There are countless treasures to discover in Nice. After living in the city for nearly seven months I’m still stumbling upon new places and sights. Back in January I finally took the time to visit Cimiez; a historical and residential neighborhood in Nice. Cimiez is well known for its Belle Époque architecture and the Excelsior Regina Palace. Named to attract the royal aristocracy, the Palace is famous for being visited by Queen Victoria. You will also find the Matisse Museum and the Archaeological Museum here.
The Regina served as a hotel upon completion in 1897. Today the Palace operates as luxury apartments.
I took the No. 17 Monastère/Cimiez bus from the stop across the street from the Gare de Nice Ville (the main train station). While it is possible to walk up to Cimiez I really don’t recommend it. I stepped off the bus and immediately entered the park, which is full of olive trees, and families and friends enjoying the beautiful weather. Both Museums are easily reached before entering the park. I was told by a friend who is a huge Matisse fan that the collection was quite disappointing to her. Since the museum isn’t free I opted to skip it this time around.
After making my way through the park I came upon the Franciscan Monastery, which can be seen from most places in Cimiez. Before entering the gardens, I decided to walk along the main road heading away from the Monastery. I came across a public park that I walked around for a while, before heading back to the Monastery gardens.
There were a few other groups of people walking around, but the parks and gardens weren’t at all crowded. One of the biggest perks of sightseeing in January is the fact that I never have to battle crowds.
On the opposite end of the Monastery is the entrance to the cemetery. Follow the signs to find the final resting place of Henri Matisse. Sometimes the signs are hard to spot; the last one is basically hidden! If you run into this problem, follow the pathways to the back left corner of the cemetery where you’ll find a staircase that will take you down to the Matisse sepulture.
Cimiez is a beautiful place for a picnic, a walk, and a relaxing day in the gardens or parks.