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!
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.
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.
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