Nice France Guide for Tourist
Many visitors to Nice head straight for the beaches and don’t retreat from the sun and water until the day is done. Whatever dreams you’ve had about Nice’s beach, though, the hard reality is an endless stretch of rocks; bring a beach mat if you plan to soak up the sun in comfort. Contrary to popular opinion, there are things in Nice more worthwhile than a long, naked sunbath on a bunch of pebbles.
MUSEE NATIONAL MESSAGE BIBLIQUE MARC CHAGALL. Chagall founded this extraordinary concrete and glass museum in 1966 to showcase his 17 Message Biblique paintings. Twelve of these strikingly colorful canvases illustrate the first two books of the Old Testament, and the remaining five, done all in shades of red, illustrate the Song of Songs. The museum also includes a cursory photobiography of Chagall, a wonderful garden, and a small stained-glass-encircled auditorium decorated by the artist himself, which sometimes stages concerts and lectures. (Av. du Dr. M6nard. 15min. walk north of the station, or take bus #15 (dir.: Rimiez) to Musee Chagall. 04 93 53 87 20; www.museechagall.fr. Open July-Sept. Su-M and W-Sa 10am-6pm; Oct.-June 10am-5pm. Last tickets sold 30min. before closing. Guided tours in French, English, and Italian by appt. ‚5.50, under-26 and Su‚4. Under-18 and first Su of the month free.)
MUSEE MATISSE. Henri Matisse first visited Nice in 1916 and never left its shores. Originally a 17th-century Genoese villa, the museum contains a small collection of paintings and a dazzling exhibit of Matisse’s three-dimensional work, including bronze reliefs and dozens of cut-and-paste tableaux. (164 av. des Arenes de Cimiez. Take bus #15,17, 20, 22, or 25 to Ar&nes. Free bus tickets between Mus6e Chagall and Musee Matisse; ask at either ticket counter. 04 93 81 08 08. Open M and IV-Su Apr.-Sept. 10am-6pm; Oct.-Mar. 10am-5pm. ‚3.80, students ‚2.30. Call for info on lectures.)
MUSEE D’ART MODERNE ET D’ART CONTEMPORAIN. Enter the concrete, glass, and steel of this museum’s minimalist galleries and admire the work of French New Realists and American Pop Artists like Klein, Lichtenstein, and Warhol. The museum showcases European and American avant-garde pieces with a gallery devoted to the statues of Niki de St. Phalle and a reputation for attracting interesting traveling exhibits. (Promenade des Arts, at the intersection of av. St-Jean Baptiste and Traverse Garibaldi. Take bus #5 (dir.: St-Charles) to Musee Promenade des Arts. The museum is behind the bus station, s04 93 62 61 62. Open Su and Tu-Sa 10am-6pm. ‚4, students ‚2.50.)
VIEUX NICE. Sprawling southeast from bd. Jean Jaures, the labarynthine streets of Vieux Nice are crowded with tiny pansy-filled balconies, beautiful fountains, public squares, hand-painted awnings, and pristine churches. In the morning, the area hosts bustling markets, including a fish frenzy at place St-Fran9ois and a flower market on cours Salaya. In the evening, knick-knack stands supplement the cafes, and the quarter becomes the center of Nice’s lively nightlife. (Fish frenzy Tu-Su 6am-lpm; flower market Su 6am-noon, Tu and Th-F 6am-5:30pm, Wand Sa 6am-6:30pm.)