The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

A visit to the Picasso Museum, Antibes

This week I popped into the Picasso Museum in Antibes with my parents who were visiting from England.  They’ve been to stay many times and have seen much that the Riviera has to offer but had never been to the Picasso Museum, nor had I for that matter.  As enthusiastic history of art students (they have been studying for a few years and have travelled to many cities purely for the art) they jumped at my suggestion to go there and I think I probably enjoyed it more because of their knowledge than had I gone alone (more on this later).

sculpture Picasso Museum Antibes French Riviera

The Picasso Museum is housed in an impressively positioned castle on the rampart walls of Antibes with views looking over the port, Salis bay, the Cap d’Antibes and out to sea.  Its location is hard to beat and paying the small entrance fee for the views alone, even if you’re not massively interested in the art, is worth it I think.  It’s also worth it for the actual building which has been sympathetically transformed into a bright well-lit gallery from a (no doubt dark) castle with an ancient history.  Originally a residence for Bishops in the Middles Ages, the château became the home of the Grimaldi family in 1385 giving it its name Château Grimaldi.  Over the years it was successively  the residence of the King’s Governor, the Town Hall, military barracks and from 1925 a historical museum having been bought by the city of Antibes for this purpose.

Picasso Museum Antibes sea wall

Picasso’s link to the building came about when he visited the museum in 1945 and was offered space on the second floor to use as a studio.  All in all he only spent a few months in Antibes in 1946 but it was a happy time, full of renewed hope and enthusiasm for life after the end of the Second World War and he produced numerous works of art during this short period.  He donated 23 paintings and 44 drawings to Antibes on his departure which became the basis of the collection for the museum dedicated to him some 20 years later.  In the late 1940s the museum held several exhibitions of Picasso’s work but it wasn’t until December 1966 that the Château Grimaldi officially became the Picasso Museum, thereby becoming the first museum in the world dedicated to his work. 

Picasso Museum Antibes Côte dAzur

Nowadays Picasso’s work is displayed on the top floor, in the space that was his studio, leaving the ground and first floor for other modern artists and temporary exhibitions.  If you’re short of time and want to see Picasso’s work above all head straight to the top and work downwards.  The collection is not large and for an amateur like me doesn’t contain any famous pieces.  Don’t go expecting to see recognisable masterpieces or you’ll be disappointed. 

Picasso museum

Do go however for the lovely feeling of the place; the glimpses of azure sea through the narow windows, the beautifully worn terracotta tiles (different shapes in every room) and the details in the building such as carvings around doorframes and old beams.  And do go of course for the lesser known but rather lovely works (mainly) depicting sea urchins, fish, octopus and mythical creatures such as fauns and centaurs.  Among the other rooms is one displaying some of his ceramics and one dedicated to photos of Picasso in his studio with his friends, in scenes of ordinary life.  I was struck by how contemporary they looked despite being nearly 70 years old.

looking out window Picasso museum Antibes

The museum is small and an hour’s visit is sufficient to see everything particularly as although there are information panels in each room giving an overview of the work on display (in French, English and Italian), there are no audioguides available and no leaflets either.  If you like to know detail about the works of art you’re seeing then you may be frustrated, but if like me you just enjoy the atmosphere and beauty of the art then I think you’ll enjoy it, however this time I was able to benefit from my parents’ greater knowledge as well.

info panels at Picasso museum

As I mentioned above, the location of the museum is one enormous drawcard and one of the loveliest things to do is to soak up the sun and enjoy the views from the sculpture garden that looks out over the Mediterranean sea.  Look left over the port and on towards Nice, right over Salis bay to Cap d’Antibes and straight for a never-ending vision of blue, dotted with yachts and sailing dinghies.  In the garden there are sculptures by several different artists including Mirό.

sculptures at Picasso museum

The Musée Picasso is closed on Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 1st November and 25th December.  It is also closed over lunch between 12-2pm for most of the year, only open non-stop from mid June to mid September.  Opening hours are 10-12, 2-6pm. Tickets are sold until 30 mins before closing times.  

Musée Picasso AntibesSince its recent refurbishment it is fully accessible (and free) for wheelchair users.  Tickets cost 6€ full price, 3€ students & over 65 and free for under 18.  For detailed information check the Antibes website (in French).  The museum doesn't have its own website (but it does have a reasonably well stocked giftshop!)

 

Why not PIN it!

Picasso Museum Antibes France

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Packing my Suitcase Friday, 03 June 2016

    I had no idea that there was a Picasso museum in Antibes!
    How lovely that your parents are art lovers, going to a museum like this with them is certainly different than going by yourself :D

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes

  • Guest
    Katja Wednesday, 25 May 2016

    The location of the museum is almost as impressive as Picasso's work! This sounds like a really interesting place to visit, thanks for the recommendation. #MondayEscapes

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 31 May 2016

    It really is a lovely location and happy you liked my recommendation.

