Formerly an ancient Roman city, Cimiez is now the home to several extraordinary sites and museums.
Of course you have the famous Matisse Museum and Chagall Museum, but there is also…
- The Museum of Archaeology built on a massive Roman bath complex
- The Jardins de Cimiez next to the ruins of a Roman Colosseum
- A Franciscan Monastery with its fabulous Italian-style Gardens
Here’s how to get there by Bus:
Take the Bus #15 Rimiez or Bus #17 Monestere/Cimiez both of which can be caught from behind Nice Etoile Shopping Center, behind Galeries Lafayette, or anywhere on rue Geoffredo which runs one block inland from the Promenade du Paillon gardens. Bus #17 actually starts from the train station, and Bus #20 Saint-Sylvestre will get you there from the Port. The Bus #15 runs the most frequently, every 10 minutes during the week and every but it doesn’t run on Sundays or French holidays. Like all bus routes in Nice, it will only cost 1.50€ (or just 1€ if you buy the 10-trip card), and you pay as you board.
For the Matisse Museum, Archaeology Museum and Monastery you get off at the ‘Arenes/Musee Matisse’ stop: If you are on the Bus #15 it’s just after you pass the beautiful Hotel Regina on your left, and on the Bus #17 or the #20 it’s just after the ‘Edouard VII’ stop, and if you stay on a few more minutes, the #17 finishes at the Monastery.
Only one of these buses passes by the Chagall Museum: the Bus #15 Rimiez/St-George. Once the bus is well up the hill and you have a great city view to your left, you know your stop is getting close. After you pass the ‘Rolland Garros’ stop, push the red button and get off at the ‘Musee Chagall’ stop. The museum is via the road on your left. If you stay on for 6 more stops, you arrive at the Matisse Museum.
After the Matisse Museum, if you still have the energy for the Chagall Museum, take Bus #15 or #20 toward Nice for 6 stops, or better yet, take the scenic tree-lined 15-minute downhill walk. To get back to town take any of these buses back down; the Bus #20 comes the most frequently at every 10 minutes during the week and every 20 on Sundays (when the #15 doesn’t run). Due to the one-way streets, the bus takes a slightly different route on the way down, so if you want to get off the closest to Vieux Nice, get off at Place Wilson, which you can recognize by the small park on your right.
Other Transportation Options…
Another option, especially on Sundays when there are less buses, is to take the Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus, which goes right up to both museums every half-hour in summer (every hour in winter), and is much easier to catch. It’s normally whopping 22€ but here’s the trick: if you buy the French Riviera Pass for one day at 26€, it covers your admission to all museums (normally 10€ a pop or 20€ for a day pass), a day on the very reliable and easy to catch Tourist Bus, plus a lot of other stuff like a wine tasting in Old Nice, and a glass of Champagne and a few betting chips at the Casino to sweeten the deal.
If you don’t want to bother with the bus, the quickest easiest option is to just take an Uber, which would cost around 6-7€ from the Old Town to the Chagall Museum and 7-9€ to the Matisse Museum, which is a little farther. Don’t take a regular taxi as it would cost 15-20€ or more.
See related page on Museums in Nice
Photo credit: Matisse Museum by Tubantia, licensed under creative commons.