The Musée National du Sport is an excellent place to go for families visiting or living on the French Riviera. Located at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, it is the only national museum in France dedicated to sport.
What is on display at the Musée National du Sport
The museum has a wide collection of different sports memorabilia dating from the 16th century to modern times spread across 2500m2 of exhibition space.
You will see historic sports items including Olympic medals and torches, team uniforms, sports equipment, postcards, photographs, posters, sculptures and trophies.
It is a great place for children to see recreational items which are not in use today such as vintage bicycles and wooden skis.
There are displays for cycling, snow sports, running, boxing, fencing, racquet sports, football, rugby, handisports, martial arts, sailing, skateboarding and motorsports.
There are also interactive sports animations such as trying a game of fencing, Wii controllers, baby football tables and a Formula car simulator. A film room screens sports footage and documentaries.
The museum has a room dedicated to the OGC Nice football team with signed shirts, supporters gear and a jukebox with team chants. It is called Café des Aiglons but isn’t actually a cafeteria; there is a snack vending machine though!
The museum is excellent for families with kids of different ages because it has a good mixture of cabinet displays as well as interactive educational screens to keep children entertained. It is in my opinion one of the more modern museums you can visit on the Cote d’Azur and is definitely underrated for families!
As well as many permanent collections, the museum holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year. There is a dedicated zone of 500m2 where you can explore different displays based on specific themes or subjects. You can buy entry just for the permanent collections, or purchase a combined entry for the permanent and temporary exhibitions – the difference in price is €1 – €2 only.
Currently, the temporary exhibition at the museum until 11 March 2018 is ‘Jouez’ which is a fantastic showcase of games and toys, with a special focus on vintage items. You’ll see retro game consoles, vintage wooden toys and games and modern video games.
What other things do they offer?
The museum offers guided tours for individuals, groups, or associations; guided tours are additional to the cost of museum entrance.
They run children’s workshops throughout the year (including school holidays and Christmas). They also host kids birthday parties where you choose between several options that can include a visit of the museum, a sport-related activity and snacks.
Onsite, just to the right in the museum entrance foyer you’ll find a boutique selling items such as football shirts, books and posters.
Additionally, they have a huge collection of sports brochures, books, tickets, photos and films that have been collected since the 1960’s and the public can access this research area by pre-reservation every day (except Tuesday or the weekend). Find out more here: Le Centre de Researche et Ressources du Sport
You can also combine a visit to the museum with a tour of Allianz Riviera stadium; the cost varies between €8 to €13, reserve this via the museum site. The tour goes for 1.5 hours and is hosted in French language, tour participants must be minimum 6 years of age.
Another thing to note (which parents will appreciate) is that the toilet facilities include a baby change table. Such a small consideration, but it is not so common to find a baby change table here on the French Riviera so it is a much appreciated amenity.
How to get to the Musée National du Sport
By car: Getting to the museum is very simple. If you’re driving, simply come off the A8 autoroute at Sortie 52 (Saint-Isidore) and follow the signs to the stadium and/or museum which is located on boulevard des Jardiniers. There is free car parking right outside the museum entrance.
By train: Note, the museum can not be reached by train from either Nice Ville train station or Nice Saint-Augustin train station so don’t be led astray. You can get the Chemin de Fer de Provence train line from the Gare Nice station (4 bis rue Alfred Binet) to Saint-Isidore stop, and then it is a 10-minute walk from Saint-Isidore to the museum. See this map for the route from St Isidore station to the museum/stadium: http://www.allianz-riviera.fr/sites/allianz-riviera.fr/files/media/plan_daccecs_stade_evenement_pieton.pdf Chemin de Fer de Provence also have special fares when matches are on at the stadium too.
By bus: The museum’s brochure says you can get there using bus lines 11 and 59 that stop at Saint-Isidore. 🙂 However, for a tourist it’s not so easy to find more information online about these bus lines and where they travel to/from. So, to make things easier here is the information you need if you want to go by bus!
Bus 11: Travels between Carras / Frémont and Saint-Isidore. The line is called ‘Carras / Frémont – Centre Commercial Saint Isidore’ with Lignes Azur. For the museum, you can get off at stops ‘La Carrière’ or ‘Saint-Isidore Église’ and walk less than 10 minutes. The timetable at February 2018 is here: https://www.lignesdazur.com/ftp/lines/170904ligne-11.pdf
Bus 59: Travels between Nice and Plan du Var. The line is called ‘Plan du Var-Trésorerie-Cathédrale Vieille Ville’ with Lignes Azur. For the museum, you have to get off at stop ‘Les Baraques’ and walk 10 minutes to the museum/stadium. It’s important to note that the roads around this area are part of a semi-industrial area and can be quite busy with the autoroute nearby, so be cautious walking along here and crossing roads. The timetable at February 2018 is here: https://www.lignesdazur.com/ftp/lines/180110ligne59.pdf
Note: These bus routes have changes until the end of February 2018 because of roadworks and Nice Carnival, so check on the Lignes Azur website before you travel on these buses.
Opening hours / entry prices for the Musée National du Sport
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays).
Between October and April, hours are 11am to 5pm.
Between May and September, hours are 10am to 6pm.
The best tip I can share is that on the first Sunday of every month the museum is free of charge for everyone.
They also participate in the yearly Journées Européennes du Patrimoine held each September when museums open their doors to the public for free (or a very low cost).
Every other day, children under 18 years of age get free entry.
Groups, 18-25 years of age or job seekers = €3 for one exhibition, or €4 for permanent + temporary displays.
Adults = €6 for one exhibition, or €8 for permanent + temporary displays. There is no special rate for seniors.
If you are visiting the French Riviera for 3 days or more, the museum participates in the Côte d’Azur Card sightseeing pass.
The National Sports Museum is an excellent option for travellers on a budget, families looking for an interesting attraction or rainy day activity or anyone interested in history of sport.
Watch the promotional video of the museum below (video credit: MuséeduSport / YouTube):
The Musée National du Sport is suitable for persons with restricted mobility and is wheelchair accessible. The museum is on the ground floor with no interior steps or steep inclines and there are wheelchair accessible toilets in the main entrance foyer. I forgot to check if there are mobility spaces in the carpark but I’m 99% sure there will be some and the entrance path to the museum is flat and paved.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post about the Musée National du Sport in Nice! Please do share this post on social media if you found it useful, or for more information about the Sports Museum in Nice, go to their website www.museedusport.fr