As you’d expect at a location of such unique historic significance, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has a superb and varied selection of museums, amply sustained by the generosity of the peninsula’s well-heeled patrons.
Come marvel at the collections of Chagall and Matisse, examine singular artefacts from France’s rich and complex past, and enjoy the natural history on display at the Museum of Shells.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Built in 1912 for the legendary art collector Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, this sumptuous palace overlooking the Mediterranean was donated by the famous heiress to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, shortly before her death in 1933. The museum is open to the public all year round, and in addition to the 9 themed gardens representing arboreal culture from around the world, visitors can enjoy Béatrice’s eccentrically-arranged but impressive collection of art from the Old Masters across different eras.
The Masséna Museum
Originally a winter residence for Victor Masséna, a flamboyant 19th century nobleman, the Masséna Museum itself is considered to be an archetypal example of the architectural history of ‘La Belle Époque’, the period of French history which so defines the Cap Ferrat aesthetic.
Donated to the city of Nice by Victor Masséna’s family after his death, the collections are largely a celebration of that period, with exhibits that include a copy of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death mask.
The Marc Chagall Museum
Based around the central theme of the Russian-French artist’s ‘Bible Illustrations’, the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice is the largest Chagall collection in the world.
Paintings, sculptures, stained glass, tapestries and mosaics all serve to highlight the diverse range and technical virtuosity of this beloved artist. The collection also includes fascinating practice sketches and travelogues that show the dedication involved in creating this most iconographic religious work.
The Seashell Museum
The only museum of its kind in Europe, this child-friendly natural history experience features more than 400 world-record holders among its collection of 7,000 Mediterranean and exotic shells.
Kids will love the wild and wonderful displays of beautiful shells – we recommend the interactive guided tour, which begins with a 6-minute documentary film. The museum provides free binoculars for the tour, so you can view the fine detail of the microscopic shells, too.