Inside the most beautiful villa on the Promenade des Anglais, right next to the iconic Hotel Negresco, you’ll find the elegant Musee Massena. Surrounded by stately manicured gardens, the estate is an oasis of tranquility, and the villa itself has been beautifully restored.
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.
A particularly interesting display has personal memorabilia from Napoleon and Josephine including a cape and tiara that she once wore, some of their letters, and even Napoleon’s death mask! The third floor displays historic documents, including some fun drawings, photos, advertising, and tourism posters from the turn of the century.
How to get there: By bus take #8 or 11 which both go along the Prom, and get off at the Congres-Promenade stop; or take #7 getting off at Dante-Gambetta, or the #9 or 10 getting off at the Rivoli stop. The address is technically 65 rue de France (one street inland from the Prom) but it’s easiest to spot and access from its entrance on the Prom, next to the iconic pink turrets of the Hotel Negresco.
Location : Promenade des Anglais - Central Nice