top of page

The Franciscan bell tower


'after tradition, it was in 1239 that the Observant Friars Minor of the Order of Saint Francis settled in the LYMPIA district to found the convent of Saint RECUPERAT. It would seem that its destruction was the work of the Saracens.

The superior, Raymond RICARDI, created the new SAINT FRANCOIS convent at the foot of the castle hill, within the city walls, on land ceded by a wealthy miller, Augier BADAT, on November 17, 1250. This convent grew. in 1410 thanks to the liberalities of Pierre MARTINI, gentleman of Nice.

In 1477, Brother Louis TERRINI had a sculpted cross erected in the middle of the cemetery of this convent (currently Place St. François), overturned in 1793 during the revolutionary turmoil, saved, and hidden in a stable by a Nice man.


The bell tower of the Convent of Saint François undoubtedly suffered significant damage caused by French troops during the various sieges of 1691 and 1705.

In 1722 the Franciscan fathers carried out work on the bell tower and occupied the convent until 1792, year
where the French troops pass the VAR, penetrate into the County of NICE, and appropriate all the property of the clergy and drive out the occupants.

In 1798 the convent was auctioned as well as the church on the side of which had been built, in 1574, the Communal Palace.

The bell tower will become the municipal property and this in order to place a clock there according to the plans drawn up by the architect VERNIER in 1837.

After some modifications and restorations it is the Tower that we know today.

According to DURANTE, in his history of NICE, Antipope BENOIT XIII came to stay there in 1405. In 1529 VILLIERS DE L'ILE ADAM, Grand Master of MALTA, in recognition of the hospitality received in VILLEFRANCHE after the conquest of the he island of RHODES, made, on his departure for MALTA, various donations to several churches, and in particular to that of Saint FRANCOIS, including precious vases and paintings by BREA.

bottom of page