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World-class art in Nice

Last updated: 10 March, 2024

Nice can rightly claim France’s best hoard of modern art after Paris’s – and much of it was created here, in the early 20th century, when the Riviera’s light, colour and warmth attracted artists such as Renoir, Matisse and Chagall.

Wealthy collectors later founded museums, often in charming and historic buildings, and many artists donated works to their adopted towns. Just outside of Nice’s borders you’ll find museums dedicated to other world-renowned artists such as Picasso, Bonnard and Cocteau.

Being far less busy than Paris’s art museums, they’re a pleasure to wander – often set in pretty sculpture gardens, with lovely cafes or wine bars attached so you can sit and ruminate on your art fix.

Who to go with: tour operators


Bonnard Museum

  • Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

The front entrance of the museum


Colourful interiors, nudes and landscapes by world-renowned French artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), a leading figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism. He lived in Le Cannet between 1922 and 1947.

Adult price: 4

Good for age: 18+

Website >

Jean Cocteau Museum

  • Menton, Cote d'Azur, France

External view of the striking museum, with large white irregular pillars


John Cocteau (1889-1963) was a famous French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker and visual artist. He’s arguably best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929). Seek out his whimsical, graphic work in this quirky museum, with a waterfront facade that resembles a row of teeth.

Adult price: 5

Good for age: 18+

Website >
  • Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

  • Bucket List Experience

Exterior of grand, red-brick museum on a sunny day


Matisse Museum

A beautiful 17th-century Genoese mansion that now houses a museum dedicated to the art of Nice’s longtime resident, Henri Matisse.

Adult price: 8

Good for age: 18+

  • Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France

  • Bucket List Experience

A remarkable fantasy villa, complete with exquisite exotic gardens, built in 1912 by the flamboyant art collector Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild to house her fabulous collection of 18th-century art and furniture.

Adult price: 13

Good for age: 18+


Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The tourist office website is a great resource, with a full listing of Nice’s 20 or so museums, and details on getting there by public transport, with up-to-date opening hours.