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Travel bucket list idea:

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

World-renowned French artists Henri Matisse, like Picasso, is credited with revolutionising the visual arts in the 20th century. Many of his best works were painted at the turn of the 20th century, using his unique blend of intense colour, flattened form and decorative pattern.

Set in a grand 17th-century Genoese mansion, Nice’s Matisse Museum opened in 1963, containing works that Matisse left to his adopted city, where he lived from 1917 to 1954.

It isn’t focused heavily on his most famous works – instead, you’ll see how the artist’s style evolved over the years: touching on his bold, colourful paintings, gouache cut-outs, drawings, prints, and 57 sculptures (nearly all of his output). Steps lead down to the modern wing, built atop the city’s Roman ruins.

While you’re there

Make an afternoon of it and explore the wider leafy Cimiez district, with its Roman ruins, monastery and Mark Chagall Museum. There’s a lovely park right outside, perfect for a picnic while watching locals play petanque.

Logistics

Price from: £8
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

If you are using public transport, it’s a half-hour walk from the train station, or take city bus No 17 (or 15, 20, 22 and 25) to the Les Arenes-Musee Matisse stop.

There is an app audio guide you can access from the website – but only in French. The website does, however, have a nice section on the museum’s highlights – the ‘Essential Works’  – worth a read before you go.

If you’re visiting a few art museums in Nice, it’s worth buying the French Riviera Pass, which gets you into several for free.

When to do it

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

Destination guides

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