Lascaris Palace in Nice

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The Lascaris Palace in Nice is, on the one hand, a seventeenth-century palace built by the aristocratic Lascaris de Vintimille family. Its architectural style is of the so-called Genoese baroque. It is located in the Old Nice, at 15 right street. Nowadays, it is, moreover, the Museum of ancient musical instruments.

The Lascaris Palace in Nice and its history

Why then Lascaris? Simply because in 1261, Pierre-Guillaume de Vintimille married Eudoxie Lascaris, one of the daughters of the Greek emperor of Nice, Theodore II.

The most illustrious of the family is thus, Jean-Paul de Lascaris-Castellar (1636-1657), 57th grand master of the Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Edified in 1648, by the marshal Jean-Baptiste Lascaris who grouped 5 houses, the construction of the palace is completed despite everything, only in the early eighteenth century. The family Vintimille-Lascaris will own it, until 1802. At the beginning of the 20th century, it is true that the palace is degraded. In 1942, the city of Nice buys it with the aim of making it a Museum of regional folk arts and traditions. In 1946, it was classified as a historical monument. After several long years of work, the Palace opened to the public in 1970. The collections of musical instruments from the Massena Museum were transferred to the Lascaris Palace in 2001. With the permanent exhibition of these instruments, the Palais Lascaris thus becomes, in 2011, the Museum of ancient musical instruments in Nice.

The Palais Lascaris in Nice and its layout

Before entering the Palais Lascaris, you must first admire the facade, which is decorated with white marble windows and balconies. Hors d’oeuvre of the visit.

The hall of honor


From the moment you step inside, you are impressed by a large vestibule with vaulted, ridged, ornate designs. A fresco on the ceiling also catches your eye. It represents the coat of arms of the Lascaris family that is an eagle with 2 crowned heads holding in their beaks the ribbon of the motto “Nec me fulgura” (not even lightning can kill me), the white points are characteristic of the Maltese Cross.

First Floor

A monumental staircase takes you to the 1st floor, it is surrounded by arcades, trompe l’oeil. You can admire a statue of Mars, holding a shield with, the coat of arms of the Lascaris family. At the bottom of this staircase, you can see a marble base with a pine cone in marble. Then, a little higher, another base with a cuirass, a quiver and a sword whose handle is a bird’s head. In addition, a statue of Venus and Hercules are visible. And finally, busts are found in niches. Know, moreover, that the second floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions.

2nd floor and its ceremonial rooms

The floor on the 2nd is called noble because the ceremonial apartments can be seen here. The ceilings with frescoes of mythological stories are original and painted in the mid-17th century. They are, in fact, attributed to painters of the Genoese school. One of these ceilings shows the Fall of Phaeton, another Venus and Adonis who are in a chariot pulled by swans and are guided by Mercury. It is also possible to see a fresco of Psyche entering Olympus, etc. Mythological scenes are represented in medallions…
The bedroom with its four-poster bed, the alcove and the atlantes and caryatids testify to a past splendor. The chapel also has a stuccoed ceiling, the main fresco represents Wisdom defying Time and Death, etc. Above each door, there are seascapes and landscapes with rivers.    

The statues and rococo decor of the salons date from the eighteenth century. One can, likewise, admire Flemish and Aubusson tapestries that hang on the walls. Notice during your visit, the many doors called Italian flying doors. They, too, date from the eighteenth century, it is a system that allowed to lighten the weight.

The instrument collection of the Palais Lascaris in Nice

It comes mostly from the legacy of Antoine Gautier. He was born in Nice, in 1825, and died, in 1904.

The bequest was made in 1901.

In 1901, Antoine Gautier therefore made a bequest to the city of Nice of his instrumental collections comprising more than  225 pieces, etc. 
Excellent amateur musician who set up a music room, a collection of instruments as well as rare musical magazines in his home on rue Papacino.

In the many display cases, one notices viols, baroque guitars, recorders, a harpsichord and several harps including the piano-harp of Luigi Caldera, etc.

The Érard, Pleyel, Gaveau archive was, in fact, donated to the Music Museum in 2009. This collection consists of musical instruments, but also documents and archives from the late eighteenth century to 1970.

Since 2013, the Tissier-Grandpierre collection consisting of 66 instruments, including 18 antique harps, is on deposit at the Palais Lascaris in Nice.
In conclusion, the Palais Lascaris in Nice is really a very well-stocked and complete Museum of Musical Instruments, the visit is really worth it.


Palais Lascaris
15 rue Droite
06300 Nice  
Site officiel ville de Nice
Site from Monuments de France

Opening : From 01/01 to 31/12 from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Exceptional closures on January 1, Easter Monday, May 1, and December 25.

Please note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Full price: 5 € the entrance of the Museum (the ticket of 3 days, 15euros, gives access to all the municipal museums and galleries), group of adults: 4 € (from 10 people).
Free for the press, jobseekers, students, disabled people and their companions.
Museum Pass is offered to all the Niçois and inhabitants of the communes of the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis. It gives free access to all municipal museums and galleries (bring an ID and proof of address less than 3 months).

Tram T1 stops at the Cathedral – City Center station, not far from the Palais Lascaris
Buses 12 and 30 provide access to the Palais Lascaris


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