Road-Tripping the Riviera, Stopping For Art
It’s known for beaches and nightlife, but the Côte d’Azur has museums to please even the pickiest of culture vultures. This drive—ideal for a weeklong getaway—will satisfy sun-worshippers and aesthetes alike.
1. Cézanne’s birthplace pays homage to the great Post-Impressionist with a walking trail that follows his footsteps through the town of Aix-en-Provence. Visit the Atelier Cézanne to see his studio and garden.
2. Musée Granet—considered one of France’s most beautiful museums—is an Impressionism-lover’s dream, with paintings by Monet, Degas, van Gogh, and Renoir.
3. Opened in 2013, MuCEM combines antiquities and modern art. Stop at one of the museum’s Gérald Passédat restaurants—the only place to taste his cuisine outside of his Michelin three-starred Le Petit Nice.
4. The legendary artist has a number of namesake museums, but the Musée Picasso in Antibes is the only one he actually used as a studio. Set in the ancient Château Grimaldi, it’s small enough to see in an hour and well worth the visit.
5. Striking Midcentury architecture provides a stunning backdrop for contemporary art at Fondation Maeght. Lose yourself in Miró’s Labyrinth and gaze upon works by Calder, Braque, Kandinsky, and Léger.
6. A visit to the bright, airy Musée Matisse will shed light on the great painter’s use of color—literally. Matisse lived nearby in the early 20s and painted in local hotels; their rich interiors liven up much of his work from that time.
7. Chagall lived on the French Riviera in the 1920s and again after World War II. The Musée Chagall is home to the Belarusian painter’s large-scale biblical oeuvre, swirling with magical realism.
8. The bold architecture of the Musée Cocteau is the perfect setting for the artist’s works. The collection consists of 1,800 of his pieces, including drawings, tapestries, and films.