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7 favourite museums in Provence Côte d'Azur

So many of my good intentions for the blog slip during summer.  Mid June to mid July is by far the busiest time of year for me workwise on top of which I find it hard to write with the kids around and so many fun things to do.  Then we take off for our own holidays (a road trip moving from location to location) and even in this age of 24 hour connectedness technology isn’t infallible; I’ve been without wifi for more days than with over the last month meaning I have barely blogged!  So I have completely failed to keep up my Museum Monday series.  In a bid to rectify the situation I asked 5 local Côte d’Azur/Provence bloggers to share with me their favourite museums.  And here they are:

Cocteau Wunderland Museum Curious Rambler

Cocteau Museum (Wunderman collection) by The Curious Rambler

Margo from The Curious Rambler recommends Menton for its Cocteau museums

Menton is heaven for fans of Jean Cocteau: you get two Cocteau museums for the price of one, plus an extra bonus. The large museum, built in 2011 houses the Séverin Wunderman collection. This American collector donated almost 1,000 Cocteau pieces to the city of Menton which built this museum to house them – they also made Wunderman an honorary citizen. Your ticket includes entry to another small museum, called the Bastion, which was part of a seventeenth century fort until Cocteau converted it into a small exhibition space and covered the walls with his drawings. If you are hungry for even more Cocteau, head to the Marriage Salon in City Hall which was decorated ceiling to floor by the artist in 1958. With all of this Cocteau art so close together, you can really get a sense of this multi-talented artist.

Cocteau Menton

Bastion Museum

Musée Jean Cocteau, collection Séverin Wunderman

2 quai de Monléon  (+33) 04 89 81 52 50

Open 10.00-6.00 except Tuesdays and holidays

Bastion Museum

Vieux Port – (+33) 04 93 57 72 30

Open 10.00-12.00 and 2.00-6.00. Closed Tuesdays and holidays.

Entrance is included with the ticket for the Wunderman museum.

Marriage Salon in Menton Mairie

Hôtel de Ville – Place Ardoïno (+33) 04 92 10 50 00

Closed on weekends


Lisa from Italian Kiwi recommends the Picasso Museum in Antibes

My favorite museum on the Cote d’Azur is the Picasso museum, which stands on the city walls of Antibes, facing out onto the stunning blue Mediterranean Sea. The collection is not large, which I think is a bonus.  You can spend time enjoying the beautifully displayed pieces, and then take a break on the large terrace and admire the view of the bay. It’s a great museum to take children to.

Picasso Museum Antibes sea wall

Picasso Museum 

Place Mariejol  (+33) 04 92 90 54 20

Open 10.00-12.00 and 2.00-6.00 (mid Sept-mid June), 10.00-6.00 (mid June-mid Sept)

Closed on Mondays.


Carolyne from Perfectly Provence recommends Aix-en-Provence

I must admit that I have a soft spot for Aix-en-Provence. Walking through the confined, maze of streets in the old quarter I can almost feel the Roman presence. Strolling through the organized 17th century grid of aristocratic Quartier Mazarin it is possible to imagine a world where the very rich and extreme poor did not mix. Perhaps that is why the Hotel de Caumont, which reopened in May 2015, after an extensive restoration project, is one of my favourite museums in this city. Glance through the majestic iron gates into the cour d’honneur at l’Hôtel de Caumont and let the elegant limestone façade transport you to another era. This grand entrance was unique even in the chic Quartier Mazarin in Aix-en-Provence, it was large enough for horse carriages to turn around. The space is operated by Culturespaces, the inaugural exhibit was Canaletto: Rome, London, Venice the Triumph of Light a magical collection of the artist’s works over his lifetime. The 2016 summer exhibition is  “Turner et la couleur” showcasing the pre-impressionist work of English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1857).

For those who have a short attention span for museums (I might be one) Hotel de Caumont is perfect, the exhibition space is the perfect size. Not large enough to be overwhelming yet enough room to move freely and take in the works at your own speed.  However, I have to be honest my favourite thing about visiting Hotel de Caumont is having lunch in the garden admiring the Baroque architectural details.

Hotel de Caumont Aix en Provence

Hotel de Caumont

3 rue Joseph Cabassol  (+33) 04 42 20 70 01

Open 10.00-7.00 (May-Sept) 10.00-6.00 (Oct-April)


Antonia from Kidooland blog tells us about the favourite museums of the teenagers on summer camp

The AdoLand campers have been fortunate enough to explore the Côte d’Azur in the Summer holidays with us at KidooLand and in addition to the fun theme parks we have also been to many of the museums here in the Riviera. We did a little survey with some of the 2015 campers and their top 2 museums were the MAMAC in Nice and the Musée International de Parfum in Grasse. Asked why and they simply said that they found the exhibitions interactive. Engaging their senses is the way to keep teens involved and interested and make a museum trip a fun thing to do rather than a trial! 