  • Guest
    Charly Monday, 23 May 2016

    What a superb spot Phoebe, just wonderful. Sounds like it's an interesting place to visit too with Picasso and the newer artists work featured. Love the old brick against the bright blue sky :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 31 May 2016

    It's a lovely place to visit for so many reasons.

  • Guest
    Karen Langridge Monday, 23 May 2016

    It looks a fantastic attraction in a rather beautiful place! x

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 31 May 2016

    Indeed Karen, it is!

  • Guest
    Emma Monday, 23 May 2016

    I LOVE Picasso! We have actually been here, and it's just as beautiful as I remember it! :) #mondayescapes

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 31 May 2016

    Glad to hear it Emma.

  • Guest
    Stephen Sunday, 22 May 2016

    What a stunning setting for the museum, I am quite envious!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    The Côte d'Azur lends itself to many stunning settings, we are very lucky here!

  • Guest
    Sox Sunday, 22 May 2016

    We really enjoyed our visit and the views from the castle were great. The wind was quite something too.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    Oh yes, it can be very windy out on the terrace!

  • Guest
    http://Nayna Kanabar Saturday, 21 May 2016

    What a beautiful setting , the museum looks amazing.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    It is! :)

  • Guest
    Cass Friday, 20 May 2016

    What a beautiful setting for a museum - I'd be there just for the view x x

  • Guest
    Birgit | Groove Is In The Heart Friday, 20 May 2016

    Wow! What an incredible beautiful setting. I love art, but I think I would spend most of my time in the garden just enjoying the sunshine and beautiful views over the ocean. (It's getting winter on my side of the world and I'm feeling cold, so maybe that's another reason why it's particularly attractive to me right now :-)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    With winter coming I can see why you'd feel like that Birgit, but another good thing about this museum is it's a cool place to get away from the intense summer heat too.

  • Guest
    the Pigeon Pair and Me Friday, 20 May 2016

    I never knew there was a Picasso Museum in the Antibes! I wouldn't mind not having all the audio equipment etc. Sometimes it's just nice to stop and stare.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    Yes I agree, you can just let your imagination run wild.

  • Guest
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) Thursday, 19 May 2016

    What a fabulous building and amazing views...I can imagine Picasso was much inspired having his studio in such a stunning location. I'd be really interested to see some of his lesser known work. Thanks for sharing on #citytripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    There were some lovely drawings and paintings there Elizabeth, but photography wasn't allowed so I thought I better not take any photos; shame :-(

  • Guest
    Clare Thomson Thursday, 19 May 2016

    what a great spot and such a super location for an art studio. I'm always keen on a Picasso museum so this would definitely be high up on my list.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    When are you coming Clare?!!

  • Guest
    Ruth Thursday, 19 May 2016

    How cool is having parents like that? My Dad and I are history lovers and it feels great when you talk with somebody who knows more than you about certain topics. I would like to travel around the South of France visiting several art museums. I will have to convince my husband though (he is not an art fan).

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    Come and stay at Lou Messugo Ruth and you can leave your husband by the pool while I show you some galleries!!

  • Guest
    Jen Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    This would be right up my street. I LOVE things like this.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    Another reason to holiday at Lou Messugo Jen!!!

  • Guest
    Kara Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    It looks like a fascinating place to visit - the view from the window is specatacular

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    It sure is Kara!

  • Guest
    Emma | The Mini Mes and Me Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    Your photos always make me want to go on holiday - they really show the beautiful weather so well. We are going to France in just a few weeks!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    I'm glad they have that effect...Have a great time in France, next time come to Lou Messugo!

  • Guest
    Pinay Flying High Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    I have to admit that I'm not much into art but the view from that museum is something I'd definitely enjoy! Fabulous!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 19 May 2016

    Yes it's a lovely one! No need to appreciate art to appreciate the sea.

  • Guest
    Cathy ( MummyTravels ) Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    What a gorgeous spot - the views and the building are amazing, the art seems almost a bonus! #citytripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    Luckily the views are lovely as photos aren't allowed of the art works and I like to have lots of photos in my posts!

  • Guest
    Lydia C. Lee Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    Wow!!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    Yup!

  • Guest
    Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    nice photos! I visited this museum a few years ago:) #city tripping

  • Guest
    Phoebe Wednesday, 18 May 2016

    You've been everywhere on the Riviera Tanja!

  • Guest
    Erica Price Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    I love visiting art galleries and used to go often pre child days. Whilst Picasso isn't my favourite artist by a long way, I'd like to visit this gallery.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    He isn't my favourite either Erica, but it's a lovely place to while away some time and there are some lovely painting and sketches here.

  • Guest
    moy Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    Couldn't agree with you more. We visited in October and loved it.

    Really enjoy your blog.

    moy

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    Thank you Moy :)

  • Guest
    corinna klaentschi Monday, 16 May 2016

    Looks amazing

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    The setting really is quite stunning Corinna

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Guest Wednesday, 23 May 2018

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