Destination Nice: Cultural Gem on The French Riviera

Bonjour! It is time for some culture during your private charter in the South of France! And what better city to take in the history and heritage of the French Riviera than Nice.

Perfect day in the capital of the Cote d’Azur

Did you know that Nice was named after a hill above the Old Town, Nike, which is Greek for victory?

This exceptional city is a blend of cultural styles and home to many museums, galleries, historical monuments, parks and gardens.

The winding medieval lanes of the Old Town, with local markets and traditional shops, are waiting for you to be explored. Ask the chief stewardess to plan your perfect day in the capital of the Cote d’Azur, with these suggestions as points of interest!



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Musée Matisse

This museum, beautifully located in a renovated Genoese villa, has an extensive collection of paintings from every stage of Matisse’s life. Matisse was not born in Nice, but he lived there for nearly 40 years, and is buried in the cemetery of the Monastère de Cimiez.

The painter and sculptor, who arguably did more than anyone else to revolutionize the visual arts in the first two decades of the 20th century, is celebrated in his adopted hometown by the impressively comprehensive Musée Matisse. Located in the imposing 18th-century Villa des Arènes, the museum hosts an excellent permanent collection of the master’s artworks, as well as rotating exhibitions illuminating different aspects of his life and career.

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musee matisse 1

The history

Henri Émile Benoît Matisse was born in 1869 and is known for his use of bold colors and ability to work out detailed technical plans and drawings. His name is frequently mentioned alongside Pablo Picasso’s. These two painters played an important role in revolutionizing developments of visual arts of the twentieth century. When they first met, the two talented artists were not fond of each other.

Although there was mutual respect, they were also very critical of each other’s work. With time, they realized the unique talent each of them had and eventually would often work together on the same titles and subjects. The museum is close to the Garden of Arenas, where you can stroll the same paths among the olive trees Matisse used to walk!

Photo Copyright: Nice-Matin

matisse et rex ingram

Musée Marc Chagall

Originally hailing from Belarus, artist Marc Chagall called many cities home over the course of his long and prolific career. But while his artwork can be seen everywhere from MoMA in New York to the Louvre in Paris, it is the Musée Marc Chagall in Nice which arguably best reflects his life and work. Not least because he helped design it, setting out instructions in his will, right down to where he wanted each painting to hang.

Chagall lived in St. Paul de Vence, just outside the city, from 1948 until his death at the age of 97. Along with the Musée Matisse, this is a must-visit for anyone who wants to understand European Modernism, so talk to your chief stewardess about setting you up with a skilled guide to visit both museums!

The permanent collection is organized around the set of works produced by the painter on the Old Testament themes, supplemented by a large number of works of secular or religious inspiration: over 400 painting, gouaches, drawings and pastels.

Photo Copyright: Narthex


Monastère de Cimiez

With the novelist Roger Martin du Gard, the painter Raoul Dufy and, of course, Henri Matisse having been laid to rest here, it is worth making a pilgrimage to the Cimiez monastery for its cemetery alone. But the rest of the site, which has been used by monks since the 9th century is well worth a visit too.

The Franciscan Museum provides you with fantastic insights into monastic life down the centuries, and the stunning 15th-century church features three paintings by the Renaissance master Ludovico Brea.

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Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Nice

With its onion shaped domes and colorful spires that look like they have been lifted straight from the Red Square in Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral cuts a strange silhouette among the stereotypically French apartment blocks of Nice. But while it might look slightly out of place, the church actually predates many of the surrounding buildings.

It was consecrated in 1912, and dedicated to the memory of Nicholas Alexandrovich, son of Tsar Alexander II, and heir-apparent to the Russian throne until his tragic death. He passed away in 1865, at the age of just 21, in a villa not far from this spot. Considered one of the most important orthodox buildings outside the Russian Federation, this cathedral, the largest of its kind in Western Europe, is the result of the efforts of the Royal Family to satisfy the spiritual needs of the growing Russian population in Nice.

In the mid-1800s, the Russian upper class, as well as the Tsars, started visiting the French Riviera during winter. The cathedral is open for visitors, so take a peek inside, you will not be disappointed!

Photo Copyright: Wikipedia

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Nice France

Notre Dame de Nice

Notre Dame de Nice is the largest, and most spectacular, church in the city. If you like to immerse yourself in the  splendor of French religious architecture, this is the church to visit. The grandeur of this church is to some extent explained by Nice’s interesting history.

Until 1860 the city was actually part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, but it was annexed during the Italian Wars of Independence. Nice’s new rulers decided they needed to make the city feel more French, and so commissioned a brand new church in the Gothic style. Notre Dame is the result. Marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows and the many impressive works of art that are on display!

Photo Copyright: Travel Guide

nizza basilika notre dame de nice

Jardin Albert 1er

Right in the middle of Nice sits a pleasant oasis of green, filled with palm trees and fountains. This is the Jardin Albert 1er, a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by after a long day of sightseeing. From the park, it is only minutes to the Old Town’s many shops and restaurants, where you can do some shopping and have a well-deserved cocktail before your chief stewardess will pick you up to make your way back to the yacht!

Photo Copyright: Flickr

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