Best Art Museums

Explore the wealth of amazing art museums both in Nice and the surrounding Riviera towns, even as far as Provence. Here’s our list of the best museums…

Just click the links for pages with all the details, extras, anecdotes, and what not to miss.

I especially love single-artist dedicated museums as you get such a great sense of their body of work, you can witness their evolution, and it makes their style and struggles come alive.

Matisse Museum Exterior


Matisse Museum in Nice

One of the world’s largest collections of the art of Henri Matisse, tracing his evolution from the beginning, through his Nice period, and up to his last works.


Chagall Museum in Nice  (15 min. walk from Matisse)Inside the Chagall Museum in Nice

A museum created by the artist himself, who chose the theme, the paintings, installed the immense mosaic and stained glass, designed the layout of the gardens, and even chose the exact placement for each painting.  Not included in the Nice Municipal Museum Pass.


Picasso in Nice


Picasso Museum in Antibes

In 1946 Picasso spent a joyous year in Antibes using this magnificent seaside chateau as his workshop, and creating some of his most famous paintings.


Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-mer

This was Auguste Renoir’s family home, and this little gem of a museum invites a very rare and personal view of the artist, his daily life, and the importance of his family.  You can even peek into his studio and see his brushes and the colors that were the last on his pallet.


Jean Cocteau art posterJean Cocteau Museum in Menton, the nearby Bastion Museum, and the Menton Marriage Hall, plus his painted fishermen’s chapel in Villefranche-sur-mer

The work of the multi-talented Jean Cocteau is less well known outside of Europe, but if you are not familiar with his art, you should be.  His distinctive style and fanciful Mediterranean imagery is emblematic of the Cote d’Azur.


Museum of Modern Art (MAMAC)Exterior of Museum of Modern Art in Nice in Nice 

With the same ticket you can also see the always interesting Theatre of Photography and Image, plus a couple of other nearby modern art galleries.


Apart from the museums above, there are several other favorite museums in and around Nice, but also as far off as Provence, that are all well worth a visit, especially the single-artist dedicated museums.

Click here for the Other Best Art Museums on the Cote d’Azur, including the Fine Arts/Beaux Arts in Nice, the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-du-Vence, the Bonnard Museum in la Cannet, and the little gem L’Annonciade in Saint Tropez (pictured).

If you are going as far as Provence, two of my favorite South of France artists, Cezanne and Van Gogh, both have amazing dedicated museums (and more) in the towns where they lived in Provence.  It’s a bit of a hike from Nice, but worth it!


Tickets and Passes for the Municipal Museums in Nice – The 14 municipal museums in Nice have two kinds of passes: here’s how they work, how much they cost, plus a few freebies and other museum passes.

See related page Best History and Science Museums in and around Nice

Photo credits:  All artworks depicted are in the Public Domain.  Inside Chagall museum by Antostudio, Nautilus by Chris 73, Cupola by Ericd, all licensed under creative commons.  Jean Cocteau poster from Jean Cocteau Museum website. MAMAC and Matisse exteriors by Best of Nice.  Picasso photo from poster owned by Best of Nice.  

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