Art and History at Musée Masséna, France

Immerse yourself in the world of art, culture, and aristocracy at Musée Masséna in Nice

Inside the most beautiful villa in Nice, the Musée Masséna is surrounded by magnificent and captivating gardens and is a symbol of Nice. At the Musée Masséna, there are historical artifacts and works of art and performance. The first floor of this museum is made up of works of art, antique furniture, and personal belongings of the Massena family who built this house and whose family history is deeply intertwined with Napoleon and the history of Nice. Thematic aspects of Nice’s history from the 19th century up until before World War II are highlighted on the second floor, together with military artifacts and uniforms.

The numerous museums of Nice, which display everything from 1960s contemporary art to 15th-century classical masterpieces, will astound art enthusiasts. Masterpieces of famous painters such as gouache paintings by “Matisse”, and stained glass by “Chagall” or “Andy Warhol” can easily be seen in the museums of Nice.

And enjoy the flamboyant inlay and mosaic work of the 19th century. Nice offers you something of whatever art you are interested in, in the best places; sometimes in a villa with a view of the sea or on a hill overlooking the city. You will discover information on the Musée Masséna in Nice on this page.

Musée Masséna
Musée Masséna

The Musée Masséna was originally built as a vacation home for Prince Victor d’Essling, the grandson of one of Napoleon’s favorite generals. Stunning buildings like this one can be seen throughout Nice. A remarkable museum about the history of the Riviera is presently housed in this structure, which was constructed between 1898 and 1901 in the neoclassical and Italian style.

In this museum, the history of the holidays of kings the immigration of Americans to the boom of tourism, and the importance of holding the Nice Carnival are displayed. The ground floor of the Massena Museum is used for official events, so it is sometimes closed at short notice.

The Massena Museum on the Promenade des Anglais

The grandson of André Masséna, one of Napoleon’s finest generals, Prince Essling kept the Villa Masséna as his holiday home. It was an aristocratic home of the Belle Époque, constructed between 1898 and 1901 in the Italian neoclassical style. The furnishings of the ground level are lavishly decorated from the floors to the ceilings, yet they don’t feel as overwhelming as those in the Lascaris Palace.

You may see the eating area with a view of the garden, the office with the library, and the spacious living room with 19th-century paintings demonstrating, among other things, Napoleon Bonaparte in an inauguration robe and ancient conflicts. The bottom floor’s walls are fully embellished with paintings, marbles, wood, and textiles.

The Massena Museum on the Promenade des Anglais
The Massena Museum on the Promenade des Anglais

You can see a typical museum area as you enter the first level through a spectacular staircase. The first exhibit on this level features Napoleon’s relics, including a vest he wore when visiting the island of St. Helena and a posthumous mask created by the general. Along with the Empress diadem, the coat that Napoleon’s wife Josephine wore at the French Emperor’s coronation in Milan (in 1805) is on exhibit in the cabinet. Memorabilia related to André Masséna is housed at a different location.

A replica of the Casino de la Jetée-Promenade, which originally stood at sea in the middle of the city, is also on this level along with many more paintings, posters, and photographs of ancient Nice. Periodic exhibitions are held on the top floor.

Visiting the Massena Museum in Nice

The Massena Museum in Nice charges 10 euros for admission, which entitles you to 24 hours of free admission to other municipal museums. A ticket costing 20 euros allows you to see them once every seven days. It is worthwhile to spend approximately an hour seeing this location, followed by another 30 minutes to stroll around the garden that encircles the structure and take a break in the shade of the trees that grow there. Without a daytime break, the museum is accessible from Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during other seasons.

Musée Masséna, France
Musée Masséna, France


The “Musée Masséna” building was built in 1898 in the famous “English Promenade” area for an aristocratic nobleman named “Victor Masséna”. After his death, his son donated this house to the city and it became a local museum. Massena Museum underwent major renovations in 2008. Valuable sculptures and paintings may be found at this museum. The late 19th-century lifestyle of the French nobility is also depicted.

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