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.



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Rue de Rivoli 30, Nice, France
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Founded: 1898-1901
Category: Museums in France

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sarah Elder (14 months ago)
Beautiful museum. Mosaic floors. Empress Josephine's coronation Cape and diadem. Beautiful fin de siecle posters for the height of French Riviera chic. Photos , paintings and maps. There are toilets downstairs. Staff at the ticket office were lovely. Security staff were very present.
Lam Dinh (16 months ago)
Beautiful museum in the heart of Nice. I took my 3 year old daughter here and they had a LEGO exhibit at the time, which was really neat to see amongst the historical elements of the building. You can get through the whole museum and under an hour, and its central location in Nice makes it easy to stop by after visiting the beach.
Volodymyr H (17 months ago)
Great historical location in Nice, definitely worth visiting. You can take an audio tour guide. Beautiful interiors and garden, take your time and enjoy such a great location. We liked garden the most with orange trees and palms surrounding the villa.
Melania Usai (18 months ago)
Surprisingly more interesting than I expected. Much more than the Residential Villa in golden finishing that I thought it was. It's a great trip through history. A storyteller of the City development into a holiday winter destination of North European aristocracy. Includes excellent examples of fashion jewellery, outfits and memorabilia. Highly recommended. The garden is also worth a stroll.
Drago (20 months ago)
The Villa itself is impressive and large. There are 3 different floors with the top one being reserved for temporary exhibitions. I would warn people that most of the tour is in french which makes it complicated to understand what we are looking at. Otherwise great visit and fully worth the price.
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