Cover 3
©Philippe Berthé

Visit the Saorge monastery

A 17th century Franciscan monastery -come and discover this monastery where harmony reigns between baroque and sobriety, typical of the Franciscan Order.

Remarkable evidence of the history of the Franciscans

Overlooking the Roya gorges, admire the ancient Saorge stronghold that controlled the road from Nice to Turin!

The monastery was founded in 1633 by Franciscan friars. With financial help from the local parish, they completed its construction around 1662. Around 1794, soldiers chased the friars away and occupied the monastery. It took thirty years before the monastery was returned to the Franciscans. However, the promulgation of the Law of Congregations in 1901 led to the closure of the community and they were expelled in 1903. The friars once again walked the corridors of the monastery between 1969 and 1988. Today it is open to visitors, and for several years has served as an artists’ residence.

Saorge monastery, a remarkable example of baroque architecture

Explore one of the last examples of Baroque monastic architecture in the region.

The monastery still has its original structure and magnificent painted decoration. The cloister is adorned with 18th century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Admire an exceptional collection of nine sundials decorated with signs of the zodiac. The refectory has frescoes dating from the 17th century revealing allegories evoking the four virtues espoused by the Franciscans: poverty, chastity, obedience and humility. The garden is laid out in terraces, the orchard, vegetable garden and wash-house illustrating the self-sufficient lifestyle of the Franciscan friars.

A retreat and writers’ residence

A residency especially for writers and translators, discover this creative place…

In order to maintain the spirit of community and fraternity inspired by the Franciscans, the property has been refurbished as a retreat, this time just for writers. The cells, kitchen, showers, living room and library have been preserved and today continue to create the atmosphere of solitude and meditation. The association « les Fioretti » regularly organizes cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts, seminars and writing workshops.

Practical information

Prices, opening times… find all the practical information you need to visit the Saorge monastery here.

From 1 June to 30 September from 10 am to12.30 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
From 1 February to 31 May and from 1 October to 31 October from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

From 1 November to 31 January.
1 May.
Times are subject to change.

Adults: €6
Free for under 18s
Free for 18-25 year olds from the European Union.