A Visit to Cimiez (2010)

Today we’re visiting Cimiez, a fashionable, upper class quarter on one of Nice’s many hills.



Hôtel Régina, where Queen Victoria spent part of her long visits to the French Riviera.


The Roman Arena. The ruins of the old Roman amphitheater are still largely intact. It’s one of the areas as a stage for the Nice Jazz Festival each summer.


Detail of the amphitheater.



The Nice Archaeology Museum boasts some major ruins of Roman baths. These are the ruins of Cemenelum, capital of the Ancient Roman province Alpes Maritimae on the Ligurian coast. Cemenelum was an important rival of Nice, continuing to exist as a separate city till the time of the Lombard invasions.


In the background: the Matisse Museum.  The Jardins de Cimiez are a favorite hangout of the Nice locals, who come to enjoy the olive trees, have a picnic, listen to music and play pétanque.


The Matisse Museum. All the yellow ornaments are trompe d’oeils.

In 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. This “return to order” is characteristic of much art of the post-World War I period, and can be compared with the neoclassicism of Picasso and Stravinsky, and the return to traditionalism of Derain.

Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 in 1954. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez.


In the Jardins de Cimiez you will find a nice terrace underneath olive trees. You can order drinks and snacks. There’s a carroussel for the children.


All the lanes of the Jardins are named after jazz musicians. You will find statues of Lionel Hampton and Louis Armstrong near the entrance at the Arena.


La fête des Cougourdons in 1840, by Clément Roassal (1781-1850), a famous notable of Nice.

The fête des Cougourdons is one of the area’s most popular festivals, and celebrates the beginning of spring and the many uses of the gourd, traditionally grown in Nice. Luminaries made from gourds decorate the gardens and rich dishes made from the fruit are served. The event draws large crowds and lively entertainment. Held on Palm Sunday.


We’re at the same spot, in front of the Cimiez monastry.


The Monastère de Cimiez (Cimiez Monastery) and church that have been used by the Franciscan monks since the 16th century. The church owns “La Pietà”, “La Crucifixion” and “La Déposition”, three of the most important works from the medieval artist Louis Bréa. On display are more than 300 documents and works of art from the 15th to 18th centuries. Buried in the cemetery near the monastery are the painters Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy plus the winner of the 1937 Nobel Prize for Literature, Roger Martin du Gard.


The Old Monastry gardens are absolutely beautiful.


View of Nice and the Observatory from the outer walls of the Monastry Gardens.


Looking south to the Chateau, the Port and the Mediterranean.


View of the Chateau from the Monastry.




About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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