A gallery fulfilling the Eastern promise ...
This may be the best Oriental arts museum in southern France. Out by the airport, it is, though, a bit too far to walk from the centre. So take a N° 9, 10 or 23 bus, hop off at the “Arénas” stop and head for the geometrically-arranged building of white marble and glass.
It appears to be floating on a lake, which already instils a sense of tranquility.
Inside, there’s an engrossing mix of the cultural and the everyday, the spiritual and the temporal. I’ve rarely seen the relation between these elements so clearly and lightly handled.
A Nice cup of tea
Right now (to Jan 3, 2011), there’s a temporary show of contemporary Rimpa art, revisiting one of the key currents in Japanese creativity.
And, if that's not your cup of tea, you may have, well, a cup of tea. Go there on Sundays for 3pm and you can take part in a Japanese tea ceremony. Be sure to book ahead, though, on the museum's telephone number. Though the museum is free, the tea ceremony costs 10.10 euros.
* While out at the museum, it would be silly to miss the Parc Floral Phoénix (405 Promenade des Anglais, 04 92 29 77 00, www.nice.fr, 2.20 euros, under-12s free). The 17-acre gardens effectively start where the museum stops. They're quite delightful, even if you're not a plant person. If you are, then you will doubtless be engrossed by the 20 themed gardens and one of the most enormous tropical green-houses in Europe.
And, if your children couldn't care two hoots about rare orchids, they might still be diverted by the swans, ducks, pelicans and tortoises in and around the park's lake. (Also, if they're like mine were, by the chance to run about and eat ice-creams from the snack bar.)