For a Whole Day
Nice: 32km (20 miles) east along the coast, Nice is a museum Mecca. The Musée Matisse, 164 avenue des Arènes de Cimiez (tel: (04) 9381 0808) displays a rich collection of paintings and sculptures in the artist’s former home. The Musée National Message Biblique, avenue du Dr Ménard (tel: (04) 9353 8720) houses the enormous dreamscapes of Marc Chagall. Proud portraits of Napoleon and Josephine, religious art and Flemish and Germanic sculpture are displayed in the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, 65 rue de France (tel: (04) 9388 0622), located in the lush turn-of-the-century Palais Masséna. The prestigious Musée d''Art Moderne et d''Art Contemporain (MAMAC), Promenade des Arts (tel: (04) 9362 6162) displays French and American works from the 1960s to the present day. The New Museum of Asian Arts has just opened at 405 promenade des Anglais (tel: (04) 9229 3700).
For a Half Day
Grasse: The world capital of the perfume industry for over three centuries, Grasse is situated just 16km (ten miles) from Cannes. Four of its 300 perfume factories and the Musée International de la Parfumerie, 8 place du Cours, are open to the public. August brings the Fête du Jasmin, with a carnival atmosphere and floats of flowers. Other attractions include the fascinating Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence, 2 rue Mirabeau, Amiral de Grasse Museum and the 12th-century cathedral, which contains three Rubens. Rapide-Côte d’Azur buses to Grasse depart from the Cannes train station. The Grasse Tourist Office, Cours Honoré-Cresp (tel: (04) 9336 6666; fax: (04) 9336 8636), provides further information.
Guided two-hour walking tours depart every Wednesday at 1430 from the Tourist Information Office, Palais des Festivals, Esplanade Georges Pompidou (tel: (04) 9339 2453). These cost €7 (free for children under the age of 12 years) and take in the Old Town (Suquet), the old port, rue d’Antibes and La Croisette. The most rewarding nature trails are to be found on the Lérins Islands. In the summer season, the Office National des Forêts (ONF) offers guided tours to the Ile Ste Marguerite. Outside of these times, visitors can follow the signposted botanical trail.
Les petit trains de la Croisette et du Suquet (tel: (06) 1409 4939) depart regularly from the Tourist Office, Palais des Festivals. The Le Suquet (Old Town) tour costs €6 (€3 children under ten years) and the La Croisette tour costs €5 (€2.5 children under ten years). Both trips last 30-40 minutes and include a multi-lingual commentary.
Clearly sign-posted information points along the Route Napoléon recount the progress of Napoleon, after his escape from the Isle of Elba. The Action Nationale des Elus pour la Route Napoléon (tel: (04) 9340 1233; fax: (04) 9340 1233) provides further information.