museum is accessible for people with disabilities and includes a gift shop. Annually, it attracts about 32,000 visitors, who often describe it as very interesting and well-maintained. 

It’s just a minute’s walk from the Matisse Museum, making it easy to visit both sites in one trip. Although there is no parking or luggage storage available at the museum, guided tours are offered to enhance the visitor experience.


Massena Museum

The Massena Museum is located at 65 Rue de France in Nice, right near the famous Promenade des Anglais. This museum, housed in a neoclassical villa built from 1898 to 1901 by Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling, offers a glimpse into art and history, focusing particularly on the local history and the Belle Époque period.

The villa was initially the winter residence of Prince Victor d’Essling, the grandson of André Masséna from Nice. After Victor’s death, his son André donated the property to the city of Nice in 1919, and the museum opened in 1921. Noteworthy items include Napoleon’s death mask by Doctor Arnolt, Empress Joséphine’s diadem, and a book written by Prefect Liegeard.

Art from the Belle Époque dominates, with works by artists like Louis Bréa and Pierre-Auguste Renoir also on display. The museum is open daily from 11 AM to 6 PM, except on Tuesdays, and entry costs €10. Most visitors spend between 1 to 2 hours exploring the exhibits.

The museum is accessible for people with disabilities and includes a gift shop. While there’s no direct link to a website provided here, the museum attracts around 90,000 visitors each year, who often praise its beautiful gardens. It’s just a 2-minute walk from the Negresco Hotel. Guided tours are available upon reservation, and there is paid parking nearby at a rate of €6.20 for two hours. There are facilities close to the museum for storing luggage.

Palais Lascaris

The Palais Lascaris is an art museum located at 15 rue Droite in the heart of Nice’s old town. This museum is renowned for its remarkable Baroque architecture, featuring a grand staircase decorated with frescoes and luxuriously adorned salons. Built in the mid-17th century for the Lascaris-Vintimille family, considered one of the most distinguished noble families by Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy, the palace showcases the evolution of Baroque architecture from the early 17th to the late 18th century.

After changing hands and undergoing significant damages post-Revolution, the city of Nice bought the palace in 1942 and restored it to its former glory. It reopened as a municipal museum in 1970 after extensive rehabilitation and has been recognized as a “Musée de France.”

Visitors to the Palais Lascaris can explore an exquisite collection of decorative arts and fine arts from the 17th and 18th centuries, including tapestries, paintings, sculptures, furniture, and other art objects. There is also a prestigious collection regional ethnographic materials.

Key artists featured include Luigi Caldera and Tissier-Grandpierre. The museum is open from 10 AM to 6 PM but closed on Tuesdays. The entrance fee is €5, and a typical visit lasts about an hour. Due to the many stairs, the museum is not accessible for people with disabilities. It does not offer parking or luggage storage, but it does have a gift shop. Situated just a minute’s walk from the St. Reparate Cathedral, the museum annually attracts about 60,000 visitors, who frequently praise its rich content and beautiful setting. Guided tours are available upon request.


The museums of Nice offer a compelling reason to visit this beautiful city on the French Riviera. Each museum not only tells a unique story through its collections and exhibits but also highlights the rich cultural tapestry of Nice. From art movements captured in vivid artworks to profound historical artifacts, these cultural institutions are essential destinations for any traveler looking to immerse themselves in the art and history that shape the region. As Nice continues to evolve, its museums remain at the heart of its cultural allure, promising enriching experiences for visitors from around the world.

If you want to experience the best that Nice has to offer, consider booking a guided tour with us. We are dedicated to helping you explore the city’s rich cultural and historical treasures, ensuring that your visit leaves you with unforgettable memories.
See you in Nice !!!