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Marc Chagall Museum in Nice, France--don't bother!

My husband and I can't understand why this museum is so highly rated in Rick's guidebook--four triangles, I believe. We had very little time in Nice and aren't great modern art fans, but the book said to go even if that were the case, so we decided to go there first and then try to get in the walking tour. Well, were we disappointed! The museum isn't all that big, and all of the paintings are of biblical themes, which we certainly aren't opposed to, but they weren't the light and bright circus paintings one associates with Chagall. We weren't able to figure out the buses and so just walked, and it was very pleasant to do that, but the destination just wasn't worth it as far as we were concerned. If you're in the neighborhood anyway it's worth a stop, I guess, but otherwise don't bother! There's lots of other stuff in Nice that much more worth your time.

Posted by
6878 posts

My husband and I can't understand why this museum is so highly rated in Rick's guidebook--four triangles, I believe.

Yeah but in this age of the Internet access to information you can see in advance what you are getting yourself into; why go completely by what a person says is great especially when it comes to art without doing a little more research to see if it fits your interests. You would not let a kid pick your playlists.

Posted by
2509 posts

I guess that’s why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors. We thought it was splendid, a highlight of our visit to Nice.

Posted by
935 posts

Is that the museum where there are works cut out of paper? I tried to hit it up last time in Nice but circumstances intervened in the way of a broken wrist which needed attention. I guess we'll have to go back again.

Posted by
19525 posts

The paper cut-outs should be at the Matisse Museum; I ran out of time before I got to that one. The Chagall Museum has only a few paintings, but they are large ones.

I think going to a museum that holds only one person's work is perhaps not the best choice if you're not too much of a fan of that artist, and even less if you are not (yet) a great fan of art in general. It's entirely possible that none of the items created by that one artist will greatly appeal to you. A museum with broader holdings may work out a lot better. Nice has a number of other art museums. My favorites were the Museum of Naïve Art and the Asian Art Museum, both of which show a lot of different artists. I'm not sure Rick even mentions those museums in the "France" book (the one I was using). He and I don't seem to have the same taste in art.

Posted by
2950 posts

The “works cut out of paper” are probably what you’d see at the Matisse Museum in Nice, also a wonderful museum.

Posted by
1958 posts

For me, the Chagall Museum was one fo the highlights of my visits to Nice. I thought it was absolutely worth the effort. Each to his own tastes and isn't that a good thing? I'm sorry you had "very little time in Nice"; there is so much to enjoy there and in the surrounding towns and villages.

Posted by
4700 posts

I visited the Chagall last year when I was in Nice. I am not a "museum" person but still push myself to see a few of them anyway. I visited solely based on Rick's recommendation in his book. I was not disappointed but also not especially impressed - it was "OK." I've had better museum experiences.

Posted by
3044 posts

I've never yet visited a museum that concentrates solely on an artist or style of art of which I'm not a fan. I don't care how many stars or triangles someone else awards it. Life (and vacation time) is too short to waste.

Posted by
5697 posts

If, however, you are someone who searches out Chagall works, the museum in Nice is fabulous -- I changed our dates for Nice just to be able to see it. (Also went to see the Chagall windows in Jerusalem. And have several Chagall prints on my walls at home)
A chacun son gout.

Posted by
4700 posts

I've never yet visited a museum that concentrates solely on an artist or style of art of which I'm not a fan. I don't care how many stars or triangles someone else awards it. Life (and vacation time) is too short to waste.

If I didn't push myself to visit museums once in a while, I'd never visit any of them. And I have liked a few of them.

Posted by
3589 posts

The last time I was in that part of France, we stayed in Antibes. We made a special day trip to Nice for the sole purpose of seeing both of these museums. I'm a Matisse fan. I wasn't particularly impressed by Chagall until I saw the museum devoted to his work.

Chacun à son goût, indeed.

Posted by
356 posts

I'm a big fan of Chagall - I loved it. And Tudeley Church with its Chagall windows is very special too.

