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
Le Port
Le Port is a beautiful harbour area full of history.
Place Garibaldi
A monumental 18th century Baroque square, designed by Antonio Spinelli in the 18th century.
Place Rossetti
Located in the heart of the Old Town, this lovely square is full of restaurants and cafes and is home to Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate.
Arènes de Cimiez
The ruins of Cimiez include considerable remains of a Roman amphitheatre and bath complex.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
Built by the Royal Family for the Russian community exiled to the French Riviera, it follows the plans of a Greek cross and has a bell tower dome covered entirely with gold leaf.
Palais Lascaris
A magnificent collection of musical instruments housed in a stunning Baroque palace.

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