MIP Grasse

Musée International de Parfum


Place Yves Klein  (+33) 04 97 13 42 01

Open 10.00-6.00  Closed Mondays and holidays

Musée International de Parfum

Bld du Jeu de Ballon  (+33) 04 97 05 58 00

Open 10.00-7.00 (May-Sept) 10.00-5.30 (Oct-April) closed on some holidays


And finally Becks from Access Riviera shares her recommendations

1)  Musée Picasso in Antibes is set in the old Château Grimaldi on the remparts and was the first museum dedicated to Picasso.  He spent some time in a studio there and donated many of his works.  I like this museum because aside from the artworks that also include pieces from Miro, Nicolas Stael and Richter, the building is filled with sunlight with views of the port, Cap d'Antibes and bay of Salis (especially from the outside terrace).  It is also now fully wheelchair accessible so people of all mobilities can enjoy the permanent and temporary exhibitions. (Entrance fee applies but they have 2 free weeks each year).

Picasso Access Riviera

Picasso Museum by Access Riviera

2)  Musée Volti is one of the handful of free museums located inside the Citadel at Villefranche sur Mer.  This one is my favourite though and even though the collection is small, the museum is lovely with sculptures by Antoniucci Volti of curvaceous woman made from bronze, clay and copper, set in a small courtyard and vaulted stone rooms. The Citadel itself has some great viewpoints across the bay to Cap Ferrat so take your camera.

volti Access Riviera

Musée Volti by Access Riviera

Musée Picasso

details as above

Musée Volti

La Citadelle, Villefranche sur Mer  (+33) 04 93 76 33 33

Open 10.00-12.00 and 3.00-6.30 (June-Sept), 10.00-12.00 and 2.00-5.30 (Oct-May) closed Sunday mornings and the month of November

Do you have a favourite museum somewhere?  Please share in the comments below.


Here's a PIN for later!

favourite museums in Provence Côte dAzur



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  • Guest
    Jill BARTH Saturday, 20 August 2016

    Wow, thank you! What a great collection. Where to begin?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    You begin by booking yourself a few days' break at Lou Messugo from where I can point you in the right direction for all these museums!!! Sorry, couldn't resist!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    You begin by booking yourself a few days' break at Lou Messugo from where I can point you in the right direction for all these museums!!! Sorry, couldn't resist!

  • Guest
    http://Elizabeth (Wander Mum) Friday, 19 August 2016

    Great list of some museums I've not heard of before. I'd definitely like to go to the Picasso museum. Very helpful to see what the 'locals' recommend. We love Provence so will be spending more time there over the coming years! #citytripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    When are you coming to stay Elizabeth???

  • Guest
    http://Cathy (Mummytravels) Friday, 19 August 2016

    There are some great art museums in the south of France but I love that some of them are good for kids too. I definitely agree about the best ones being interactive too. And about the summer being incredibly hectic too - I am looking forward to a rest in autumn... Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    Summer is a terrible time for my blog, but a great time for fun and family time, including lots of travel!

  • italiankiwi
    italiankiwi Wednesday, 17 August 2016

    What a great list of museums! I haven't been to some of them myself, and I live here! It's time to go visiting, I think!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    I'll come with you to the Cocteau museums Lisa...let's make a day of it!

  • Guest
    Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    I've done the Menton museums and the Picasso's in Antibes from this list:) #citytripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    I must get to the Menton museums, I've only seen them from outside!

  • Guest
    Becks at Access Riviera Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    Thanks for asking me to contribute to this post! I love everyone's opinion on their favourite museum. I'll be sure to visit Hotel de Caumont next time I'm in Aix-en-Provence, it's such a great place but last time I was there I ran out of time. Interesting to hear the teenager's comments about their preferred museum - that age is so tricky to please :) I will share on social media.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    Each time I've been in Aix the hotel de Caumont has been closed for renovations but now that it's open again I'm really looking forward to going. Thanks for contributing Becks.

  • Guest
    Katy Monday, 15 August 2016

    Saving! I loved Aix en Provence too. Oh who am I kidding, I love it all. If I had to choose I would visit the Picasso and Parfum museums

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 16 August 2016

    Aix is a very special place but you're right you need to see the Picasso and perfume museum...when you come to stay at Lou Messugo!!!

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Guest Monday, 18 June 2018

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