This cold weather has got me thinking about sunny days in the south of France. An amazing sight to see is the Cathédrale Orthodoxe Saint-Nicolas de Nice. At one time 400 Russian families wintered in Nice, including a visit from Tsar Nicolas II who funded the church’s construction. The cathedral was consecrated in December 1912 in memory of the Russian Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov who died of meningitis in Nice in 1865. When the Russian Revolution came only a few years later in 1917, that whole way of life ended, but the cathedral remained.
Visiting here is like traveling back in time and across the continent. The cathedral is about half a mile west of the train station and well away from the beach, but it feels like it’s 1,500 miles away – which is the distance from Nice to St. Petersburg. Take all the photos you like of the exterior, since the interior is off limits to photographers. The icons and paintings are beautiful, although the inside is quite dimly lit. It’s still a functioning church, so you’ll have to time your visit around services.
Today’s expression, beau comme un ange (bow come uhn ahnj), means “as beautiful as an angel,” or simply, very beautiful. I’ll never forget the impact of seeing this beautiful church for the first time.