Villa HippoCampo

Specialty Museums

Cote d’Azur Specialty Museums Worth Visiting

The French Riviera has impressive offers for everyone, including sights, food, experiences, and much more. That includes impressive museums with vibrant collections that you should not miss when you stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

The Cote d’Azur beautiful nature and rich history have been attractive for ages, and European royalty, aristocrats, and other notable people often opted to winter here. Many Grand Masters choose the region as a place for inspiration, vacation, or prolonged stay. Most were inspired by the simplistic fishermen lifestyle, the sun-drenched landscapes, the blue skies, and the sparkling sea as a backdrop. So, it is no wonder why, today, Provence has over 40 art museums, many devoted to Grand Masters.

Still, the region has many other museums worth visiting, and here we prepared a sort of guide through some of the most notable specialty and art museums in the Cote d’Azur. Please note that you’ll have to pay an entry fee for most of these, but believe us when we say that the admission fee is worth it, as you’ll see unique things that are impossible to find anywhere else.

International Museum of Perfume 2

International Museum of Perfume – Grasse

The International Museum of Perfume was initially founded in 1918 in the world capital of perfume, the small French town of Grasse. Grasse is the birthplace of luxury perfumes, where the tones produce jasmine and lavender, and most locals are involved in perfume production. It was here where Coco Chanel launched her now iconic perfumes, and it is where you can see the chronological order of perfume production. The International Museum of Perfume showcases the four thousand-year history of perfumes, soaps, make-up, and cosmetics, from tools and objects used in perfume-making to rare exhibits. The entry fee is very affordable, and you can even catch a free entry every first Saturday from October to March.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum – Antibes

Antibes is impressive with its long, rich history, but here we’ll talk about Chateau Grimaldi, better known today as the Musee Picasso. Pablo Picasso stayed as a guest in the Chateau in 1946; the building was later turned into a museum – the first museum in the world dedicated to Picasso. Later, the artist donated some of his works to the museum, and today, you can find 245 works by Picasso, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The museum has works by other notable artists as well.

Marc Chagall National Museum – Nice

The Marc Chagall Museum in Nice is a beautiful place where you can see many of the artist’s works. The museum was built in 1970 after Chagall donated a work of art to the city of Nice, and he was deeply

involved in the design and creation of the museum. When Chagall passed away in 1985, his heirs donated much of his works to the museum, and today, the Marc Chagall National Museum in Nice houses the most extensive collection of Chagall’s works. We suggest you take some time and get immersed in the beautiful world of Chagall’s art while exploring Nice.

Matisse Art Museum – Nice

Henri Matisse loved Nice and had a residence at the Regina Hotel, where he created many of his works. However, in 1950, the City of Nice acquired the Villa Garin de Cocconato, a historic villa near the hotel; Matisse himself donated some of his works and had the idea to convert the villa into an exhibition space. In 1963, the Matisse Museum was inaugurated, and the first floor featured the works of Matisse. After a significant renovation, the museum reopened in 1993 and was again updated in 2003. Today, any visitor can see exquisite works of art, many from Matisse’s personal collection, gaining a personal connection to the artists. The collection has 31 paintings, 454 prints and drawings, 38 cut-outs, 57 sculptures, and much more.

The Bastion Jean Cocteau Museum

The Bastion Jean Cocteau Museum – Menton

If you plan on visiting Menton while you stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer, we propose you don’t miss the Musee Jean Cocteau, located on the seafront in Menton. It is no secret that the artist loved the French Riviera and drew murals on many walls in different towns and villages along the coast. While he resided in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the artist was offered an old villa in Menton called the Bastion to be converted into a museum in his honor. Cocteau loved the idea and invested in many of the designs and details. The official opening happened in 1966 and was known as the Bastion. Today, the museum houses an incredible collection of works of art from the artist and other personal possessions like letters, drawings, lithographs, and more.

Renoir Museum

Renoir Museum – Cagnes-sur-Mer

The Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer is a wonderful testament to the life and works of the famed artist. The museum is in a grand estate, with an extensive garden planted with olive and citrus trees and a majestic panorama of the Mediterranean in the background. However, you can walk through the exhibitions and see how the artist lived for the last 12 years, the furniture he used, and the studio where he created some of his most creative works.

Musee d’Art Classique de Mougins 1

Musee d’Art Classique de Mougins – Mougins

Mougins is a village near Grasse, and it is the home of the beautiful Musee d’Art Classique de Mougins or the Mougins Museum of Classical Art. Any art lover will find the museum appealing, as it holds a unique exhibition of ancient, neoclassical, modern, and contemporary art. You can see artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, along with art pieces from Cezanne, Chagall, Picasso, Renoir, Cocteau, Dali, Damien Hirst, Matisse, Moor, Rodin, and Tolouse-Lautrec.

The Oceanographic Museum

The Oceanographic Museum – Monaco

Monaco is a must-see place if you decide to vacation and explore the Cote d’Azur, and when here, you should not miss the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. The museum was established in 1910 in a beautiful Baroque Revival-style building overhanging on the edge of the Rock of Monaco. The museum houses over 6000 live marine species in its aquariums and has thousands of specimens, models, ethnographic objects, and historical exhibits.

The Citadel in Saint Tropez

The Citadel in Saint Tropez – Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez is worth exploring for many things, and the Citadel is one of the most important historic open-air museums you can visit. Any historic buff will enjoy roaming through the medieval fortress that has protected the city for centuries. Today, the Citadel operates as a Museum of Maritime History, and visitors can explore the dungeons and the turrets and see glimpses of the activities of sailors of times past.

Extra Pick Volti Museum

Extra Pick: Volti Museum – Villefranche-sur-Mer

We had to include the Volti Museum as a must-see place for art lovers in the Cote d’Azur. When you stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer, the Volti Museum is within walking distance. You will enter the 16-century citadel with its vaulted rooms and see the beautiful sculptures of voluptuous women made from bronze, copper, and terracotta created by Antoniucci Volti. Also, the entrance is free, and you can experience a blend of history and modern sculpture.

Please note that our list is only a glimpse of the fantastic historical, artistic, and natural museums you can visit along the beautiful French Riviera. Of course, when you visit, you can experience this and much more.