Modern Art Museums in Nice

MAMACThe Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art (MAMAC)
is dedicated to the history of the European and American avant-garde movement from the beginning of the 1960’s to the present day.



How to get there: 

  • Walk: The giant arched white marble covered museum is just off Place Garibaldi, so it’s just minutes from the Old town or the Port.  A stroll up the Promenade du Paillon gardens ends at the giant white marble National Theatre of Nice and MAMAC.
  • By tramway: get off at the Garibaldi stop, and cut through Place Garibaldi to your right.
  • By bus:  Take bus 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, 27, 38, 81 and get off at the Promenade des Arts stop. Take bus 4, 7, 17 and get off at the Klein/Defly stop.
  • By car: There’s 1 hour free parking at the Promenade des Arts public parking lot, but if you go into the 2nd hour, you have to pay for the first hour too.  Better to park in the Palais des Expositions ParcAzur Park and Ride lot, where you can leave the car for the whole day for the price of a round-trip tram ticket.

Hours: 10am to 6pm; closed Mondays, May 1, Easter Sunday, Christmas and Jan. 1.

Tickets: 10€ for adults, or 20€ for a 7-day municipal museum card good for 14 museums and galleries in Nice.  Free for children under 18, students of any age with student ID, locals with the blue Pass Musee, or with the French Riviera Pass.  Click here for more info on the various museum passes.

Guided Tours: Guided tours are available for 6€ per person on Wednesdays at 3:00pm and the tour guide speaks English.

Your 10€ MAMAC ticket is also good for admission to several smaller modern art galleries within 48 hours:

  • Theater of Photography and Image, and on the seaside of Old Nice, tram stop Nice Etoile, 27 rue Dubouchage, the street on the south of the Nice Etoile shopping center.  Open 10am-6pm, closed Monday
  • Espace Ferrero, just off Cours Saleya in the Old Nice, tram stop Opera or Cathedrale, open 10am-6pm, closed Tuesday
  • Galerie de la Marine, also on the seaside of Old Nice, tram stop Opera or Cathedrale, open 10am-6pm, closed Monday


Nice was a force in the modern art movement in the ’60’s and ’70’s, attracting conceptual artists from all over Europe and calling itself L’Ecole de Nice, or the School of Nice.  Influencing and intersecting New Realism, Fluxus and Supports-Surfaces, the major players included Sosno, Cesar, Arman, Yves Klein, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Bernar Venet, George Brecht, and Ben.

The momentum continues at the Villa Arson, a national institute of contemporary art that churns out more provocative free-thinking artists every year.  They have a gallery and a monthly conference and film series open to the public.

This art movement is still shaping Nice, as witnessed by Sosno’s Tete Carree, the giant square-head-shaped building just down the street from the MAMAC, that houses the administration of the public library. This marvel of architectural engineering is best seen from Boulevard Barla/Carabacel, and the locals either love it or absolutely hate it.  Other Ecole de Nice influenced public sculptures include Max Cartier’s giant stone man at the entrance to the Nice airport, Venet’s epic steel woosh just off Place Massena and his latest, a 30-meter tall set of 9 rusty steel bars on the Promenade des Anglais.  Even the art installed along the new tramway has its influences here.

The Ecole de Nice has infiltrated other domains as well:  The restaurant L’Ecole de Nice is Michelin-starred chef Keisuke Matsushima’s little bistro on rue de la Buffa, with affordable yet avant-garde cuisine, a French-Japanese DJ, and the walls dedicated to the art and history of its namesake artistic movement.

And if you really want to stay with the theme, check-in to one of The Windsor Art Hotel.  Since 1989, the owners have given chosen Ecole de Nice artists carte blanche to transform one room a year into an ouvre d’art, sometimes with very surprising results.   The choice of lobby art is the first clue that this 3-star establishment is not like the others, but check-in to one of their Artist Rooms and you will have no doubt.

Photo credit: Photos by Best of Nice.

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