February 27, 2012
1 Antibes Bernardin Chapel
2 Antibes Bernardin Chapel
It has been referred to as being a “hidden treasure of history” and it certainly is one of the Cote d’Azur’s lesser known pearls. What are we talking about? The 16th century Neo-Gothic Saint Bernardin Chapel, furtively positioned down a cobbled narrow alleyway in Antibes Old Town.
Despite its clandestine location, this historically rich chapel is a nucleus of prestige and stature, which, having been recently restored, has received the highly esteemed Departmental Heritage Award.
The restoration of the Bernardin Chapel was undertaken by the Antibes council and work to restore the chapel back to its former glory was begun in 2007.
If beauty can be measured through opulence and meticulous baroque detail then this painstakingly elaborate chapel would certainly be rated high in the beauty stakes.
On entering Bernardin Chapel, one’s eyes cannot fail to be drawn to the ‘trompe d’oeil’ ceiling, which features four disciples surrounded by dazzling white stars contextualised by an equally as dazzling royal blue background.
No sooner have the eyes become accustomed to the astoundingly lavish ceiling, the 16th century Baroque-style paintings draped across the walls do more than warrant a gaze.
But it is perhaps the vaulted crypt that is Bernardin Chapel’s ‘piste de resistance’. Housed with priceless works of art. This includes two paintings by Brea School artist Aundi, which are dated between 1513 and 1539, are on permanent display in the chapel’s stunning vaulted crypt.
With a seafaring history that spans thousands of years, the authentic, unspoilt and cobblestoned village of Antibes is home to many ancient treasures, providing a compelling contrast to the town’s multi-million dollar marina that helps Antibes maintain its reputation as being the luxury yacht capital of the world.
But it is perhaps Antibes hidden jewels like the Bernardin Chapel, lay unpretentiously down a shaded alleyway, which makes this Cote d’Azur town the magical place it is, and, as Jacqueline Austin, a member of the Bernardin Chapel congregation expressed about how you feel when you stumble upon the chapel, “There’s something so very special about it all.”