Nice is a city full of culture and beauty, all nestled within the scenic landscape of the dazzling Côte d’Azur. Once home to a mix of artists and aristocrats, both seeking the stunning scenes and sunny weather that the French Riviera is renowned for, the city today is packed with impressive architecture and an array of museums and galleries to explore.
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
A striking and unique building, the St Nicholas Cathedral is the most beautiful example of a Russian Orthodox church outside of Russia. Its impressive design makes it one of the most visited attractions in Nice, so even if you don’t venture inside, it’s still well worth walking past to take in the stunning exterior. If you think the outside looks impressive, then you’ll be in awe as you enter the building. Built in 1912, the cathedral is richly decorated on the inside with gold and jewelled detailing, with over 300 icons depicted throughout. The cathedral still acts as a place of worship, so visitors are asked to dress respectfully when entering this landmark.
A 19th-century villa that now acts as a museum of local history, the Musée Masséna contains an intriguing mix of curiosities, including Napoleon’s death mask, antiques and historical memorabilia. A mix of local treasures, the museum also acts as a gallery for a collection of French art from the 19th-century. The villa and grounds themselves are also worth the trip. Situated on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the restored villa is delightfully decorated with marbled halls, and sits on a well-maintained garden estate that feels like a tranquil and exotic oasis!
Image Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
At Parc Phoenix, an impressive botanical garden and animal park can be discovered within one of the largest greenhouses in Europe, making for the perfect day out for nature lovers. The park contains over twenty themed zones, including Mediterranean gardens and a tropical area, creating a very tranquil atmosphere. Keen gardeners will greatly enjoy wandering through each area, as there are over 2,500 different plant varieties growing in the park. The park is also home to a number of animals, making this one of the best attractions for children to visit. A large pond within the greenhouse is home to hundreds of bird species, including swans, ducks and pelicans, as well as a few turtles, while enclosures of lemurs, exotic birds, iguanas and other animals can also be found throughout the park.
A must-visit for lovers of art, the Musée Matisse is a celebration of renowned French artist Henri Matisse, who lived and worked in Nice for many years. The permanent collection sees 68 of Matisse’s paintings on display, alongside 218 drawings, 236 designs and 56 sculptures, revealing the diversity of his artistic skill. In addition to these works, temporary exhibits are displayed each year. The building in which the exhibitions are enclosed is also a sight to behold, and certainly reflects the beauty that is held within.
Image Credit: Michel G
Musée des Beaux-Arts
Nice is home to many an art gallery or museum, but the Musée des Beaux Arts is one of the best. An extensive collection of artwork can be found here, with pieces dating back to the 15th century. Predominantly displaying French artists, including Monet, Dufy and Chéret, the museum provides a home for works created by several artists who lived and worked on the French Riviera, allowing visitors to see pieces in the place that inspired them. The gallery also displays works from outside of France, particularly Flemish and Italian art, as well as some ceramic pieces from Pablo Picasso!
A hub for culture, there are plenty more museums and galleries in Nice for you to visit. If you are planning on spending your days exploring the beauty of the architecture, nature and art that can found in Nice, then make sure that where you spend the nights is just as impressive, with luxury holiday villas in the French Riviera!
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