France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Musée Matisse, Nice, France
Matisse spent much of his life in Nice, and this museum is dedicated to his works.





Located on Cimiez Hill, about 3 kilometers/less than 2 miles from the center of Nice, the Musée Matisse is devoted to the works of this famous painter.

The villa that houses the museum was first built in 1695. Over the centuries, it has undergone extensive change and renovation. With today's modern expansion and below-ground entrance, it is easy to miss the beautiful villa, so be sure to admire it before or after you go inside.

Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, near the Belgian border, about as far from Nice as you can get and still be in France. He moved to Nice in 1917 and lived in a variety of places in Nice and nearby Vence until his death in 1954.

Matisse Museum, Nice
Grand Paysage, mont Alban, painted by Matisse in 1918, shortly after he moved to Nice.

Although mostly known as a painter, Matisse also was a sculptor. And his "cut-outs," works in cut paper, mostly made in the 1950s represent a significant part of his fame. Currently his Fleurs et Fruits (Flowers and Fruits), a cut-out work that is more than 8 meters (26 feet) long, is undergoing restoration.

Matisse donated many of his works to the museum, and his family added later gifts. His son Pierre Matisse, an art dealer in New York, is credited with playing a large role in expanding appreciation for French and European art and artists, including his father but also such artists as Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, and Marc Chagall.

The Musée Matisse's collection includes some 30 paintings, hundreds of drawings and prints, 38 cut-outs and over 50 sculptures. These works span his career.

One of the centerpieces of the museum is his famous Nature Morte aux Grenades, or "Still life with pomegranates," painted in 1947. It was one of several paintings he did in Vence, all on the theme of pomegranates. These paintings represented the end of his painting career, as after this time he focused mostly on designing and creating the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence.

The Matisse Museum is next to the Archaeology Museum and Les Arènes de Cimiez, with Roman ruins set in a lovely park. Visiting both places makes for a full day of art, history, and nature.

The museum is easily accessible by bus. Although it isn't too far from the center of town, it is mostly up hill, and the bus is definitely welcome!

Signage is all in French, but you can still appreciate the art even if you can't understand all of the descriptions.

The Musée Matisse is closed on Tuesdays. It accepts both the French Riviera Pass and the Nice Museum Pass.

Musée Matisse
164, avenue des Arènes de Cimiez
06000 Nice, France

About Nice

What to See & Do in Nice

Nice Hotels

Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Musée National Marc Chagall

Nice Transport

Côte d'Azur



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Matisse, Granades, Nice

Above, Still Life, Pomegranates, painted in 1947.

Below, You have to go downstairs and through the modern entrance to access the museum, but you'll also be inside the beautiful mansion just behind.


Nice, Matisse Museum



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