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Nice Museums – Where to Find the Art of the Impressionists & Post-Impressionists

Did you know that there are fantastic Nice museums exhibiting first class collections of post-impressionism art? In fact Nice & the French Riviera region has a rich impressionism and post-impressionism past.

Nice Museums
Post-Impressionism Museums in Nice

Many of the impressionists and post-impressionists felt fed up with the pressure and lifestyle of Paris. Quite a few of them made their way to Southern France. This included Pierre Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Signac & others. They all fell under the spell of the sunshine and beautiful landscapes of the South. Some stayed for months, and other settled permanently.

As a result, there are wonderful museums scattered all over the region where you can see their artworks.

A Comprehensive List of Nice Museums:

The Amazing Nice Museum: Marc Chagall National Museum

If you are traveling to Nice and love Marc Chagall’s paintings, then this museum is a MUST! It is amazing!

History of the Chagall Museum in Nice

The magnificent Chagall Museum in Nice opened its doors in 1973. This museum is devoted to and celebrates the rich artistic career of the Russian / Belarus artist Marc Chagall.

Marc Chagall Museum - The best of Nice Museums
Musee Chagall – Nice Museum

Although not French, Chagall spent most of his adult life in France & lived his final 20 years in Southern France. Forced to flee occupied France during WW2, Chagall quickly returned after the war ended. However Chagall wanted a quieter life and moved to Southern France.

Chagall lived in a small & enchanting medieval village close to Nice called Saint Paul de Vence. He continued to create artworks including paintings, stained-glass windows and tapestries until his very last breath, at the age of 97.

Over the years, Chagall filled many canvases with colorful landscapes of Southern France. Many of these magnificent paintings are on display in the Nice museum.

Nice Museum - Musee Chagall
Marc Chagall Museum, Nice

Chagall supervised & decided on everything for this Museum

Marc Chagall was directly involved in the creation of this museum. He worked with the architect and the garden landscaper. Later Chagall created a huge mosaic and a massive stained glass window specifically for this museum. The artist also decided where to hang his paintings and where to display his other artworks. Chagall oversaw every minor detail.

To fill the museum, Marc Chagall donated many of his own artworks which created the foundation of museum’s collection. Later, the museum acquired more paintings and the collection grew.

Today, this magnificent museum displays more than 400 Chagall artworks. It is the museum with the largest Marc Chagall collection of artworks in the world. It is a stunning museum with a world-class collection.

Practical Information:

Address: 36 Avenue Dr Ménard, Cimiez, 04 93 53 87 20
Hours: 10am to 6pm from May-October, 10am-5pm in winter.  
Closed on Tuesdays, plus May 1, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Press on the link for more information about the museum and current exhibitions

The Beautiful Nice Museum: Musée Matisse

The Musee Matisse is a fantastic museum celebrating the artistic career of the French artist, Henri Matisse.  Although born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Matisse lived his later years in Nice, from 1917 to 1954. He loved Nice and captured the coast and landscapes of Nice in many of his paintings.

The museum follows Matisse’s artistic development throughout his long and diverse careers. Here you will see his paper cut outs, sketches, his colorful paintings and his magnificent sculptures. Also on display are film footage and photos of Matisse.

Tip: To enjoy a free audio guide of this museum, bring your own headphones and download the museum App.

Practical Information:

Museum open daily except on Tuesdays 
From 10 am to 5 pm from November 1st to April 30th 
From 10 am to 6 pm from May 2nd to October 31st
Ticket office closes 30 minutes before 
Closed on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 25th
For more information about the Musee Matisse, press here.

Seated Woman Back Turned to the Open Window
Henri Matisse Painting [Public Domain]

Take a Day Trip to Musee Renoir in Cagnes-Sur-Mer

The Renoir museum is not in Nice but in the nearby town called Cagnes-sur-Mer. It is an easy half daytrip from Nice.

