Friday, April 18, 2008

Monastery at Cimiez

Cimiez Monastery [Monastère de Cimiez ] is close to the remains of the Roman town of Cemelenum, the archaeological museum and the Matisse museum. I think its worth visiting, though its not as well known as the other places, I mentioned.

The church is called, Our Lady of the Assumption [Notre-Dame de l'Assomption] and dates to the 15th century. However, the original monastery and church complex was founded by the Benedictine monks in the 9th century.

The Franciscans took over the monastery in 1546 and have occupied the site since then. There is a museum about the Franciscan order at the monastery but it wasn't open the day we visited since it was Sunday.

The interior of the church has some interesting carvings and three 15th century paintings by a well known local artist called Louis [or Ludovico] Bréa ,who seemed to specialise in religious art.
One of the old Trompe-l'œil painted door surrounds. A lot of the church exterior decoration was actually painted trompe-l'œil rather than carved stone and glass.
This is the 16th century cloister and part of the Franciscan monastery adjacent to the church - the monastery is still in active use. This is one of the Franciscan monks chatting to a couple of visitors.

The monastery gardens are large and impressive, though we visited at the wrong time of year to see the roses in full bloom. I expect we will go back to see the gardens in summer and also to visit the nearby cemetery where Henri Matisse and Raoul Duffy are buried.
The sunken garden was laid out in geometric flower beds and was a peaceful place to sit and meditate.

Unfortunately , when we were visiting a small dog fell off the surrounding wall into the sunken garden - luckily it landed in a recently dug flower bed but there was quite a panic until the owner checked the dog over for injuries.
I loved the interference patterns made by the water falling from the fountains.


natural attrill said...

The sunken garden is lovely, looks like fantastic views from there.

Alison Ashwell said...

The view is impressive but I didn't manage to take any decent photos as a huge black cloud came in from the sea and blotted out most of the light.

Hopefully the conditions will be better next time.