France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Palais Lascaris, Vieille Ville, Nice
If you like beautiful old mansions and musical instruments, this is the place for you!





Tucked away on the tiny rue Droite, just a two minute walk from the Cathédrale Ste-Réparate, is the Palais Lascaris. It's easy to just walk on by, as it is one of many lovely old buildings in the Vieille Ville of Nice. But go inside for a wonderful trip back in time and the chance to see an amazing collection of antique musical instruments!

The Palais Lascaris was originally built in the 17th century by the Lascaris-Ventimiglia family, one of the early noble families in Nice. Over the centuries it underwent various restorations, and in 1942 the city of Nice bought it. The Palais opened as a municipal museum in 1970. The monumental staircase is decorated with frescoes, and the rooms are splendidly furnished.

The Baroque architecture is lovely, and in the many rooms you can see examples of 17th and 18th century tapestries, furnishings, paintings, and other works of art.

But most interesting is its amazing collection of historical musical instruments—there are over 500 instruments! This makes it the second most important collection of musical instruments of France (Have you visited the Musée de la Musique in Paris? Also wonderful.)

Musée Lascaris, Nice
A few of the hundreds of historic musical instruments in the Palais Lascaris collection.

The Palais Lascaris collection, which was housed at the Musée Masséna until 2001, is built around the bequest of notable collector and Nice resident Antoine Gautier. Gautier lived from 1825 to 1904, and during that time built up an amazing collection of historic instruments.

After years of preparation and restoration, the permanent exhibition of musical instruments was opened to the public in 2011. Since that time the Palais Lascaris has continued to enrich the collection. The museum hosts occasional special exhibitions bringing out others from its collections and elsewhere.

(Fun note: There is also a street in Nice named for Antoine Gautier, not far from the Palais Lascaris, just outside of the Vieille Ville. And nearby is a Luterie, where lutes and other instruments are restored and sold.)

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

Palais Lascaris
15 rue Droite
Nice 06300 France

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Musée Lascaris, Nice

Above, Ornate bedroom and "alcove" in the Palais Lascaris.

Below, The Chapel of the Palais Lascaris. It was used for religious services for the family and was also the site of aristocratic marriages. The beautiful ceiling is from the 17th century.


Musée Lascaris, Nice



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