The Museum was once Renoir’s House

The museum itself is the former home of the impressionism painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his family. Renoir, his wife Aline Charigot and their three children lived in this house for the last 12 years of Renoir’s life.

Musee Renoir in Cagne-sur-Mer
Musee Renoir in Cagne-sur-Mer

The house is an old stone farmhouse located in the middle of an ancient-old olive grove. From the garden, Renoir had the most gorgeous views of the Cote d’Azur below and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Seas beyond. It was here in this idyllic location, where Renoir painted and sculpted in his final years, despite his severe rheumatism.  

Musee Renoir - The artist's painting studio, Cagnes-su-Mer
Musee Renoir – The artist’s painting studio, Cagnes-su-Mer

A Glimpse into the Last Twelve Years of Renoir’s Life

The house itself including his two painting studios give you a wonderful glimpse into his life in his later years. In one studio, you will see a wheelchair. Because of his severe rheumatism, Renoir was unable to walk. His arms and hands were also very disfigured by the disease, but Renoir refused to stop creating. Miraculously, some of Renoir’s paintings and sculptures during these later years are considered some of his greatest artworks.

Woman in child in Cagnes sur Mer - Renoir painting
Renoir Landscape of Cagnes sur Mer [Public Domain]

Also on display are a few Renoir paintings and paintings by other artists who were his friends. Also on display are sculptures made by Renoir and photographs of the artist.

Wonder through the Gardens that Inspired the Artist

After viewing the museum, step outside into the gardens. Renoir painted many landscapes from these very gardens. Scattered throughout these gardens are reproductions of the paintings that he created here.

Practical Information:

Open: Wednesdays to Mondays
June to September 10am-1pm & 2-6pm (gardens open 10am-6pm)
October to March 10am-noon & 2-5pm
April, May 10am-noon & 2-6pm
Closed Tuesday and December 25th, January 1st and May 1st

Address

19 chemin des Collettes
Cagnes-sur-Mer
Tel. : 00 33  90 04 93 20 61 07
For more information regarding Musee Renoir, press here

Picasso Museum in Antibes – A Wonderful Nice Day Trip

Another fabulous day trip from Nice is the historical old town of Antibes. As well as being a gorgeous medieval town right overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it also is the location of the fantastic Musee Picasso Antibes.

Musee Picasso Antibes
Musee Picasso Antibes

The Picasso Museum in Antibes in housed inside of an old castle called Chateau Grimaldi. The building itself and the views from the castle are worth the visit in their own right.

Picasso Museum Antibes
The gorgeous views from the Antibes Picasso Art Museum

However inside the museum, you will be see a varied and fabulous collection of Pablo Picasso artworks, including paintings, ceramics and statues. It isn’t a large museum and therefore not overwhelming.

After your visit, allow yourself time to explore the magnificent old town of Antibes. It is such a picturesque place and full of art galleries, trendy shops, cafes and restaurants. It is no wonder that Picasso fell under its spell! 

Antibes Old Town
Antibes Old Town / Image by SoleneC1 from Pixabay 

Practical Information:

Opening Times

Summer months: (June 15-Sept. 15) – 10.00 am until 18.00 pm, plus open late on Tuesdays and Fridays in July and August until 20.00 pm.  
Winter months:  10.00 am until 12.00 -noon and then from 14.00 pm until 18.00 pm 2pm-6pm. 
Closed every Monday / Also closed on Jan. 1, May 1, Nov. 1, and Christmas.

Free Days:  Twice a year there are entire free weeks: The first full week in November (the Tuesday through Sunday) and the first full week in February (Tuesday through Sunday).

For more information, press here.

Public Transport to Antibes from Nice with Public Transport

From Nice it is easy to reach Antibes. You can take the bus # 200 which is the cheaper option but the bus ride takes around one hour. Alternatively, you can take the train to Antibes which is a little more expensive but takes half the time (only 30 minutes).