But I get that it's not for everyone. We all have different interests.

Posted by
865 posts

Seeing the Chagall Museum was one of the highlights of my brief time in Nice. I arrived at the museum just after the film started so I decided to do that first. I'm glad I did because it was mainly an interview with Chagall in the 1970s, in which he talked about his process and some of his works. He was a cheerful guy, so it's no wonder his paintings are so full of life and color. The museum has 17 murals that he painted specifically for that space. Yes, they depict various books of the Bible, including the Song of Songs, and they show his love of Russian folklore, his Jewish heritage, and his feeling that he lived between heaven and earth.

Someone on this forum at the time (2014) had written that the museum was disappointing because all it had were black-and-white drawings. Maybe that person was in a different museum because all I saw were surreal swirls of color. It was beautiful, and I'm really glad I went.

I regret that I didn't have time for the Matisse Museum, but Chagall was a priority for me.

Posted by
3002 posts

Have to agree with other Chagall fans. The museum was the highlight of our stay in Nice. We stayed an extra day to see his amazing work.

Posted by
1097 posts

I also loved the Chagall Museum but I am very fond of all his work. (The same for the Matisse Museum!)
But if these artists are not to your taste, it's okay to miss them.
It's your holiday...

Posted by
277 posts

This is kind of a silly thread. It's like saying "I don't like vanilla and don't see why anyone else should like it. "
I personally loved the Chagall Museum but didn't go to the Matisse Museum in Nice because his work doesn't appeal to me. I also wouldn't go to the Mercedes Benz museum in Munich. I don't even drive.

For me it was wonderful to actually see the brush strokes in Chagall's large paintings in that museum. Nothing better than seeing the art right in front of you.

Posted by
8293 posts

So, not having enjoyed the Chagall museum themselves, the OP's advice is that no one else should "bother" to go. Since no one here knows who the OP is or what his\her credentials as an art critic are, I see no reason to take the advice seriously.

Posted by
3002 posts

In addition to my previous posting, I will add "art is in the eye of the beholder." I see art as subjective. It allows us to develop our own meaning and connection. I connected to his art not only for the colors & style, but because Chagall saw his work as "not the dream of one people but of all humanity."

Posted by
6888 posts

For anyone planning a trip that includes Nice, visit the Chagall Museum! The museum was built to hold these paintings. His childhood in Russia is also refected in these Biblical paintings.

Posted by
1984 posts

This is a good example of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I'm a Chagall fan and would like to visit this museum. Also, my favorite artist is Matisse and the first exhibit of his I ever saw was "The Cut Outs" in Washington, D.C. in 1976. So, definitely, Nice is on my list of places to visit.

Posted by
1729 posts

Some tips for readers of this thread:
• In the same park as the Matisse museum there is a recently revamped archaeology exhibit about the Roman period that is worth a stop while you're in the neighborhood
• Time your visit to the Chagall museum so that you have brunch or lunch before or after in their garden cafe, especially if the weather is nice. Great outdoor tables behind the hedges; food is okay, try a composed salad, and some interesting drinks.

Posted by
11798 posts

This is why I rarely weigh in on Itinerary questions. Each person's definition of a "must see" or "skip" sight depends solely on their own interests and preferences. I'll never say, "Be sure to see xxxx," but I might say, "If you like xxxx, you may really enjoy xxxx." I always try to tell why I liked a sight so people can figure out if it's for them, or not. I can see why Rick recommends what he does, but I know I don't always appreciate the same things he suggests. More people buy his books than mine (I don't actually have a book) so it's pretty hard to criticize his choices.

Posted by
151 posts

I loved the Chagall Museum. I would concur getting there was a bit of a trek because the bus stop had been moved due to construction. When I did reach there, I was so glad I made that journey. I felt it gave a good overview of his work. I also watched the short film about his life.

Nice is lovely - agreed. It has been one of my favorite trips.