Nice is a gorgeous city nestled on the French Riviera. Though renowned for its pebbly beaches and famous Promenade des Anglais boardwalk, the city also boasts an intricate cultural history. In the nineteenth century, the town served as a retreat for the European elite. It welcomed many artists, including Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, whose works can be admired in Nice’s many museums.
If you have only got a day or two to explore the French city’s artistry and heritage, don’t risk missing out on any of the must-see places. Follow this itinerary to visit them all in one go.
Start the Day at the Cimiez Monastery
Head over to Place Jean Paul and begin the day by exploring this charming monastery and its lovely gardens. Constructed by Franciscan monks in the Middle Ages, it is a stunning architectural compound that combines a church, a cloister and a cemetery. Behind the monastery, you will also find the peaceful gardens that overlook Nice. The greens were once used as a vegetable garden by the monks, but today offer tourists a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Insider tip: While strolling through the cemetery, keep your eyes peeled for Matisse’s headstone.
Walk Five Minutes Towards Musée Matisse
You can then stroll over to Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez where the Musée Matisse awaits. Boasting the largest collection of Matisse’s works, the galleries recount the artist’s development. With 68 paintings, over 400 drawings and prints, as well as 57 sculptures, you can witness the evolution from Matisse’s earliest works to his last creations.
Explore the Musée Marc Chagall
Just down the road, on Avenue Dr Ménard, you can then end the morning by admiring Chagall’s many biblical paintings. Most famously, this museum has the series of seventeen canvas that illustrate various biblical message from the books of Exodus, Genesis and the Song of Songs.
Fun Fact: Following the popularity of Chagall’s work, this museum was built during the artist’s lifetime. He himself chose which of his works were to be placed in the museum.
After a Relaxing Lunch Break
Explore Nice’s Modern and Contemporary Art
Having enjoyed a delicious meal at one of the many gourmet restaurants, you can then spend the afternoon milling around the Musée d’art modern et d’art contemporain, or the MAMAC, located in Place Yves Klein. Boasting art created from the 1950s onwards, it presents a stunning overview of works from an array of artistic movements, including European New Realism, American Pop Art, Arte Povera and American minimalism.
Top the Day Off With a Trip to Musée des Beaux-Arts
To end the day in style, make your way to Avenue des Baumettes to explore this culturally-rich museum. It is set in the stunning former private mansion of the Ukrainian Princess Elisabeth Vassilievna Kotschoubey which was built in the nineteenth century. Gathering a wide range of artworks from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, it hosts ceramic pieces by Pablo Picasso, sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, as well as pieces by Michel de Tarnowsky.
Insider tip: If you don’t have long to spend exploring the vast collections, make sure you at least see Bronzino’s infamous Christ Crucified.
How to Get to Nice
Travelling to Nice is quick and easy. You can catch a direct flight from London to Nice airport with British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 or Ryanair. After spending two hours in the air, the last thing you want is to sit on hot and stuffy public transport. Make your journey a far more pleasant one by booking a private airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. A friendly driver will meet you at the terminal, help you carry your luggage and safely take you to your hotel in Nice’s charming and picturesque Old Town.
Where to Stay
Palais Saleya Boutique Hôtel: This hotel is set in a quaint eighteenth-century building in Nice’s Old Town. All suites feature air-conditioning and a TV with international channels and DVD player, as well as a fully-equipped kitchen with a Nespresso coffee machine and washing machine. Every morning the hotel serves a delicious continental breakfast, while there are also many gourmet restaurants and bars nearby.
Hôtel Le Genève: Located just a short walk away from the Old Town, this hotel offers quick access to the beach and Nice’s many cultural attractions. The comfortable rooms have a modern décor, boasting flat screen televisions and minibars. The in-house restaurant serves a mouth-watering daily breakfast, while lunch and dinner are available six days a week. To enjoy a lovely meal out, simply stroll over to the neighbouring Place Garibaldi and choose your favourite gourmet bistro.
Hotel De La Mer: This hotel boasts en suite rooms, with a flat screen television and telephone. Located in the city centre, it sits at the heart of Nice’s heritage. Breakfast can be enjoyed every morning in the dining room, but there are also many cafés and restaurants nearby. You will also be right next to the Museum of Modern Art, a lovely flower market and a charming beachfront promenade.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is Europe and North Africa’s leading transfer provider. We offer our customers comfortable and convenient transport from outside the airport terminal to your desired location. You can even order a luxury car to make your ride all the more relaxing. To sort out all your travel arrangements in advance, visit our easy-to-use website and order your shuttle before you leave.