It may share its name with a rather boring adjective, but Nice is anything but! ‘Arty’ is definitely a much more fitting four-lettered word for the city, and we’ll show you why….
Situated on the French Riviera overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Nice la Belle was once the adopted home for countless famous artists, and their presence is still felt today. Sitting majestically on the aptly-named Promenade des Arts and Place Yves Klein, make the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC) your first stop, where Niki de Saint Phalle’s shimmering Le monstre de Loch Ness sculpture will welcome you with a jet of water. The museum is home to works from the 1950s to modern day, covering the European nouveau réalisme and American pop art movements. Feast your eyes on the energetic displays from de Saint Phalle and her wonderfully bulbous women that are full of movement and delight (she donated 190 different pieces to the museum), or indulge in a lesson in blue from Yves Klein.
For more artistic pleasures, and just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Franciscan gardens at the jardin du Monastère du Cimiez, you’ll find the Musée Matisse located in 17th-century Villa des Arenes. It’s home to a collection of the artist’s sun-soaked paintings and almost animated sculptures. Then finish in style with the Musée Marc Chagal, with its impressive biblical-themed collection, before stopping off at the adjacent La Buvette du Musée, the ideal place for a light lunch post cultural indulgence.
If all those exhibitions have got your creative juices flowing, then why not put your artistic skills into practice ready for the Nice Carnival. Starting from the Place Masséna, the carnival runs from the 17th February until the 3rd March, and features six parades day and night, with 17 floats and over 1000 dancers and musicians. Plus, there’s even the bataille de fleurs, or flower battle, with flower-covered floats that douse onlookers in a shower of petals. The theme of this year’s festival is the King of Space, so think galaxies, planets, UFOs and beyond…. And, if you come fully disguised and dressed up, you get in free to the carnival parade. So what are you waiting for?