Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Matisse Museum (Musée Matisse), an homage to the life and work of Nice’s hometown art hero and world-renowned French painter Henri Matisse. Though small, the museum provides detailed information about Matisse’s life and examines the evolution of his work through key sketches, paintings, and sculptures.
The permanent collection at the Matisse Museum is small but mighty, with notable pieces including Les Abeilles, Fleurs et Fruits, and some of his signature paper cutouts. The building itself—the grand 17th-century Genoese Villa des Arènes—is a work of art and is close to Matisse's old home at the Hotel Regina.
Because of its small size, the Matisse Museum is best experienced as part of a French Riviera sightseeing tour or a Nice art tour, which likely includes stops at the Chagall Museum and the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance ticket is good for all municipal museums.
- Only some information is in English; visit with a guide for the best translations.
- Expect to spend roughly 90 minutes exploring the collection and gift shop.
- Though there is a large staircase without a railing, an elevator provides accessibility.
- Backpacks and other large bags are not allowed.
How to Get There
Located on the grand Avenue des Arenes de Cimiez in the hills overlooking Nice, the museum is best accessed by bus. Catch the 15, 17, 20, or 25 from the Nice central bus station (just outside of Old Town) to the Les Arenes/Musée stop.
When to Get There
The museum is open year-round from 11am to 6pm and opens at 10am during the high season from mid-June through mid-October. It is closed on Tuesdays and public holidays. Check in advance for a regular calendar of special workshops for children and adults alike.
Provence was once the home to a number of France's greatest painters, including Marc Chagall, who enjoyed the warm weather and good light of Southern France.