Musée Masséna

Nice, France

Originally built as a holiday home for Prince Victor d’Essling (the grandson of one of Napoleon’s favourite generals, Maréchal Massena), the lavish belle-époque Musée Masséna is another of the city’s iconic architectural landmarks. Built between 1898 and 1901 in grand neoclassical style with an Italianate twist, it’s now a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the Riviera – taking in everything from holidaying monarchs to expat Americans, the boom of tourism and the enduring importance of Carnival.

Although the museum itself is rather spotty and unfocused, the sumptuous villa is a pleasure to explore.  There are some very intriguing artifacts, artworks and displays (especially on Napoleon), but you will probably not catch the full significance due to complete lack of English explanations; and even if you do read French, the signs are dryly written and difficult to read.

The first floor is decorated with artwork, antique furnishings and personal effects from the Massena family that built this home, and whose family history was deeply entwined with Napoleon and the history of Nice.  The second floor is consecrated on thematic elements of the history of Nice from the 19th century through just before WWII, including military memorabilia and uniforms.



Your name

Website (optional)


Rue de Rivoli 30, Nice, France
See all sites in Nice


Founded: 1898-1901
Category: Museums in France

More Information


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

v (16 months ago)
One of the best museums I’ve ever visited. The location is amazing and the building is beautiful. You can stroll around inside and see some exquisite artwork. Also, I went during the LEGO exhibit about French history and this was quite a treat!
Sarah Cross (17 months ago)
Some interesting history and nice relaxing gardens. The museum can be seen quite quickly so best to get the most out of the ticket which allows access to lots of museums in Nice in 24 hrs for 10 Euros.
Nawalyath SOULE ADAM (19 months ago)
Very interesting place, with many historics paints or places made in Lego. Interesting learn more about the history of France!
David Clarke (2 years ago)
A grand building with a collection of mainly finely painted French portraiture. Many of the figure are famous French bourgeoise individuals. Potted around there are Lego examples of fine art, which add an alternative artistic form. There is a room dedicated to views of Nice last and present. The top floor has a display dedicated to French activates fighting against fascism. I wished there were more English translations.
Giorgio Daveed (2 years ago)
Amazing museum surrounded by an amazing city with an incredible vibe one of 40 cities in have visited in France and Nice is just incredible. I can't explain the atmosphere with merely words one needs to experience and taken in the breadth and width of this majestic city. Back to the museum it was very interesting almost a blend of contemporary and classic art mixture.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Narikala Castle

Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.

The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.