- Musée Fabre (Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon): This extensive collection of Flemish, French, and Italian works from the 15th to the 18th centuries, as well as art from the 19th and 20th centuries, is housed in a handsome 19th-century mansion near the place de la Comédie. It's built around the private collection of Montpellier painter François-Xavier Fabre, which has been increasing steadily since the artist's death in 1837. Now the collections contain works by Poussin, Vernet, Bernini, Cabanel, Rubens, Courbet, and Dufy.
- Musée de L'Annonciade (St-Tropez, Western Côte): Few people come to St-Tropez for art. Yet this airy 16th-century chapel houses an impressive collection by 20th-century greats such as Bonnard, Dufy, Seurat, Utrillo, Vuillard, and Matisse. You'll be able to view St-Tropez through the decades in works by Paul Signac, who installed himself in an art studio, La Hune, after stumbling across this little fishing village in 1892. Don't miss Aristide Maillol's nymph sculpture looking towards the port from the first floor of the museum.
- Musée Picasso (Antibes, French Riviera): After the bleak war years in Paris, Picasso returned to the Mediterranean in 1946. He didn't have a studio, so the curator of this museum offered him space. Picasso labored here for several months -- it was one of his most creative periods. At the end of his stay, he astonished the curator by leaving his entire output on permanent loan to the museum, along with some 100 ceramics he produced at Vallauris. This museum reveals Picasso in an exuberant mood, as evoked by his fauns and goats in Cubist style, his still lifes of sea urchins, and his radiant La Joie de Vivre.
- Fondation Maeght (St-Paul-de-Vence, French Riviera): One of Europe's greatest modern art museums, this foundation is remarkable for its setting and its art alike. Built in 1964, the avant-garde building boasts a touch of fantasy, topped by two inverted domes. The colorful canvases radiate with the joy of life. All your favorites are likely to be here: Bonnard, Braque, Soulages, Chagall, Kandinsky, and more. A stunningly designed terraced garden is a setting for Calder murals, Hepworth sculptures, and the fanciful fountains and colorful mosaics of Miró. The courtyard is populated with Giacometti figures that look like gigantic emaciated chessmen.
- Musée National Marc Chagall (Nice, French Riviera): This Niçois museum houses the largest public collection of Marc Chagall's works. Set in the pretty Nice suburb of Cimiez, the austere building little prepares you for the fantastical world of violin-playing goats and horseback acrobats that greets you inside. Stained-glass windows in the auditorium take you on a tour of the creation of the world. After an initial donation of his Message Biblique series, the museum has gradually collated over 800 works by Chagall to give a more complete picture of his work from his time in Russia and prewar Paris to his war-time exile in the U.S., and finally to his return to France.
- Musée des Beaux-Arts (Nice, French Riviera): In the former home of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchoubey, the collection comes as an unexpected delight, with not only many Belle Époque paintings but also modern works, including an impressive number by Sisley, Braque, Degas, and Monet, plus Picasso ceramics. There's whimsy, too, especially in the sugar-sweet canvases by Jules Chéret, who died in Nice in 1932. Well represented also are the Van Loo family, a clan of Dutch descent whose members worked in Nice. The gallery of sculptors honors Rude, Rodin, and J. B. Carpeaux.