The celebrities’ chapel

The chapel

Adjacent to the Mas Notre-Dame de Vie, the last residence of the Master Picasso, the Notre-Dame-de-Vie chapel is enthroned in the middle of an alley of tall Florentine cypresses in a serene Tuscan atmosphere. In the distance, perched on its peak, you can see the silhouette of the old village of Mougins cut into the sky…
This has been the case since the 12th century, when the chapel was built and rebuilt and slightly extended in 1654. Listed as a historical monument since 1927, its last renovation dates back to 2012, when the site was restored by the town of Mougins, thanks to the support of the DRAC PACA, the PACA Region, the Conseil Général 06 and numerous donors who took part in the public subscription with the Fondation du Patrimoine.
Based on a rectangular plan with a nave made up of a main nave and a secondary nave, the building catches the eye from the outside with its colonnaded porch decorated in ochre and sand colours. Inside, the walls are covered with ex-votos. The one of the White Penitents stands out, representing the exceptional pilgrimage of the White Penitents from the chapel of Saint-Michel de Grasse to Notre-Dame de Vie in 1755 on the occasion of a vow.

A respite sanctuary

Until 1730, the site was a sanctuary known as a “respite” where families came from all over the region to have their stillborn children baptised. The Guinness family, former owners of the Mas Notre-Dame-De-Vie and the hermitage cemetery, had the remains of the little bodies transferred under a single slab under the protection of a Virgin and Child, with the epitaph: ” Here lie innocent children who died at birth. R.I.P .
Until the 1970s, a procession took place between the village and the chapel, celebrating Sainte-Innocence, a virgin martyred in Rimini in 390 and patron Saint of Mougins.

From the Guinness family to Picasso

In 1961, Picasso, who had discovered Mougins in 1936, purchased the Mas Notre-Dame de Vie from the Guinness family, to offer it as a wedding gift to his future wife, Jacqueline. Until the end of his life, this home located below the chapel was the stage for his prolific and final creation. He took his last breath there on 8 April 1973.
However, he was not the only famous person to enjoy the location. Indeed, it is said about the chapel that “the whole world has come to see it”: from musicians Mstislav Rostropovitch and Arthur Rubinstein to Charlie Chaplin, not forgetting Jean Cocteau or Winston Churchill.

The garden and the tomb

The chapel garden houses a monumental tomb built in 1931 for the Guinness family. It is the burial site of Bridget, the wife of Benjamin Seymour Guinness who died in the neighbouring home, the Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie before it belonged to Pablo Picasso.

The retreat’s treasures

The hermitage would have been built around 1613. It now houses a museum space: “The Treasure of Notre-Dame de Vie” which traces the singular history of the chapel. The first and second floors present a collection of photographs of Picasso taken at Notre-Dame de Vie by his friend and renowned photographer, Lucien Clergue. Photographs on loan from the Mougins Museum of Classical Art.
+33 (0)4 92 92 14 00
Opening times for the chapel and “Trésor de ND de Vie” museum :

  • • Every day in July and August, from 10:00 to 12:30 and 14:00 to 19:00
  • • Every weekend in May, June and September from 10:00 to 12:30 and 14:00 to 19:00
  • • Every Sunday from October to April from 10:00 to 16:00

Free entry
501-869 chemin de la Chapelle
Accessible to people with reduced mobility

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