no alt text

Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Villa Massena, a lavish Second Empire palace (built circa 1900), was donated to Nice by the aristocratic Massena family, to house the city’s Museum of Art and History. A beautiful and intriguing building in itself, the villa’s 20 rooms now retrace the history of Nice through more than 1,500 exhibits – ranging from furniture to decorations and artworks.

Historic figures Napoleon and Garibaldi (the latter born in Nice) get plenty of attention – Napoleon’s letters to his wife Josephine, along with some of her clothes, are particularly interesting – and there are fascinating photos and relics from the resort’s early days.

Logistics

Price from: £12
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The museum is handily located just off the Promenade des Anglais; its English-style public gardens were recently restored (along with the villa). See them at their best in spring and summer.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, Wednesday to Monday. Closed Tuesdays.

Destination guides

3

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Nice

Cote d'Azur, France

Long strip of beach and blue sea with city behind

The buzzing, art-filled, foodie capital of the French Riviera, with a charming, Italian-influenced historic centre. The ideal base for a first-time visit to the Cote d’Azur, and home to the world-renowned Nice Carnival.

Cannes

Cote d'Azur, France

View of the beach and seafront in Cannes

Sister city of Hollywood and host of the famous film festival, Cannes, with its palm-lined La Croisette, golden beach and five star hotels oozes cinematic and pure Riviera glamour.

French Riviera

Cote d'Azur, France

View of boating marina and the town on hills behind

Money, glamour and bombshell looks: this beach-trimmed stretch of French coast offers decadent hotels, lounging in beach clubs, fine restaurants and world-class art.