Cimiez Franciscan Monastery

Cimiez Franciscan Monastery is a picturesque 9th century retreat with beautiful gardens, and an adjacent cemetery where Henri Matisse is buried.

TravelCurious Tip

The monastery can be rather dark inside - to see the art more clearly, put 50 cents in the box and some lights will come on!

A Nice monastery

In the hilltop suburb of Cimiez is the Franciscan Monastery and Church of Nice, Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, founded in the 9th century. A small community of Franciscan friars still live here today, secluded away from the bustle of the city below. This pretty little place is close to the Matisse Museum and the olive grove park and ruins of Arènes de Cimiez.

Garden of delights

The interior boasts a beautiful painted ceiling, and some important 15th century retables by Louis Brea, which are early examples of art moving from Gothic to Renaissance style. Adjoining the monastery is a cemetery, where Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and the author Roger Martin du Gard are buried.

The monastery’s Neo-Byzantine architecture is beautiful, but its main attraction is the well-kept Italianate garden, once used by the monks for growing vegetables, and one of the oldest gardens in Nice. Replete with native Mediterranean flora and gorgeous rose bushes, it offers fantastic views over the city, the river valley and the Baie des Anges: from here you can see that Nice is completely surrounded by mountains.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Nice
Arènes de Cimiez
The ruins of Cimiez include considerable remains of a Roman amphitheatre and bath complex.
Le Port
Le Port is a beautiful harbour area full of history.
Nice Old Town
Vieux Nice is the city’s picturesque Italianate district, with flower and food markets, narrow streets and piazzettas.
Opéra de Nice
Nice’s opera house is one of the most spectacular buildings in the city, and hosts world-class classical concerts.
Palais Lascaris
A magnificent collection of musical instruments housed in a stunning Baroque palace.
Place Garibaldi
A monumental 18th century Baroque square, designed by Antonio Spinelli in the 18th century.

Related Tours

The Essential Highlights of Nice
Ancient Beginnings

In this comprehensive tour of Nice, you will have the pleasure of visiting Mont Boron, where you will enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Bay of Angels and Nice Old Town. You will then move on to explore the Castle Hill, original site of the trading town founded by the Greeks 2,500 years ago. Interestingly enough, this ancient town was entirely dismantled by the soldiers of the French King, Louis XIV.

Venturing onwards to beautiful Cimiez, you will discover the former Roman settlement of Cemenelum, and learn how the area would later become the winter home of Queen Victoria. Spoilt for choice, you will see the Roman amphitheatre and ruins, you will enjoy the Belle Epoque architecture, and see the famous Cimiez Franciscan monastery with its stunning garden. Indeed, you will not be surprise that Cimiez would become home to Henri Matisse, and would be where he would get much of his inspiration for his fabulous work. 

Colourful Old Town and Beyond

One of the main highlights of the French Riviera capital is the prestigious Promenade des Anglais, a favorite walk-way of European nobility in the last century. Here you will find the magnificent Hôtel Negresco and art deco Palais de la Méditerranée. 

A tour of Nice would not be complete without a visit to the Italian-influenced, picturesque district of the Old City, where you can enjoy the many beautiful Baroque churches, cobbled streets, and small colourful squares. On the Saleya square, you will enjoy the famous colourful flower market as well as having the opportunity to experience gourmet specialties, including the famous socca or pissaladière, artisanal olive oil and delicious local wine. The elegant Masséna, on the border of the Old and Modern Town, will impress with its elegant style and faultless atmosphere.


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