Originally founded in the 11th century by Benedictine monks, Cimiez Monastery (Monastère de Cimiez) is now a Franciscan monastery with a small museum explaining the austere Franciscan way of life throughout the centuries, with ancient artwork, frescoes, documents, and a replica monk's cell. Its gardens have sweeping views of Nice.
Located in the quiet district of Cimiez, this Franciscan monastery is home to a small community of Franciscan friars. Travelers can discover Cimiez Monastery as part of a half-day guided tour or on a full-day hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tour with stops at Nice’s most popular attractions, such as Promenade des Anglais, Mont Boron, Matisse Museum (Musée Matisse), and the Chagall Museum (Musée National Marc Chagall).
Things to Know Before You Go
- A visit to Cimiez Monastery is suitable for solo travelers, couples, and families.
- Admission to the Franciscan monastery is free.
- If you travel via hop-on, hop-off bus, audio commentary and headsets are included on the trip.
- The monastery and the bus are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Cimiez Monastery is located at at Place du Monastere in the northern Cimiez district of Nice. Easily accessible by bus from the central bus station just outside the old town, catch No. 15, 17, 20, 22, or 25 and travel up the hill to the Arènes stop just in front of the monastery.
When to Get There
The museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday in the morning and late afternoon with a midday break. The church is open daily. With a mild Mediterranean climate, Nice is a destination to visit any time of year. Come in spring and autumn to avoid crowds, pricy hotel rooms, and the heat of summer.
Treasures of the Monastery
Amongst the more than 300 documents and artworks from the 15th to 18th centuries are ones of enormous value, including Pietà, Crucifixion and Deposition by Italian medieval artist Ludovico Bréa. In the monastery's cemetery, look for the tombstones of celebrated French painters Henri Matisse (festooned with flowers and letters from aspiring artists) and Raoul Dufy, as well as Roger Martin du Gard, winner of the 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature.