Hotels in France

Cathedral Sainte Reparate Nice Cathedral in Place Rosetti

The city of Nice has many lovely churches, chapels and cathedrals. Each one is named after a local Saint or one has become attached to the city through Christian legend. The Cathedral Sainte Reparate one of these, located in the old town of Nice.

History of the Cathedral

Situated in the Place Rosetti, this beautiful cathedral is a sight to behold. Hisotric records tell us it was formerly a priory of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pons. It was made into a cathedral in 1590.

As Nice developed, the need for a cathedral of a respectable stature grew. In 1649, plans were laid out for a new cathedral on the same site. But, one of the demands of the archbishop of Nice was that the construction could not impede on the mass times. Thus the construction was slow ending in 1757.

The cathedral was officially consecrated in 1699. The remains of Saint Reparate were already at the site having been moved in 1690. Some additions and changes were made in 1850 when a new door and baptismal fonts were added.

What to see inside

Moving inside the cathedral, there are 10 chapels that belong to all the families who participate in its maintenance. One thing to note is that the colourful decoration you see before you is original, and has not been changed. There is a magnificent XVIIIth Century bell tower that dominates the surroundings. Its dome is covered in ceramic tiles. Look out for the marble choir balustrade.

The story of Saint Reparate

This goes as far back as the IIIrd Century AD. At this time France was known as Gaul and part of the Roman Empire. The emperor at this time was Gaius Decius. He decreed that every citizen has to make sacrifices to the state gods.

Christians refused to do this and thus were persecuted and punished in various ways. Saint Reparate was a boy of 15 who was executed as per this edict. The church said he was martyred having refused to do so for his beliefs in 250 AD.

Sanctified for not being easy to kill

The story of Saint Reparate's execution is what sanctified him. It took three attempts to achieve it;

  • firstly, they tried to burn him alive, but rain put the fire out
  • then made him drink hot pitch, but he survived
  • finally he was decapitated. His body was put in a boat and set adrift coming to rest on the coast of Nice

Christian legend finishes the story by suggesting that angels brought the boat safely to shore. His remains were buried in an old town chapel.

October 8th is Saint Reparate's day

We would however recommend you arrive on the previous Sunday. There is a celebratory procession that moves through the narrow small streets of Place Rosetti with a lovely fountain in its centre.

Catholicism in France

France was once one of the main pillars of European Catholicism, but this way of life slowly evolved to a more secular following the French Revolution of 1789. Its presence is still felt and seen in all the churches and cathedrals that pepper France’s countryside and cities, but especially in the Saint name days. Almost every day in France is named after a saint, whether male or female.

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