Place Saint-François , Nice , Architecture, Monuments Provence Attractions

Place Saint-François
Address - Place Saint-François - 06300
Type - Architecture, Monuments
In the Old Nice, there is a small ancient square, Place Saint-François. Despite its small size, it has always played an important role in the history of Nice. The square was changing over time, and today it also expects big changes.

Place Saint Francois NiceChristian Estrosi - Mayor of Nice - has decided to give a «second youth» to this square, started works on the restoration of the church, the cloister and the restoration of the castle of the Hôtel de ville (City Hall) (there will be open a museum in memory of the city).

Following the example of the Place Masséna and the Place Garibaldi, it was decided to put slabs of stone and to organize an exhibition room with an entertainment center for elderly people over the space of the Place Saint-François. (These works have been scheduled to finish in 2015).

The residents did not oppose the «modernization» of the square, but they wanted to have their favorite fountain with "woven" tailed dolphins (as well as the fish market, familiar and comfortable), stayed in the same place. The City authorities have promised that, and kept their word.

Therefore, it is still possible to buy fresh fish on the Place Saint-François every day (except on Mondays). Moreover, the stalls of vendors are located around the fountain, depicting dolphins. Seagulls are flying and sitting around, making a loud enough noise, until giving them fish dainty.

Nevertheless, back to the story. In the Middle Ages, people in these places lived on the hills under the protection of the castle (only windmills, gardens and chapels were located in the valley at the time). In addition, in the middle of the thirteenth century, when the city began to descend the hill in the valley, then a Franciscan monastery appeared there (in the north of actual Vieux Nice).

Its building with a cloister (the cloister covered with arcades around the perimeter), a garden and a cemetery became the center of the neighborhood for a long time. The Dominican Order (appeared almost simultaneously with the Franciscans in Nice) also built its monastery in the valley. Now the Place du Palais de la Justice is located on the site of the Dominican monastery.

When in the sixteenth century, the process of «descent» of the city from the hill was completed, the citizens needed a new Hôtel de ville (City Hall) (as it was extremely uncomfortable to use the old one, staying on the Castle Hill).

The City Council chose the location next to the Franciscan monastery (a simple construction without «fuss» of a new Hôtel de ville was built in 1580).

Nevertheless, later, during the period from the 17th to the 18th century, the Hôtel de ville was rebuilt and decorated. Thus, the fun and smiling grotesque «faces» have appeared on the pediments of the second floor windows. The architect Marc Anthony Griego worked on new stairs and doors of the Hôtel de ville, and Ignazio di Agliaudi Tavigliano made changes to the design of the facade. However, even after these changes, the Hôtel de ville continues to have a rather modest look.

After the occupation of Nice in 1792 by the troops of the First French Republic, the palace was badly damaged, and Franciscan monks were expelled... The monastery has not survived to this day. The name of the square (Place Saint-François), the Hotel de Ville building, which became the Labour Exchange, the arcade and the bell tower of the abbey church are reminiscent of the past now. (You can come closer to that yellow tower with a blue clock, visible from afar, from the Rue de la Tour).

Map - Place Saint-François

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