Tickets and Passes for Museums in Nice – Updated for 2021
The municipal museums in Nice have a 15€ admission charge, which might seem steep, but that gives you a 48-hour all-museum pass to all of the museums in Nice (…with the very notable exception of the Chagall Museum, which is national and not municipal).
If you time your first museum right you can spread out your 48-hour pass to cover 3 days: as long as you get in the door before the 48-hours are up, you can stay in as long as you like, so save one of the meatiest museums for last!
Besides the 15€ all-museum pass, there are still several major categories of free:
- Children and teens under 18 are free
- Students of any age get in free (but you have to have student ID)
- Locals can get in free with ID and proof of residence (a recent electricity or phone bill), which then gets you the blue Pass Musée card, good for free entry at all municipal museums for 3 years.
- (Plus, in March, during the promotion Mars aux Musees anyone under 26 is free, and one night in May, during the European Night of the Museums free for everyone from 6pm to 11pm)
The 15€ all access pass is really a deal as Nice has a wealth of small but excellent museums to explore. I love the Matisse museum, which has recently been redone, and can be coupled with the nearby Archaeological museum to tour the Roman Ruins just behind. The vast Museum of Modern Art is pretty fun, and a nice counterbalance to the tiny nearby Palais Lascaris Museum in Old Nice (and you can throw in the Photography Museum on Cours Saleya if you still have the stamina). The Beaux Arts is very impressive and can be done with the elegant Musee Massena… you will absolutely get your money’s worth! Another good coupling is the Terra Amata Caveman Museum with the little Museum of Natural History, especially with kids.
For planning purposes, here are the museums closed Monday: Museum of Modern Art, Beaux Arts, Photography Museum, and Natural History.
…and closed Tuesday: Matisse, Lascaris, Massena, Archaeology (Roman Ruins), Terra Amata (Caveman), and Art Naïf. (Not part of the 48-hour pass, but the Chagall Museum is also closed Tuesday, as is the free Asian Art Museum.)
All museums are closed on Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, and French labor day May 1.
Another helpful planning point: the Museum of Modern Art stays open until 10pm on some Thursdays in the summer.
Tickets for Non-Municipal Museums in Nice
The Chagall Museum is a national museum, so not included in the municipal museum pass (but is included in the French Riviera Pass, see below). It is a small museum so requires an online reservation; entrance is 10€ for adults and it has a free day on the first Sunday of each month.
Free Museums in Nice
There are 4 museums in Nice that are absolutely free to everyone, all the time:
- The Museum of Asian Art located in the Parc Phoenix complex near the airport (closed Tuesdays)
- Espace Ferarro Contemporary Art Museum, a 20 minute walk from the MAMAC, tram stop Jean Médecin (closed Mondays and all of August)
- Villa Arson, a modern art museum adjacent to the institute, open only in the afternoons during exhibitions (closed Tuesdays), located in the hills above Nice, tram stop Le Ray
- The Franciscan Monk Museum on Cimiez near the Matisse Museum, Bus #5, (closed Saturdays and Sundays)
The French Riviera Museum Pass
This could be interesting for museum lovers, depending on your stamina: the French Riviera Pass is good for 24/48/72 hours at a cost of 26€/38€/56€, and available at the tourist office and at some hotels. This pass is good for all the Nice municipal museums but also the Chagall Museum, plus it also gets you in to the Garibaldi Crypt tour, the Russian Cathedral, and Parc Phoenix arboretum. Add in a few choice museums outside of Nice, like the Renoir Museum in Cagnes sur mer, Picasso Museum in Antibes, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, and Villas Rothschild and Kerylos, and this pass could save you some serious dough.
A notable recent addition to the French Riviera Pass is a free boat trip around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat or to the Lerins islands off Cannes, which kind of tips the scales to make this pass really worth it. …And then there are a lot of little touristy extras thrown in: access to the Open Tour hop-on hop-off tourist bus (note: it no longer goes to Cimiez), a 30-minute Segway ride on the Prom, 1 hour electric scooter rental, some Socca or a wine-tasting or a walking tour in the old town, a drink and chips at the Hard Rock Café, a glass of Champagne and a few betting chips at the Casino, and a ride on the little tourist train …and if you take the 3-day pass, Marineland is included.
To really find out if it’s worth it, click here for a cool interactive table where you can just check off the boxes of things you want to do and then see how much it would cost without the French Riviera Pass. This chart was designed for seeing if it is worth it for kids, so if you are an adult, add 15€ for what you would have spent on the municipal museum pass, plus 10€ if you go to Chagall, and a little more for any museums outside of Nice.
Just like with the museum pass, if you time it right you can string your 72-hour pass out over 4 days: as long as you get in the door of your final activity/museum just before the pass expires, you can stay all the rest of the day.
- Back up to main Museum page