/ / Franciscan Museum, (Musee franciscain)

Franciscan Museum, (Musee franciscain)

Franciscan Museum in nice is a rare opportunity to see how the XIII to the XVIII century lived members of the Catholic monastic order, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. The Museum is located where there is a functioning Franciscan monastery with the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, on the hill of Cimiez, close to two popular museums, the Matisse and archaeological.

The Franciscans, seeing their ideal the imitation of Christ through living the gospel in the spirit of poverty and humility appeared in nice in the XIII century. They founded the North of this Old town, the monastery has not been preserved. But this one left, on the hill of Cimiez, founded by the monks Benedictines in the IX century and handed over to the Franciscans in the XVI century.

Its ancient stone walls contrast with the Gothic façade standing next to the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, built much later, in the XV - XVII centuries. An untrained person would be surprised by the four crosses on the turrets: they are below the crossbar are two crossed arms with holes in the palms. One hand, naked, belongs to Christ, another in the sleeve, - Saint Francis. It looks like the coat of arms of the Franciscans. The hole in the hand of Saint because St. Francis of Assisi in 1224 the first in the history of Christianity have received the stigmata (wounds on the body corresponding to the wounds of Christ).

Inside the Church attract the attention of ceiling frescoes, gilded altar in the Baroque style (an exquisite example of wood carving) and three magnificent paintings of the nice artist of the XV-XVI centuries, Louis Brea ("Pieta", "the Crucifixion" and "descent from the cross").

The actual Museum is small, there are only 350 pieces. It's interesting to see sculptures, prints, photographs, prayer books, ancient manuscripts, documents, monastic vestments, rosaries, crucifixes. Restored the cell helps a little bit to understand the Franciscan way of life: nothing more, the bed of a monk - a simple Board on trestles, covered with a coarse veil.

On the square next to the Church stands a white marble cross with a height of 5 meters with the image of Christ in the form of the Seraphim that appeared to St. Francis on mount Verna, when Saint received the stigmata. This is a copy, but the original cross, made in 1477, kept in the Church.

Beneath the cross is the entrance to a small cemetery. Here are buried the artist Raoul Dufy and Nobel prize winner, author of the novel "the Thibault Family" writer Roger Martin du Gard. But visitors often search for one grave - a modest resting place of the great artist Henri Matisse and his wife amélie of Noel.

A visit to the Museum and the Church of tourists usually end up with a visit to the monastery garden (the entrance is on the opposite cross side of the square). A quiet garden with bright flowers, fountains and stone benches in the shade of trees known for the beautiful views of the city, Observatory of the côte d'azur, the Castle hill and the Bay of Angels.