An iconic site of cultural importance at Cap d’Antibes, the Sanctuary of La Garoupe at which the Chapelle de La Garoupe is located is an exceptional site offering scenic views over the town of Antibes Juan-les-Pins and a substantial section of the Côte d’Azur.
Legend has it that in Antiquity the location was dedicated to Selene, goddess of the Moon. At the beginning of the 4th century, Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, made a stop at Antipolis and requested the construction of a chapel on this plateau.
Three buildings can be identified whose chronology is difficult to determine: a tower, the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde and the Chapelle Sainte-Hélène. The tower may have been the first building erected, initially in wood, and then in mortar in the 15th century. The Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde was probably built at the end of the Middle Ages and then expanded in 1520 following a donation made by René de Savoie.
The Chapelle Sainte-Hélène was probably built after the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde. The two buildings have long been adjacent to one another but they are distinct, and joined on the outside by a porch.
The building has two naves:
- the main nave dedicated to Notre-Dame de la Garde is embellished with a fresco done by Jacques-Henri Clergues in 1952/1953, and inspired by two historical events: the stopover of Pope Gregory XI in Antibes in 1376 and René de Savoie’s donation for expansion of the chapel in 1520.
- The secondary nave dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bon Port offers visitors a vast fresco created in 1948 by Painter Édouard Collin.
The altarpiece adorning the choir is the work of master-sculptor Joseph Dolle to whom the cathedral doors can be attributed. It has very recently undergone full restoration.
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