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Next door to Grimaldi Castle and the Picasso Museum, Antibes Cathedral is beautifully situated, just a stone throw from the sea.

Notre-Dame-de-l’Immaculée-Conception in Antibes
Antibes Cathedral is beautifully situated, just a stone throw from the sea – ©

This magnificent neoclassical church is built on the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to goddesses Diana and Minerva. The cathedral has been destroyed several times over time, first in 1124 after attacks by the Saracens, and most recently in 1746 during the Austrian War of Succession. Consequently, the church has been rebuilt several times, most recently completely renovated in 1991. Today, with its beautiful facade and artistic interior it appears as a religious gem.

Among many other things inside, you can see a magnificent altarpiece painted in 1515, a marble virgin statue from the 19th century, a 15th century wooden Christ, and an organ made in 1860 by Master De Jungh.

alter painting in Antibes Cathedral from 1515 by the Provencal artist Louis Brea
The masterpiece from 1515 by Louis Brea

The altarpiece from 1515 is a masterpiece representing the Virgin with the Rosary, painted by the Provencal artist Louis Brea. He produced more than 40 altarpieces for the Nice region; this is one of his last works.

The central panel, which presents the virgin who protects the church and the believers with her mantle, is surrounded by eighteen smaller panels, dedicated to the eighteen painful mysteries of the Rosary.

The very beautiful doors are by the sculptor Joseph Dolle. They are adorned with the two patron saints of Antibes. The right door represents Saint-Sébastien, the left door Saint-Roch.

The wooden panel (cartouche) above the doors depicts the worship of the sacrament by two angels.

The wooden panel (cartouche) above the doors depicts the worship of the sacrament by two angels
The wooden panel (cartouche) above the doors -©

The organ dates from 1860 and is made by Toulouse’s master organist, De Jungh. It has since been modernized and restored, and today it has three keyboards and forty pipes.

The organ in Antibes cathedral
The organ dating from 1860, made by Toulouse’s master organist, De Jungh

For centuries, Antibes was a bishopric. From the 5th to the 13th century, about forty bishops succeeded each other, until the diocese moved to Grasse in 1244 and later to Nice in 1801.

The first bishop was Saint Armentaire (442). He dedicated his brand new cathedral to the Virgin Mary.

Af Tommy Sverre / 2020

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