Nice Cathedral

Eye-popping decoration at Nice Cathedral / Image: © Ville de Nice

Don't leave Nice without getting an eyeful of the stunning gilt capitals at this basilica and French 'monument historique'. It hasn't always looked this way, however. While there has indeed been a religious building on the site since the 11th century, it was only in the 17th century that the current cathedral was built. Since then, a bell tower has been added, the façade improved, and Baroque decoration introduced.

3 Place Rossetti, Old Nice

Église Sainte-Rita

Église Sainte-Rita is richly decorated from floor to ceiling / Image: © Ville de Nice

The roomy nave at this Baroque church from the 1600s straight-up flexes with chequered flooring, lush marble and fine chandeliers. Perhaps the most impressive part of this grandiose building is its frescoes, which manage to shine despite being surrounded by gilded ornamentation. Rita might well be the saint of lost and desperate causes, which isn't the jolliest of jobs, but at least her church is pretty snazzy. 

1 Rue de la Poissonnerie, Old Nice

Notre Dame de L'Assomption

It's all about arches at Notre Dame de L'Assomption / Image: © Ville de Nice

Surprisingly, this neo-Gothic basilica is the largest in the city – even bigger than the cathedral. Due to a lack of funds when it was built in the late 1860s, there isn't as much ornamentation as you'd expect, but what it lacks in statues it makes up for in incredible stained glass windows. Notre Dame de L'Assomption is particularly known for its rose window, depicting scenes of the Assumption of Mary, the event that the entire hallowed pile is named after.

2 Rue d’Italie, Jean-Médecin

Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice

The vivid façade at Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice / Image: © Ville de Nice

It feels as though every inch of this 17th-century Roman Catholic church (also known as Church of the Gesù) is covered in sumptuous decoration: elaborate ornaments, cheeky cherubs, magnificent chandeliers, decorative mouldings. The building's beauty continues to its exterior, where the Baroque-style façade – added in 1825 – is a peaceful blue and decorated with ornate statues. Appropriate address, too.

1 Rue du Jésus, Old Nice

Cimiez Monastery

The peaceful Cimiez Monastery / Image: © Ville de Nice

There's plenty to see at this 16th-century Franciscan monastery, which was originally founded way back in the 11th century by Benedictine monks. The site includes a church, a chapel from the 17th century and a museum looking at the history and development of the Franciscan way of life. Make sure you take a peek at the three Bréa brothers paintings hanging in the church, then have a stroll through the cemetery where French artists Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy were laid to rest. 

Place Jean-Paul II Pape, Cimiez

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