Gourmet monasteries, flamboyant churches, painted chapels, a Russian cathedral: the Côte d’Azur and its many facets of sacred art! Discover our selection of not-to-be-missed chapels and monasteries on the Côte d’Azur.
DISCOVER THE CISTERCIAN ABBEY NOTRE-DAME DE LA PAIX IN CASTAGNIERS
Earth blessed by heaven, the Côte d’Azur inevitably gives birth to religious vocations.
The numerous convents and monasteries testify to this spiritual path. And some still shelter vibrant communities. Inland from Nice in Castagniers, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de la Paix is home to 14 nuns. To provide for their needs they have developed a know-how that couldn’t be more tempting: chocolate making! For over 60 years, the small chocolate factory has been at work, always ensuring the quality of pure cocoa butter chocolate – on average they produce two tonnes a year.
TREASURE ISLAND: HEAD OFF TO ILE SAINT-HONORAT OFF THE COAST OF CANNES
Off the coast of Cannes on Ile Saint-Honorat, their Cistercian brothers from Lérins Abbey have not been outdone.
Heir to sixteen centuries of history and faith, the twenty or so monks in this magnificent monastery surrounded by eucalyptus scented greenery and guarded by a thousand-year-old fortress looking out to sea cultivates two gourmet specialities: liqueurs and wine. However, the atmosphere of is not one of unbridled libation but more one of the prayers that punctuate the days of the religious order and their lay guests. The abbey also offers lodging and food.
BAROQUE SPLENDOURS IN THE ROYA: HEAD OFF TO THE MONASTERY IN SAORGE!
Another monastery on the Côte d’Azur continues the ritual of hospitality in Saorge.
You’ll need a pen and paper! Abandoned by the Franciscans at the beginning of the last century, owned by the State for the last fifty years, this Baroque ensemble in the heart of the Roya valley is in fact home to a writing residency. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Proust to visit it for a few hours and admire its beautiful frescoes and sundials. In Saorge don’t miss the Saint-Sauveur church, one of the stops on the Baroque route. From Tende to Brigue, from Breil-sur-Roya to Sospel, your eyes will feast on gold and colour.
NICE’S TREASURES: DISCOVER THE CATHEDRALS AND THE CIMIEZ MONASTERY
More gilding in the Russian Orthodox St Nicholas cathedral. Built in the heart of Nice, this century-old building, renovated in 2016, is one of the largest of its kind outside Russia.
The capital of the Côte d’Azur is home to another sacred art gem: the Cimiez monastery. Neighbouring the Roman arena, it shines with its remarkable architecture; the three altarpieces in the church by Louis Bréa, one of the French masters of Quattrocento; its romantic garden overlooking the city and the Mediterranean; and the cemetery, the final resting place of Matisse and Dufy. In old Nice, enjoy a stop at Place Rossetti to visit the majestic Sainte-Réparate cathedral and the Chapelle de la Miséricorde on Cours Saleya.
INSPIRED ARTISTS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR…
This overview of religious monuments would not be complete without mentioning the famous painted chapels on the Côte d’Azur.
Henri Matisse set an example by designing the decoration and stained glass windows in the Chapelle de la Rosaire in Vence. A few years later, Cocteau completely decorated the Saint-Pierre chapel on the harbour in Villefranche-sur-Mer. At almost at the same time, Picasso installed “War and Peace”, a monumental painting on wood, in the Chapelle de Vallauris. Finally, ten years ago, Folon took up the torch and painted the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs with his poetic frescoes in soft colours.
DISCOVER THE NOT-TO–BE-MISSED CHAPELS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR WITH NESSIA!
NOT-TO-BE-MISSED CHAPELS AND MONASTERIES
ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR!
Residents and visitors to the Côte d’Azur, discover the selection of places, recommendations and favourites of the Côte d’Azur France community of ambassadors.
By Côte d’Azur France Ambassadors